Most of the material in this archive relates to the administration of the assembly and hall. It includes correspondence, business minute books, roll books, cash books, balance sheets, statements of receipts and payments, and letters and papers concerning the trustees, insurance and the registration of the hall. The archive also contains catalogues and lists of the books that belonged to the assembly and were donated to the John Rylands Library on 14 March 1985. Some items in the archive relate to activities at the hall; including service programs, tickets and adverts for events, and newspaper cuttings about the hall. There are also letters and draft letters concerning missionary work the assembly supported and the commendation of members of the Brethren.
Bright Hall Assembly Eccles Archive
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
The first assembly of Open Brethren in Eccles took place sometime in the 1880s when W. H. Hunter conducted a month-long campaign of gospel meetings in Eccles Town Hall. Subsequently gospel meetings were held in a hall in Barton Lane, until in 1887 the Brethren began meeting in their own Gospel Hall on Peel Street. By 1895 the Brethren had left these premises and were meeting in a room over a shop in Church Street. Under the guidance of W. H. Hunter a new building was obtained in Bright Road. Bright Hall was built at this location by F. E. Gill and Son and was officially opened in 1902.
In 1905 Bright Hall was registered as a place of religious worship and building for the solemnization of marriages. By 1919 a board of trustees had been appointed, who dealt with any important issues concerning the assembly. Regular business meetings were held in which leading members of the assembly discussed the day-to-day matters concerning the Brethren.
The hall was used by the assembly for prayer meetings, a Sunday School and other activities such as tea parties and children's meetings. The assembly at Bright Hall also helped to organise Brethren conferences and gospel campaigns in the local area. In 1967 an attempt was made to establish a young people's meeting, but this was abandoned after only two meetings due to the disapproval of the elders. The assembly donated money to a number of causes, including missionary work in the UK and overseas, the Manchester Missionaries Home, other Brethren assemblies and a local hospital, which the assembly regularly visited.
In 1972 the Brethren assembly briefly moved out of Bright Hall while it was redecorated following an accident involving the boiler chimney. During its closure the assembly used the United Reform Church opposite the hall. By 15 February 1973 the assembly had moved back into Bright Hall. In 1976 a job creation scheme run by Glyn Jones, the secretary of Bright Hall, provided jobs for twelve men to reconstruct the interior of the hall. The Brethren continued to meet at Bright Hall until 1984 when the hall closed due to falling membership numbers.
The physical arrangement of this archive was confused in places. Therefore, this archive has been arranged into series according to function while also taking account of the order in which items were arranged when received by the library.
Conditions Governing Access
Access restrictions may apply, please consult the archivist.
Not known. The hall closed in 1984. Books from Library were donated to JRUL 14 March 1985. This archival material may have been acquired at the same time.
Other Finding Aids
Conditions Governing Use
Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.
A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.
Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands University Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH, tel.: +44 (0)161 834 5343.
Brady, D. & Evans, Fred J.,Christian Brethren in Manchester and District: A History (London: Heritage Publications, 1997).