It all started in a butcher’s shop

What we now know as Southlands Methodist Church came into being in 1887 as a result of two differing forms of outreach.

In South Bank a young man called George Everitt had a butcher’s shop at the bottom of Adelaide Street which he cleaned out every Saturday night so it could be used as a Sunday School on Sunday mornings. The picture shows the former butcher’s shop as it is today.

George’s Sunday School was so successful that it eventually moved into two houses in a neighbouring street and services for adults began to be held there.

At the same time a large Methodist church inside the city walls was seeking to respond to the growing population just outside the walls.

The Sunday school work started in the butcher’s shop and the money and personnel made available by the big church resulted in the opening of Southlands Methodist Church in a prominent position on a site previously occupied by a windmill at the top of the hill in Bishopthorpe Road.

Responding to needs

Since then Southlands has responded in many different ways to community needs – providing leisure facilities for soldiers during two world wars, providing shelter and help for refugees from Belgium and Hungary, and offering a friendship-through-tapes ministry to old people.

The need for these forms of outreach has long since passed, but the church continues to look for ways to serve and respond to the needs of the community.

Youth & Community Centre

The Youth & Community Centre required little structural alteration to equip it for youth work, but major repairs to put right years of neglect and deal with dry rot and wet rot cost the church more than £21,000 in 1977. Further repairs were carried out a few years ago to make the flat roof area watertight. Wooden window frames have been replaced where necessary and interior redecoration is also carried out section-by-section.

Changes in the church

The church itself has undergone major internal changes to equip it for the needs of present-day worship. The organ, for example, has occupied three different positions in the church – and the pews were taken out in 1971 to create a more modern and open worship centre.

During the year 2000, as part of a Millennium project, access to the church building was considerably improved with new, more open, more welcoming entrances being provided from Southlands Road and from Bishopthorpe Road. At the same time floodlighting was provided at the front of the church, and a large stainless steel cross was fixed to the side of one of the front towers. In 2007 a new sound and digital projection system was installed in the church, and at the end of May 2007 work started on rewiring the whole of the church premises.

In 2018 we turned the inside of the church around, so that the worshipers now face Bishopthorpe Rd during services, which allowed for partitioning off the back of the room to make the “New Hall”.

Artists Studios

In 2018 we converted the upstairs in the community centre and the old church gallery into artists studios. These now accommodate up to 20 resident artists as part of the South Bank Studios.