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The Saltergate Mission Room

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(click photos to enlarge)
The buildings of the Anglican and Methodist Churches do not complete the story of places of worship in Hampsthwaite. On the southern edge of Hampsthwaite Parish there stood for many years the Saltergate Hill Mission Room the history of which is revealed in the following article by Lee Edinger.
The Saltergate Hill Mission:
from old Minute Books
investigated by Lee Edinger

It was some time in 1877 that a Mr. W.H. Craven of Saltergate Hill suggested to some friends of his in Harrogate that a Temperance Society should be formed and that meetings should be held at his home. However, after further consideration, it was agreed that a 'Band of Hope' should be established in Hampsthwaite instead, with meetings being held in the Wesleyan Chapel.

While all was well at first, it was not long before the meetings were banned because of vandalism: seats had been damaged by some of the audience and there had been other unnamed misdemeanour, which had caused the regular chapel-goers to be upset.

To the rescue - or so it seemed at first - came the Vicar of St. Thomas a Becket Church, the Reverend Deck (Canon Peck's predecessor), who introduced a Branch of the Church of England Temperance Society - but this too had to be discontinued, because supporters of the aforementioned 'Band of Hope' wanted to "include the Gospel with the work of Temperance at the meetings." What a shambles!

On 11th November, 1882 a Gospel Temperance Mission was started in Harrogate. "Mr. Craven attended the meetings and derived great blessing thereby. He had previously been so impressed by the Spirit of God that he had to do all that he could in his neighbourhood to spread the knowledge of God's love to men as shown in the gift of his Son Jesus Christ for our salvation." He determined to try by all honourable means to encourage people to abstain from all intoxicating liquors, which he was conscious, were a curse to mankind. He was really inadequate for the task which he had set himself and he therefore determined to invite some of the workers from the Harrogate Mission to help him "and they, thank God, at once consented."

The first Temperance Meeting was held at his house on 26th January, 1883, "the room being crowded". Before Mr. J. Pickard of the Harrogate Branch gave an excellent address, 26 pledges for total abstinence had been received - and a further three followed at the end of the meeting.

In February 1884, a Sunday School was opened. Two years later Mr. Craven, the Mission's founder, moved to Harrogate. The Committee, in need of accommodation, purchased a wooden building for £26 and in October 1887 it was placed in a field on Saltergate Hill owned by Mr. Busfield. The annual rent was 10/- (50p) for an area of 100 square yards­ plus 1d per square yard, if more was required. In the spring of 1894 Mr. Busfield died, but the farm was let to Messrs.Baren & Galway, who allowed the Mission to continue.

It finally closed in the early 1980s and was later converted to a dwellinghouse and continues to stand opposite the Nelson public house on the Skipton Road.

Notes from the Minutes:as written!
  • September 1894: The Mission Keeper's duties are to "Light lamps Sunday, half an hour before meetings. Boil water when teas are held. Light fires when necessary. Salary One pound per year."
  • September 1895: A banking account to be opened with the New Park branch of the Yorkshire Penny Bank and Three pounds to be deposited at once.
  • May 1897: A meeting called to settle a dispute between the Secretary and the President concerning the name of the Society appearing on Bills for Sale of work. The Society's name was stated in the Rules to be Saltergate Hill Gospel Temperance Mission. The president objected to the words 'Gospel Temperance' appearing on the Bills; the Secretary did not agree, but was outvoted. Mrs. Foster stated that she had broken the Pledge and was, therefore, removed from the Working Committee.
  • July 1897: a vote was carried that the Mission in future be known as Saltergate Hill Mission.
  • October 1899: Mr. Patrick was asked to paint the Mission Room as soon as possible at the agreed price of 6d per hour.
  • March 1900: Mr. Patrick of Four Lane Ends, Skipton Road was pressed to paint and repair the Mission Room by the end of April.
  • April 1901: It was agreed that £2 be placed in the Yorkshire Penny Bank account.
  • August 1901: The Mission cleaner was to be paid £1-10-0 for the year and 5/- extra for two special cleanings.
  • February 1903: The Sunday School prizes were to be awarded on Good Friday as usual; the ladies on the Committee were to arrange the tea, the price for which was to be 6d each for adults and 4d for children. There would also be Speakers and a Musical programme.
  • March 1907: It was moved that the Manager of the Yorkshire Penny Bank be interviewed and, if the Bank was unable to give more interest, then the account would be closed and moved to Beckett's Bank, where there was an offer of 3%.
  • May 1907: Mr. Ben Hardcastle would be approached for the loan of a field.
  • March 1909: "Member present: Henry Clough (Secretary). Snow Storm. No business transacted. 'Man of Sorrows, What a Name'. This pathetic hymn was sung by the Single Member."
  • October 1910: The rules were revised: "The object of the Society shall be to raise the Spiritual, Moral and Social Welfare of the community. The committee shall meet not less than once a quarter and all meetings shall open and close with a prayer. The basis of membership shall be repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, evidenced by a life in harmony therewith and by attendance at the Lord's Supper, together with the practice of Christian Fellowship as provided in the Class Meeting or such other means of Grace and Christian Ordinances."
  • April 1912: A pedal organ was to be purchased from Mr. Lupton for £15 and the old organ was to be sold by tender. It was sold in May for £5. Also, the coal house door was to be repaired. Note: it was about the fifth time that this had been done since the purchase of the Mission hut!
  • May 1912: A few double-skinned India Rubber Balls - about the size of a regulation cricket ball - were to be purchased for the girls and boys.
  • June 1912: The sum of £2-18-2d was handed to the Treasurer, being the proceeds of Young People's meetings.
  • December 1912: Proceeds of the Offertory Box: 2s-1p.
  • February 1913: A Mr. Cryer was to be approached about a site for a new Mission room. Noted: he declined to help and it was agreed in March that the Vicar of Adel be approached about a site in Mr. Ben Hardcastle's field alongside Rowden Lane.
  • December 1913: A vote of thanks was to be sent to Mr. & Mrs. Harris for the gift of an organ.
  • May 1914: Mr. Baren was to be approached to see whether he would be willing for a plot of land to be purchased on which to erect a new Mission building and for Mr. Cryer, the owner of Mr. Baren's farm, to sell such a plot.
  • December 1915: The Salary for Firing and Lighting was to be raised to two pounds.
The first minutes available are dated November 1st, 1886, Mr James Appleby being President and Mr. Thomas Carrington Secretary. The last are dated October 2nd, 1916. Much of the writing is almost illegible - as someone else must have decided too - for in a separate book - the Minutes have been copied out, and even partly indexed! Unfortunately, the work was never completed.

Newspaper cuttings, pasted in a book from June 1909 to August 1916 help to fill in some details, although these are mostly reports of services or social occasions held at the Mission. There are odd ones worthy of note for the purposes of our book:

For example, we read that, in December 1930, the purchase of a site for a new building had been completed, 600 square yards having been purchased from Mr. Addyman. This land adjoined Saltergate Hill cottages and thus saw the return of the Mission to its place of origin - for it was on 16th March, 1882 that the very first meeting was held in the parlour of Saltergate Hill Farm, then occupied by Mr. Hardcastle Craven. This continued until the numbers attending could no longer be accommodated. Mr. Craven then furnished a barn with benches and a platform. In 1887, the present building, formerly a timber shed and joiner's shop was bought and re-erected on its present site. During the whole of this time the annual ground rent was paid to the occupant of Mount Pleasant Farm. A Bank Account was opened and in 1904 a gift of £70 from Mr. Noble was paid into this. Annual Summer Teas and Social Gatherings were held and these, together with Sales of Work held each winter, provided the principal sources of income.

On Wedneday, 3rd May, 1933, rain marred the stone-laying ceremony of the new Mission Hall and Sunday School. The new building cost c£I,OOO and was built by Messr. William Birch of Harrogate and the architect was Mr. Calvert. Tea was served from 4.00pm, tickets being 1/-. A special bus ran to and from Victoria Avenue in Harrogate and a Public Meeting was held at 7.00pm.

In December 1958 the Nidderdale Herald published a historical article about the Mission, which indicated that it was still going strong - with a credit balance of £80.
The early wooden building referred to by Lee appears to be that shown in the following photograph.
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The events leading up to the replacement of the old building were described in the following article in the Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale Herald published 13th December 1930 . . .
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 - click for full size image
 - click for full size image


Two and one half years later the work of construction began with a stone laying ceremony on the 3rd May 1933 and advertisements for the event were published

Two and one half years later the work of construction began with a stone laying ceremony on the 3rd May 1933 and advertisements for the event were published



. . . but the weather did not favour the event as this newspaper cutting reveals. . .


In 1958, on the 20th December, the Knaresborough Post and Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale Herald carried the following article in its series on the Nidderdale churches.

Link to
Link to
The Saltergate Mission Room
(click photos to enlarge)
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