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The New Room (John Wesley's Chapel)

George Whitefield invited John Wesley to preach outdoors for the first time to the miners of Bristol. The New Room was built in 1739 by John Wesley as a meeting place for two of the resulting groups or 'societies' of worshippers and was the first Methodist building in the world.

It was enlarged in 1748 to its current proportions. The New Room also provided accommodation for John Wesley and later other visiting preachers whenever they visited Bristol on their travels.

Being well placed in the heart of the city, the New Room became a centre for the Wesleys' work in Bristol, where those in need could receive help and education. It was also the first 'society' to use John Wesley's 'class' system, where members were divided into sub-groups for mutual spiritual support and development.

Today, the chapel is in regular use for worship as well as being used for cultural activities and exhibitions. The interior is still decorated in the style of the eighteenth century, with many original objects and furnishings from Wesley's day. Upstairs, visitors may explore the preachers' quarters, where the room displays show the work of Wesley and Francis Asbury, who sailed from nearby Pill (see page 58), to lead the Methodist Church in America.

A new garden was opened in the Broadmead Courtyard in 2011: a 'green oasis' in the heart of the city for all to enjoy. The layout is influenced by mid-eighteenth century design and the themes within it reflect John Wesley's interest in health and well-being. 

The statue of John on horseback in the centre of the courtyard has been complemented by stonework around the plinth on which four of Wesley's most famous quotations have been engraved. There is also a simple herb garden in front of the statue to reflect his interest in their use for medicinal purposes. The courtryard garden now offers a place for thought and reflection. 

Admission
Free, donations welcome. Guided tour: £4 per person or £8 if combined with tour of Charles Wesley's House. Advance booking for tours essential.

Additional visitor information
Extensive library and archive: see Archives
Shop stocking souvenirs, books relating to Methodism, and local 'Bristol Blue' glassware
Plentiful public car parking nearby
Coach access from the Horsefair entrance
Refreshments available on Saturdays 10am-1pm
Access for disabled visitors to ground floor chapel only, no access for disabled visitors to first floor museum

Worship services
Friday: 1pm Holy Communion

Friends
Annual Membership: £25, Life Membership: £250.
For more details contact the Secretary of the Friends via the New Room.

Also nearby
Charles Wesley's house and children's grave in the old St James' churchyard. Centrally located, the New Room is surrounded by Bristol's amenities, riverside restaurants and cafes and other attractions, including Brunel's ship, SS Great Britain, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Castle Park with its Medieval ruins, the Exploratory (science museum) and the many interesting places of worship promoted as 'Sacred Bristol' including Bristol Cathedral.

Download a guide to Methodist Heritage Sites in Bristol (Pdf)

For more information visit www.visitbristol.co.uk and www.sacredbristol.org


     

The New Room
36 The Horsefair
Bristol BS1 3JE

Opening
Mon-Sat 10am-4pm, including most Bank Holidays.

Contact
Manager
Tel: 0117 926 4740
Email: info@newroombristol.org.uk
Website: www.newroombristol.org.uk
The New Room on Facebook

Getting there [ST590734]
Car: Situated in the city centre, nearby parking available – follow signs for Cabot Circus, Broadmead and The Mall Galleries shopping centres.
Bus: One minute walk from nearest bus stop, two minutes from bus station.
Train: 10–15 minute walk from Temple Meads station.
Air: Bristol International Airport is 30 minutes away.


   


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