Edale restoration update

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After years of intensive work our small congregation in Edale – supported by a growing band of volunteers and specialist contractors – are in the final stages of a major restoration of this historic chapel.

Amidst the scaffolding columns, seasonal services are now being held in the chapel, most recently a candle-lit All Souls memorial service. It was a lovely thought provoking and affecting time. Eighteen local villagers gathered – and had to search in the packing boxes for enough hymn books! It seemed a suitable space, – all were aware of the contrast – our positive choice to be in our building site, while there are so many whose homes are in ruins, or have lost their lives in those ruins.

After a race against the clock and falling temperatures to get the new floor sealed, new and old dado painted and the pews re-installed, a similar number gathered despite heavy snow for a December carol service. Afterwards they then had to take the holly down, snuff out the candles and make it ready for more re-plastering.

The restoration has already included renewing the roof, re-pointing exterior stonework, new guttering, and new paths laid. The project has enhanced this 1811 historic listed building through installing a water supply, drainage, a new accessible toilet, a new floor, removing a more recent false ceiling insulation to bring the gallery seating back into use, insultation in the roof and underfloor, re-wiring the building and creating a new study room upstairs, while volunteers are starting on laying out the rear community garden.

The congregation are pressing on with the final stages of this restoration over the winter, to be ready for our pilgrims in the spring. Local artists, musicians, and workshop leaders are also ready and waiting to start using the space as soon as the builders move out.

In its origins Edale Methodist Chapel was close to major cross-Pennine pack-horse routes, used since Roman times for carriage of goods, including salt and later cotton, between Cheshire and Yorkshire through the valley. The pack horses also brought corn and then cotton to and from Edale Mill (c.1785), before the railway was built in 1893. In the 37 mile journey between Manchester and Sheffield, Edale was a recognised resting point before or after the high moorlands with facilities for both pack-horses and their ‘Jaggers’ (drivers.) 

The area is synonymous with hill farming and nearly all residents have been involved in farming, mining or land based trades. Barber Booth, is one of 5 booths that make up the village of Edale – first mentioned in the Domesday Book. The booths were originally small farms situated along the springs that feed the river Noe.

When the railway was constructed Edale station made the valley accessible to the urban populations of Manchester and Sheffield. Edale became popular with hill walkers, now able to leave the city at weekends and head for the countryside. In the summer Wakes Weeks thousands of mill and factory workers from either side of the Pennines camped in the accessible Hope Valley, with Edale a favourite destination.

You can read more about Edale Methodist Chapel on their website https://www.edalemethodistchapel.co.uk/ 

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Edale restoration update

After years of intensive work our small congregation in Edale – supported by a growing band of volunteers and specialist contractors – are in the

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