Now that one of the shops in Webber Street has been demolished, the building that lay behind has been revealed. The gated archway at the site led to Saffron Court. It was at Saffron Court that a Baptist Chapel was built; the chapel being opened for worship in 1804.

The site in Saffron Court was certainly not ideal, but these were not easy times for dissenters and, because of the strong feeling against non-conformity, the entrance to the new chapel, which was in the back court, had to be made through a house in Webber Street, the house forming the top of the arch of the narrow gateway leading to the chapel.The minister in 1814 was the Reverend Richard Pryce and during his ministry it was decided to enlarge the chapel.. To do this it was necessary to excavate the steep cliff behind the chapel.

Unfortunately the workmen were too enthusiastic and a great mass of rock smashed into the chapel and badly damaged it.

The very next morning they held a prayer meeting and decided to rebuild the chapel completely and "in a greatly improved form".

This was no little chapel, for it would hold at least 600 with its lofty ceiling and extensive gallery.

In 1881 the chapel was sold to the Salvation Army, who worshipped there until 1970.

A few years later the Department of the Environment listed the old chapel as a building of special architectural interest. Unfortunately the building was badly vandalised and nearly destroyed.

What a shame that such an historic site is now largely ignored. I look forward to seeing whatever happens to it.

David Davies

Highfield Road