BACK in the 1970s, when Wakefield Road was redeveloped for motorway links, one of the few parts of old Dudley Hill to survive was Ebenezer Methodist Church.

The Victorian church building remains today - a window into the past for an area which changed forever nearly half a century ago, with the arrival of the city’s new road network.

This photograph, which appeared in the Telegraph & Argus on May 31, 1972, is of members of Ebenezer Methodist Church standing on the footbridge at Dudley Hill roundabout with their minister, the Rev Gordon D Newton, (right). “The new Wakefield Road has transformed the district and given the church a challenge,” wrote Dudley Akeroyd. “The new road, with its links with the M1 and M62, is seen as an important contribution to Bradford’s economic future and Ebenezer is playing its part in the form of the Churches’ Industrial Centre, established six months ago.”

Dudley Hill was where Primitive Methodism was established in Bradford, in 1821. The first chapel built by the “Prims”, in 1823, stood between Ebenezer Chapel and the Sunday school. Wrote Mr Akeroyd: “The story of how a band of “Singing Pilgrims” walked from Leeds to Dudley Hill in 1821 illustrates the harsh religious divisions of the time. As they came along Rooley Lane they were jeered and stoned by a mob until a labourer, Joseph Sidebottom, invited them into his cottage ‘for a bit of dinner’. Hostility did not prevent them from holding their first services in the open air.”

The “Prims” prospered and a church next to the first building was completed in 1886. The Sunday school was opened in 1911 by Alderman Abram Peel.

Over the years, the T&A reported on various developments at Ebenezer Church. June, 1951 saw a report on a “fight-to-the-last-ditch” effort to raise funds for new youth club premises, after the club was forced to vacate its home which was being taken over as a recreational therapy centre. In August, 1951 the T&A reported: “When 12 members of Ebenezer Youth Council last night began clearing 100 tons of earth and stone from a site in Harcourt Street, off Wakefield Road, it represented the end for a search for new headquarters that has gone on for months. ‘The period has been extremely difficult,’ said Miss EF Cook, hon secretary, who added that their membership, which has remained static at about 100 for some years, was down by half.”

By January, 1952 the T&A was celebrating the recent union of Wesley Place Chapel on Wakefield Road and Ebenezer Methodist Church. The union was the focus of a thanksgiving service - “A great occasion for local Methodism”, declared a T&A columnist.

A year later, in January, 1961 the T&A was looking ahead to “a year of almost non-stop celebrations, rededication and thanksgiving” for Ebenezer Church members.

The year marked the 75th anniversary of the church building (erected by the “Prims” in 1886), the 50th anniversary of the Sunday school building and the 10th anniversary of the Ebenezer-Wesley Place Union.