Alhambra Circus - Manchester (1862)

This is a very good account of what went into the summer meetings during the revival. 


Prior to this, by posters and advertisements, the public had been informed that Lieutenant Rochfort for and Joseph Woodhouse of Cavendish technical college, would address meetings in the Corn Exchange and the Alhambra Circus, and a good brother having printed 10,000 small bills, with a similar announcement, the people of the Lord went in various parts of the highways and hedges to command the people to come and hear the word of life. In Campfield fairground, Mr Usher and others gathered a great company, urged them to flee from sin, told them of the happiness of that man whose son was forgiven and pointed them into an all sufficient Saviour. Here the Lord was with them and testimony was given at night by Mr usher of one who said, "I have often driven men to the racecourse in my cart for the devil, but I feel that I have been snatched from the brink of ruin and will now serve Jesus Christ." This man is now clothed and in his right mind, sitting at the feet of Jesus. Open-air meetings were again held, previous to the Corn Exchange afternoon service, with a view to fill that place of worship and accordingly, at a given time, the Lord's people sang through the streets and lanes leading to the Exchange, bringing with them a large number of people anxious to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Exchange service was commenced by Mr Crane, who regretted that in consequence of Lieutenant Rochfort overpowering exertions in Yorkshire, where he has laboured with a blessed influence, he was unable to take so active a part as he wished in the services. Lieutenant Rochfort however, contrary to his doctor's orders, was present and briefly though faithfully and touchingly their addressed the assembly. Mr Joseph Woodhouse next addressed the meeting. He showed the universal Dominion of sin, its origin in thought and its development into practice. Sin, he showed, existed in proportion to man's ignorance of God, that it was realised by man's natural desires, increased by fellowship with sinners and perpetuated by the stratagems of the devil. The wrath of an angry God and the awful doom of the impenitent was described with much power and the love and compassion of Jesus tenderly urged. 

Shortly after the afternoon service, meetings were again held in the open air. A goodly company listened attentively to the word of grace and many of them joined in singing through Drone Gate, Peter Street and thence to the Alhambra Circus, a comfortable building in Portland Street, sitting upwards of 2,000 people. Dr Leadward, previous to opening the service by singing and prayer, announced that the Circus had been opened to afford greater accommodation for the special religious service which originated from the daily prayer meetings. This was the first service held in the Circus; but, judging from the exceedingly large attendance, the Circus will be kept open for some weeks, in addition to the Exchange, Fairfield Street and other rooms and he believed it would be consecrated to God by the awakening of many souls from death to life. Mr Joseph Woodhouse was then called upon to address the assembly. A gracious influence pervaded the meeting and the weeping and frequent responses of the congregation testified that the Lord was working powerfully among the people. No meetings since the visit to Richard Weaver has been so abundantly blessed by God in Manchester, as the service in the Circus last sabbath evening. Numbers of weeping supplicants prostrated themselves before God and pleaded for pardon. Many found consolation in Jesus Christ and at the close of the service hundreds of people assembled in front of the circle singing, with joyful hearts, praising the Almighty God. At the close of the service many remained for Prayer in conversation.

From, 'The Revival', Volume vi, 19th June 1862.

It cannot be denied that a great ware of blessing has passed over this large city, and many souls have been
gathered into the fold, through the preaching of the gospel in the Free-trade Hall, Corn Exchange, Alhambra Circus, and by the open-air services. It is very encouraging to see these dear ones holding on their way amidst of temptations and notwithstanding the efforts of false teachers putting some other doctrine in place of the simplicity that is in Christ. We have had a great deal to contend with, but the Lord has kept the little flock together, and it is as cities on a hill which cannot be hid. If there was no more good done than the conversion of many souls, the Lord's people would have cause to rejoice. Our beloved brother, John Hambleton, has been labouring in Water-street room for the last ten days. The meetings were well attended, especially on Lord's day, when every available seat was filled. Our brother spoke with great power, and the people gave rapt attention to the word delivered to them. It was a refreshing time, for the key-note at all the services was Jesus only. Jesus was lifted up, and both saints and sinners were attracted unto Him. There was not a night he preached but there were seeking souls, and many went away happy in a Saviour's love. Previous to his departure, we were enabled to give a free tea to nearly 300 persons, almost all young converts; and it would rejoice the hearts of the Lord's people to hear them tell what Jesus had done for them. Mr Hambleton and Mr Ashworth delivered two short addresses on the necessity of brethren loving one another and watching unto prayer. As this was the last night of brother Hambleton's visit, we all felt his departure from amongst us.  Mr Haughton of Dublin preached on Sunday evening to a crowded congregation, and the Lord gave him many precious souls.

"The Revival," March 23rd, 1865.

Additional Information

I do not know where in Portland Street.

Related Wells