History of the collection

The Museum Collection was begun by Revd Stephen Hatcher in the 1970s, who realised that material relating to the Primitive Methodist movement (which became part of The Methodist Church in 1932) was in danger of loss and destruction. It was his vision that saw the opening of the Museum of Primitive Methodism at Englesea Brook Chapel in 1986, which provided a permanent home for the collection, as well as his unique library of printed books.

Part of the collection was formerly at Hartley College, later Hartley-Victoria College, Manchester. This was the training college for the Primitive Methodist ministry, and later a college of training for the Methodist ministry. When the decision was made to close the Hartley-Victoria college building in 1972, the collection of Primitive Methodist artefacts and paintings that had been housed there was moved to the City Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, and deposited on ‘permanent loan’. However, with the establishment of the Museum of Primitive Methodism in 1986, the Connexional Archives and History Committee of the Methodist Church made the decision in 1990 to move this collection to Englesea Brook.

Part of the collection has been acquired since 1987 from a variety of Methodist Churches, eg. Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent; Silsden, West Yorkshire; Woodlands, Glasgow; and private individuals, many of whom had direct links with Primitive Methodists of a former generation, including the Field Hodgson Collection of over 100 items.