Centenary Hall, Atholl Street

The name derives from the Centenary Chapel across the street for which it served as the Sunday School as well as a meeting place for many other activities in Peel.

The first reported events in the hall were in mid 1875 and would appear to be the typical mix of bazaars, concerts, lectures and that staple of Methodist fund raising the Public Tea. The earliest event would appear to be a Grand Bazaar over two days on the 6th and 7th July 1875 (the first day being that of the Tynwald fair as the 5th fell on a Sunday), another early event was a Spelling Bee and Concert on the 12th January 1876 after which came what became an annual Good Friday Public Tea meeting in the late afternoon of Good Friday - another regular event was the Public Tea with Sacred Concert and Readings held in the late afternoon of Christmas Day. These concerts often drew on choirs from Douglas and elsewhere - the newly opened railway making transport possible with a special late train reserved for those with tickets for the Tea with a first class return plus the Tea and concert costing 3/-. Possibly the first of many future public meetings to be held in the hall was that of 25 November 1875 to 'consider the new Licensing Bill' then before Tynwald, the resolution put to the meeting being 'utterly opposed to the general extension of the traffic in intoxicating liquors' - many future meetings would be in support of various Temperance activities.


Rebuilt in 1913 - the newspaper account gives a fair amount of detail

[Peel City Guardian 20 Spt 1913]

The Peel Wesleyan Sunday School - the Centenary Hall and class rooms - have for some weeks past been closed for the purpose of modernising the buildings. The work has consisted of the filling up of the cavity of three or four feet which was underneath the old floor of the hall, the re-flooring and redecorating of the walls, and re-seating. In the case of the class rooms, they have been removed and a new building erected. In the new building is a large room where teas can be held, a ladies' parlour for ladies' meetings, and a young men's room. There is also a kitchen containing all the necessary equipment for making tea. and two sets of lavatories. The large room is intended for the primary - department and will be divided by a sliding screen. The re-opening ceremony was held on Thursday afternoon. The day was fine and there were a goodly number present. The Rev. W. A. Browne, B.A.. said they were now taking the second step in the scheme which they had taken in hand two years ago. The scheme was to make the Chapel more comfortable, to renovate the Sunday school, and make it more adapted to Sunday school work, and to remove the existing debt off the Chapel. The first part of the scheme had been finished some months ago. and they were now finishing the second step. The building was not quite ready as they would see when they went inside. There was still the decorating and several other things to finish, but he expected that in the course of a few weeks it would be complete. There was still a further step to take - that of extinguishing the remainder of the ancient debt which had been left hanging about their heads. They had now finished the first two parts and they would now have to take the third part in hand, and remove the £500 debt. They had already through the kindness of the town folk and friends abroad paid off £100. The scheme had begun with the Sunday school but the Sunday school workers had stood aside and let the chapel be completed first. They had assisted in the work of the chapel and the chapel folk had helped in the Sunday school work. Now that this was finished they would be united again in extinguishing the debt. He hoped before he left them to see the completion of the scheme. He was very pleased to ask a lady who had been connected with the Sunday school and the church a good many years to perform the opening ceremony. Mrs. Palmer had been a scholar in the old Sunday school in the old chapel on the Shore road, She was present at the foundation stone laying of the present school buildings and had been a scholar and teacher there. She no doubt conceived it a great honour to undertake the duty that day of re-opening the Sunday school, which he hoped would do even, batter work in the future for the young people than in the past..

Before calling on Mrs. Palmer, Mr. Browne offered up prayer. He then said he had great pleasure in calling upon Mrs. Palmer.

Mrs. Palmer said: As an old scholar and teacher, I greatly appreciate the honour of being asked to assist at the re-opening of the Sunday school buildings, and I pray that the good work of the school may be continued with greater efficiency and success. May God's abundant blessing fall on scholars, parents, teachers, and officers. Mrs. Palmer then declared the building open, and entered the hall, followed by Mr W. K. Palmer. Rev. Geo. Denton. Rev. J. S. Banks, D.D., Rev. W. A. Browne, and those present.

After the re-opening a service was held in the hall, when the Rev. J. S Banks, D D. ex-president of the Wesleyan Conference was the preacher, delivering a fine intellectual discourse. The Rev. Geo. Denton, a former minister in the Peel circuit, also took part. .

A public tea was held in the new room, and was very largely .attended. The daintily set out tables were in charge of the following ladies: Mrs. C. Dodd and Mrs. W. H. Clague. Mrs J. and Miss E. Callister. Mrs F. Quirk and Miss E. Dodd. Mrs. P. Quirk and Miss K. Quirk, Mrs. Mylrea and Miss F. Shimmin (Liverpool). Misses N. and L. Spence, Misses N. and E. Clucas and E. Comish, Misses L., E.. and A. Kelly. The catering was executed by Misses N. Leece, L. Quirk, and Corkindale. The promoters are greatly indebted to Mrs J. Kennaugh for the use of her boiler for boiling water for the tea.

In the evening a concert was held in the hall, presided over by Rev. W. A. Browne, B.A. The night was fine, but in spite of this there was a fair attendance. The programme was as follows: Duet, "The two sunbeams." Miss May Clague and Mrs. J. T. Killey Douglas;: solo. "Farewell Mona." Mr. H. Gray (Douglas': solo, "The valley by the sea." Mrs. Killey; duet," Wrtu- c-o* ithr. mnr\n\ ,orVif " At*c A .
" , ,
Collister and Mr. T. Watterson: solo. "The pipes of Pan," Miss Clague (encore): solo, "My heart is weary." Miss A, Collister encore : solo."I hear you calling me," Mr. H. Gray (encore- !; solo. "The river of years." Mrs. J. T. Killey encore): solo. "Mifanwy," Miss M. Clague (encore): duet. "A song of sunshine." Miss M. Clague and Mrs. Killey (encore). Miss L. Collister skilfully performed the duties of accompanist.

The entertainment throughout was a most enjoyable one, the music being of first class order, Miss May Clague in her solos and encores gave a fine exhibition of her powers, her beautiful soprano voice being heard to much advantage. Mrs. J. T. Killey, who is an old established singer, charmed the audience with her rich, full contralto voice: while Miss A. Collister gave such a fine rendering of her contralto solo, that she brought down the house;. The tenor solos by Mr, H. Gray were executed in masterful style, showing off his voice to perfection. The duets by Miss Clague and Mrs. Killey were beautifully sung, both voices blending perfectly, and Miss Collister and Mr. T. Watterson. in their duet, also sang with excellent effect.

Before the conclusion of the programme the Chairman, on behalf of the officers and teachers of the Sunday school, proposed a hearty vote of thanks to. all who had taken part, and the vote was carried with applause.

The Chairman then said the day had been a most interesting one to most of them. They had had the re-opening ceremony, and afterwards a service, followed by tea, and that evening had a fine entertainment. Twelve months ago they had opened the chapel and that day had opened the Sunday school and there was now only one part of the scheme they had taken in hand that was not completed, that was the paying off the debt of £500 on the premises! The Sunday school was not yet finished, but when completed they would all say it was worth the effort. So far as he had heard that day, he was of opinion that the acoustic properties of the hall were greatly improved, and would be much better for Sunday school work, singing, and public meetings. He went on to say that they had now completed the second part of the scheme, and that up to the present they had not spent more than £2 or £3 over the money they had in hand, so that the collections, etc. taken at the re-opening services would be to extinguish the debt off the premises. He hoped the whole affair would pass off with success. He was very sorry the chairman was not present that evening, but he and another had waited upon Mr. Cunningham, of Douglas, and he had sent a letter on stating he could not come, and had enclosed a guinea.





Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
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