Extending the building
With increasing congregations, talk of extending began. In 1879, Studley had 38 Members, the 4th largest of the 10 Chapels in the Circuit of 557 Members.
A specification for extending the building dated 4th December 1889 starts with instructions to demolish an old cottage, leaving the back wall to form the end of the workshop, also a small boiler house, 2 privys and ashpits and back boundary walls.
The bricks were to be reused in the foundations of the extension. 2 vestries and a staircase were to be removed from the building and the rostrum was to be re-fixed in the extension, with 2 new vestries and a new staircase.
3 new windows were to be provided on each side to match the existing windows, plus 2 in the end to light new classrooms and a large window to light the choir gallery. 2 chimneys were to be built to serve stoves heating the classrooms and moveable partitions installed to form 2 more classrooms.
An estimate from John Lamb, Builder, Carpenter and Coffin Maker, dated 20th October 1890, totalled £155 18s 9d and includes bricking up doorways and providing new door frames in the end of the old cottage. This structure has later provided toilets and is now a storage facility. The Quarterly Circuit Meeting minutes record that “the Studley scheme presented no difficulties as they already saw their way to raising the required funds”.
An estimate for additional seating (including 2 on each side of the harmonium) was dated 19th March 1891.
A bill for the work from John Lamb is dated 31st March 1891. Items include £162 15s. for construction, £22 10s. for the choir gallery, vestry, etc., £3 for the glazier and £4 16s 10d for gas fittings. A bill for heating includes £32 10s for Griffin Foundry Co. and £7 18s 11d for brickwork.
An application for grant aid to extend the building was made on 16th June 1892 to the Methodist Extension Fund. The reasons given were an increasing congregation and a desire for better accommodation. The number of sittings (i.e. attendance) was stated as 175, with 45 members. It was intended to provide 70 extra sittings plus 55 Sunday Scholars. A total of 30 sittings would be free (in those days, pew seats were rented). There were 2 services each Sunday, so the actual capacity would be about half the number stated. The local population was stated to be 3,000. Finance included the proceeds from the sale of cottages and a grant of £20 from Circuit towards reducing the debt. £30 was awarded.
The previous year had seen an application to sell Trust property, being 2 small cottages and 1320 sq. yds. of connected land, which had been left as a gift in 1860. The properties were yielding £14 per annum income for the Trust and were to be sold for £175. The average congregation was stated to be 100 and the Trust was £400 in debt. As an aside, the accounts showed that the organist was paid £5 per annum!
A scheme to finance the extension and reduce the debt dated July 1892 includes a list of subscribers headed by Mr & Mrs Wilkes and family in the sum of £21. Subscriptions totalled £140, with £50 more expected. Public collections raised £168 10s. and the sale of property £180. Grants totalling £50 were received and the remaining debt of £100 was to be paid off within 10 years.
A bill for 8 shillings for printing for the reopening services is dated 20 October 1891, so the reopening must have taken place around then. The architect, Alfred Kerwood, submitted his bill for £7 5s 10d in April 1892.
In 1894, the Quarterly Meeting Minutes report that “Studley is endeavouring to raise £100 to clear off the Chapel debt”.