08.04.2015
10:41

Wesley's Chapel

Address:

49 City Road, Islington, EC1Y 1AU

Phone:

020-7253 2262

Website:

www.wesleyschapel.org.uk

Opening times:

Mon–Sat 10:00–16:00, Sun 12:30–13:45

How to get there:

Tube: Old Street

Entry fee:

Free

Additional information:

Shop

John Wesley (1703–91), the founder of Methodism, lived in this Georgian town house on the City Road from 1779 until his death. The tour starts in the basement Kitchen, where the original table can still be seen, and proceeds first into the Documents Room, formerly the scullery. Displayed here are Wesley’s glasses and spectacles, along with other personal belongings such as his travelling gown, collar and preaching gown, shoes, nightcap and walking stick. A fanciful portrait by Frank C. Salisbury, painted in 1932, taken from the small authentic bust by Enoch Wood, commemorates the union in that year of the Methodist churches. A teapot given to Wesley by Josiah Wedgwood can be seen, along with the chair in which Wesley presided at the first Methodist conference at the Foundry in 1744, and part of the tree from Winchelsea under which he preached his last sermon in the open air on 7th October 1790. Wesley’s Bedroom, where he died on 2nd March 1791, contains all his original furniture. Only the rope-sprung bed—of the common type at the time, from which derives the expression ‘sleep tight’—is a replica. Off one corner is the Prayer Room, known as the ‘Powerhouse of Methodism’, where every morning at 4.30am Wesley awaited his orders from God. His maid had to light the small fire an hour earlier. His Study can also be seen, where as well as on spiritual well-being he also concentrated on physical cures. His belief in a healthy lifestyle is demonstrated by his exercise horse, and his interest in alternative therapies by his electric shock machine, used to deaden the nerves of minor aches and pains. An original cockfighter’s chair can be seen, given to him by a man who had renounced his participation in the sport. Visiting preachers were quartered in the Attic, where the movement was nurtured that provided the poor with spiritual sustenance and that has been credited with helping to prevent an 18th-century Republican revolution in Britain.

Next to the house, with a bronze statue of Wesley in front of it, is Wesley’s Chapel, ‘perfectly neat but not fine’, opened on 1st November 1778, retaining its original mahogany pulpit, Communion rail and table. The ceiling is a reconstruction of the original, which was destroyed by fire in 1879. In the crypt is the Museum of Methodism, telling the story of the denomination from its foundation to the present day. Paintings include the Portrait of Peter (1927) by Herbert Beecroft and the Holy Triumph of JW in his Dying (1842) by Marshall Caxton. Wesley is shown in the bedroom here, although it appears considerably larger in order to accommodate the crowd at his bedside. His last words were: ‘Best of all, God is with us’. The roots of Trade Unionism in Methodist chapels is examined here, as well as the preaching of Methodism abroad. There is also the warclub of the excessively cruel Chief Thakombau of Fiji, whose conversion was attributed to the impression made by Mary, wife of the preacher James Calvert. She nursed the chief when he became ill and fearlessly pleaded for the lives of 15 women on the island. Beside it is a Priest’s Bowl, also from Fiji, once used in cannibal ceremonies, given to the Rev. James Calvert on the conversion of the owner. A small display also celebrates Wesley’s brother Charles, who wrote 600 hymns, of which John Wesley is reported to have said ‘some of them must have been good’. Charles and John were two of 19 children. While in the area it is also worth crossing the City Road from Wesley’s House to Bunhill Fields, where their mother Susannah Wesley (d. 1742) is buried, as well as John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe, Isaac Watts and William Blake.

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Gravatar: MuseumMuseum
14.04.2015
12:56
Update from Wesley's Chapel

John Wesley (1703–91), the founder of Methodism, lived in this Georgian town house on the City Road from 1779 until his death. The tour starts in the basement Kitchen, where the original table can still be seen, and proceeds first into the Museum Room, formerly the scullery. Displayed here are Wesley’s glasses and spectacles, along with other personal belongings such as his travelling gown, collar and preaching gown, shoes, nightcap and walking stick. A fanciful portrait by Frank C. Salisbury, painted in 1932, taken from the small authentic bust by Enoch Wood, commemorates the union in that year of the Methodist churches. A teapot given to Wesley by Josiah Wedgwood can be seen, along with the chair in which Wesley presided at the first Methodist conference at the Foundry in 1744, and part of the tree from Winchelsea under which he preached his last sermon in the open air on 7th October 1790. Wesley’s Bedroom, where he died on 2nd March 1791, contains all his original furniture. Only the rope-sprung bed—of the common type at the time, from which derives the expression ‘sleep tight’—is a replica. Off one corner is thePrayer Room, known as the ‘Powerhouse of Methodism’, where every morning at 4.30am Wesley awaited his orders from God. His maid had to light the small fire an hour earlier. His Study can also be seen, where as well as on spiritual well-being he also concentrated on physical cures. His belief in a healthy lifestyle is demonstrated by his exercise horse, and his interest in alternative therapies by his electric shock machine, used to deaden the nerves of minor aches and pains. An original cockfighter’s chair can be seen, given to him by a man who had renounced his participation in the sport. Visiting preachers were quartered on the second floor and in the Attic, where the movement was nurtured that provided the poor with spiritual sustenance and that has been credited with helping to prevent an 18th-century Republican revolution in Britain.

  Next to the house, with a bronze statue of Wesley in front of it, is Wesley’s Chapel, ‘perfectly neat but not fine’, opened on 1st November 1778, retaining its original mahogany pulpit, Communion rail and table. The ceiling is a reconstruction of the original, which was destroyed by fire in 1879. In the crypt is the Museum of Methodism, recently refurbished, telling the story of the denomination from its foundation to the present day. Paintings include the Portrait of Peter (1927) by Herbert Beecroft and the Holy Triumph of JW in his Dying (1842) by Marshall Caxton. Wesley is shown in the bedroom here, although it appears considerably larger in order to accommodate the crowd at his bedside. His last words were: ‘Best of all, God is with us’. The roots of Methodism are examined here, as well as the preaching of Methodism abroad. There is also the warclub of the excessively cruel Chief Thakombau of Fiji, whose conversion was attributed to the impression made by Mary, wife of the preacher James Calvert. She nursed the chief when he became ill and fearlessly pleaded for the lives of 15 women on the island. Beside it is a Priest’s Bowl, also from Fiji, once used in cannibal ceremonies, given to the Rev. James Calvert on the conversion of the owner. While in the area it is also worth crossing the City Road from Wesley’s House to Bunhill Fields, where their mother Susannah Wesley (d. 1742) is buried, as well as John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe, Isaac Watts and William Blake.

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MUSEUMS & GALLERIES OF LONDON

Details below are taken from our Blue Guide Museums and Galleries of London.  This is a 2005 title, here generally updated for website address and opening times, with useful comments from some of the museums themselves.  More recent information is given in Emily Barber's magisterial new Blue Guide London, "Exceptional update to a classic and useful guide to this amazing city" (Amazon reader review).

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