Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: August 04, 2017.
Webpage updated: August 04, 2017




Laira Wesleyan Chapel, later known as the Zion Methodist Chapel, is located on the north side of Old Laira Road, adjacent to Wycliffe Road.

Laira's original Wesleyan Methodist Mission Chapel was located down by the Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway, accessed from The Avenue.  This was acquired by the Great Western Railway Company in circa 1904 and the Mission was moved to the YMCA premises in Old Laira Road. 

It was resolved to erect a new Chapel and to that end a site was purchased in Old Laira Road.  The cost of the site was 400 and the contract for the building was 1,413, to which had to be added the costs of excavations, architect's fees and other incidental expenses amounting to 380.  Several worthy local Methodist businessmen gave generously to meet the expenses, Mr and Mrs Isaac Foot donating 55 5s and and Messrs W Ham and T J Stevens each giving 50.  There were lots of smaller donations.

The foundation stones of the new Chapel, which was designed by Mr H J Snell, of Plymouth, was laid on Wednesday September 27th 1905.  The stones were aid by Mrs S A Bettes; Mr S C Ball; Mr Isaac Foot; Mr W Ham; and Mr T J Stevens; and stones were also laid on behalf of the Ebenezer Sunday School; the Wesley Mission Band; the Ivybridge Chapel; the Ridgeway Chapel; the Lee Moor Sunday School; the Laira Trustees; the Laira Sunday School and the Laira Foundation Workers.  Ten children from the Wesley Sunday School laid bricks and were followed by six from Mount Gould Sunday School, six from Laira Sunday School, two from Noss Sunday School, and one each from Yealmpton and Battisborough Sunday Schools.

At the usual tea in the evening, held in the Laira Congregational Chapel, Mr Stenlake announced that for every half-a-crown collected by children during the following twelve months, he would give another.  

Laira Methodist Chapel was officially opened on Wednesday March 21st 1906.  The Lady Mayoress of Devonport, Mrs W J Moon, was supposed to have performed this ceremony but was indisposed so it was the Mayor himself who received the silver key from the trustees and declared the building open for worship.  The dedication was made by the Reverend J J Brown, chairman of the Exeter District.

At the evening meeting it was announced that the project had cost 2,100, of which they had collected 650 11s 8d so far.   During the opening day 99 9s was collected, including a cheque for 10 from the Mayor of Devonport.  The Chapel was not declared to be free from debt until 1922.

When the Zion Methodist Chapel (formerly a Bible Christian Chapel) in Zion Street, Plymouth, was destroyed during the Second World War, it was decided to use the War Damage Compensation payment of 24,000 to erect a larger Chapel at Laira.  It was to be built on a corner of the site that had been left empty for expansion when the original Chapel was constructed.

The foundation stone was laid on Saturday May 26th 1956 by Mr Isaac Foot, in the presence of the Deputy Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Plymouth, Alderman and Mrs T H Watkins.  The building included vestries for the minister and choir, plus three smaller rooms for fellowship meetings and a kitchen.  Construction was carried out by Messrs Godolphin Company Ltd, whose managing director, Group-Captain C L Pendlebury, presented the trowel to Mr Foot.  A stone was also laid by Mr S W Cole, a trustee of the original Zion Chapel, whose name it now would take.  The act of dedication was performed by the Reverend F A Rowe, chairman of the Plymouth Methodist District.  In the evening a tea was held in the hall of the Anglican Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Laira, courtesy of the vicar, the Reverend P C Clynick.

This Chapel has now been demolished and replaced by housing.