St Ives Bible Christian Chapel, Cornwall.
From lofty ambition to continued fellowship.
St Ives Bible Christian Church, is a thriving Methodist fellowship, based in the Grade 2 listed former Bible Christian Chapel in St Peters Street. They have taken on the name as a continuation of the chapel’s existence and full details can be found here …. http://biblechristian.org.uk/
It was one of several Methodist chapels (of all various types) in St Ives which were the first Methodist circuit in Cornwall from the early days of the Wesley’s outreach, and centre of revival and outreach in the early 19th Century in West Cornwall and two are both still very active (the other being Fore Street Methodist…. http://www.fsmcstives.org.uk/ which is now an independent Methodist fellowship or ‘one circuit chapel’ as they describe it, and has a history link on its website to its Primitive Methodist links).
From Loft to Chapel
The BC chapel is situated in St Peters Street, St Ives (originally known as Chapel Street) and originally was a Weslyan chapel, one of two in the main St Ives town, one each for the upper richer and lower poorer areas of the port), but it was not successful and sold to the BC congregation.
A full history of the BC chapel and congregation by the excellent local Methodist historian JCC Probert can be found here http://biblechristian.org.uk/history.htm via the chapel’s website. I will leave you to read this very informative history in detail, however in short, the BCs came into being in the town in 1829, and would seem to have used various lofts for meetings, as they have several frustrating years trying to obtain land to build a chapel, until 1858. It was they then were able to obtain the chapel in St Peters St, from the Wesleyans, itself having been built in 1824, enlarging it and adding a school room.
Alterations and Growth
In 1871 it was enlarged and altered (new flooring and gas!) and again in 1887, but over the years fortunes fluctuated with wealth in money and numbers. It eventually came into the full Methodist fold and passed to the present congregation who continue the work.
The most recent refurbishment was in 1999, for which Mr Probert produced his history to help raise funds.
St Ives and the west of Cornwall was a busy place for Methodism and I attach a link to a local Penwith site with a list of chapels and other links to help your research.