James Caughey Liverpool meeting - Pitt St (1842-1843)

As Mr Farrar had advised me, by all means, to visit the South Circuit, should an invitation come from the proper authority, I agreed, provided the Superintendent was willing. We therefore walked down to see the Rev. William Atherton, who received us politely, and though evidently not at all enthusiastic upon the subject, yielded to the request of the Leaders, and your friend received an official permission to preach the gospel of the kingdom on that side of the town. His colleagues, the Rev. Joseph Hargreaves, and the Rev. Henry H. Chettle were not present during the interview, but I had the pleasure of an introduction to them afterwards.

That very night, in Pitt street chapel, a few hot shots from the walls of Zion were thrown into the entrenchments of the devil’s children, and four of them cried out for mercy.

“Wounded by the Spirit’s sword,

And then by Gilead’s balm restored “ One of them an old woman of seventy-two. Shortly after we began in the above chapel, I was taken with a severe hoarseness, in consequence of having to walk some distance after preaching and being a little careless withal. It confined me two nights to my room, but in answer to the prayer of faith, and the use of means, (inhaling the vapour, caused by a red hot poker in a mug of tar, and, at certain intervals, sipping a little flax-seed tea, made to the consistence of honey,) I regained my voice, and we continued the battle with vigour. During the first week, we had twenty converted; the next week seventy; and the week after, more than forty. On the night of the 31st of December, I assisted one of the preachers in holding a watch night in Pitt street chapel. Altogether, it was one of the most singular of the kind I had ever attended. Several exhortations were given, but the “direct aim” was wanting, and I fear your friend was quite as deficient as his brethren. We seemed afraid of each other and did nothing. When the new year was ushered in, and part of the immense crowd had retired, God enabled me to break through the infernal oppression which rested upon us, and in a few minutes, we had the altar filled with weeping penitents and several obtained salvation; I retired to rest, about three o’clock in the morning, much cast down by reflecting upon the comparative failure upon such an important night. My labours are now nearly finished in this town. On the nights of the 5th, 6th, and 7th of April, 1843, I preached farewell sermons in Great Homer street, Brunswick, and Pitt Street chapels. Two of those nights, the rain came down in torrents, but this did not prevent the chapels from being crowded.

Taken from 'Methodism in Earnest' on www.revival-library.org

Additional Information

Pitt Street was the oldest Wesleyan chapel in Liverpool, erected in 1750 and registered in 1754 and replacing a room in Cable Street which had served the Methodist society since the mid-1740s. Wesley and Adam Clarke both preached in this building, situated as it was in a wild, a waterlogged and unpleasant area of the town. The church was enlarged in 1765 and had a Sunday School attached from 1785. A complete rebuilding took place in 1803. From the turn of the century Pitt Street was completely overshadowed by the more aristocratic Mount Pleasant and from 1863 when it was detached from the South Circuit and given a separate status was run as a Home Mission. The neighbourhood deteriorated rapidly and by 1875 the chapel despite the sentiment attaching to it was grievously in debt and nearly extinct. The Revd. Charles Garrett was then allowed to commence his Riverside Mission with Pitt Street as its centre, concentrating particularly on work among sailors and down-and-outs. The whole building was reconstructed the same year at a cost of £2,155 and soon became a focus of powerful revivalism. Gradually other mission stations took the evangelistic edge from this ancient sanctuary and it was finally closed and pulled down in 1905. Tenements were built on the site.

I am not sure where the chapel was in the street.

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