Salem United Reformed Church
25, Church Street, WN5 8TG, Orrell
Part of Group:
At Risk: No
History: The original chapel, a Congregational Church, was erected in 1804 by Richard Woodward in the garden behind his house. A temporary Congregational Church was established at Far Moor in 1810 and the first minister was John Capper. By 1812 the Sunday School had 130 scholars. In 1820 John Holgate became minister and was minister for 30 years. John Holgate was ‘an earnest educationalist” and he established an elementary day school in Orrell. He built a school by walking to Liverpool and back to collect money for the building, and provide clogs for his bare-footed scholars.
The school, built in 1829 on Moor Road, was described in records as an ‘orphan school’ with John Holgate as its master and this laid the foundations for the church’s community work by inspiring the members to provide for over 30 orphans, mainly due to colliery explosions, living in the village. However, the progress of Holgate School was limited by resources and it closed in 1867. In 1875 it was opened again with Miss Jane Marsden as headmistress, a position she held until 1923 (48 years!).
The permanent Salem United Reformed Church was built in 1824 and for many years the Church was known as Holgate’s Chapel and after his death in 1850 a plaque in his memory was erected in Salem Church. The church developed further during the successful pastorate of Reverend John Whitton (1883-1917), who, like John Holgate was an advocate of education. The foundation stone of the new portion of Holgate School was laid in 1892 by Mr Crossland of Liverpool, at whose request the name of John Holgate was inscribed on the stone. The enlarged school opened on 4th April 1893 and, in addition to classes, it also hosted social events.
The church was rebuilt to the present building in 1907 and became Living Faith Church in 2012?
Text and images provided by Tony and Elaine Hanmer