World's oldest Methodist chapel re-opens after multi-million pound upgrade
The oldest Methodist chapel in the world is celebrating after the completion of an extensive refurbishment project.
The New Room, in Bristol, also known as John Wesley's Chapel, has been undergoing restoration and expansion for the past 18 months.
The Duke of Gloucester was on hand to officially open the redeveloped space, which includes a visitor centre, heritage museum, café and gift shop, and a conference centre.
A service took place in the chapel to mark the re-opening.
The chapel was built in 1739 by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. It claims the title of 'cradle of Methodism' because after its foundation the faith spread around the world and now encompasses some 75 million members worldwide.
Manager David Worthington said: 'This building has been at the heart of Bristol's history for nearly 300 years.
'Our new visitor centre will make Wesley's work accessible to all, and we hope visitors will be fascinated to discover what a pioneer John Wesley was and how far ahead of his time – campaigning for causes like gender equality, abolition of slavery, healthcare, education, and the natural environment.'
The chapel, which is still used for worship services, is already a tourist destination, but it's hoped the refurbishment will bring a new wave of visitors to learn about one of the most significant modern Christian sites in England.