Joseph Wright Hall

Opened in 1867, the Chapel was designed by Joseph Wright of Hull (1818–85), and is one of his most impressive buildings.  It is among the last surviving examples of his work and is one of the fine Victorian public buildings in the town centre.

Having saved public access to this this grade II listed building, the Trust is now poised to restore the historic fabric, bring its visitor facilities into the twenty first century and integrate it as part of the Museum.

The original raked pews, ornate plasterwork and recessed organ arch remain, creating a natural theatre and a unique setting.  Space on the ground floor is plentiful but requires modernisation having been remodelled in the 1960s.

Click below for a brief biography of Joseph Wright

Joseph Wright biography

Click below for a list of other chapels designed by Joseph Wright 

Joseph Wrights chapels

The Past

The huge and ornate chapel was Barton’s third Primitive Methodist chapel and had seating for 600 people.

It ceased to be used by the Methodists in 1961 and subsequently became the Salvation Army Citadel.  The interior of the main hall was substantially redesigned by the insertion of a floor at gallery level, the removal of the ground floor pews and alterations to the frontage.

Click below for more about the building’s history 

The History of the Joseph Wright Hall


Primitive Methodism

The Primitive Methodists were a major offshoot of the principal stream of Methodism – the Wesleyan Methodists – in the nineteenth Century.

Click below for more about Barton’s Methodist chapels  

Primitive Methodism in Barton

Click below for an extract from our archive copy of “The Origin and History of the Primitive Methodist Church” by Kendall, H B, vol 2 (1905)  

The Origin and History of the Primitive Methodist Church


The Sunday Schoolroom

The original, enlarged Sunday Schoolroom at the rear still survives.

The Salvation Army also had a Sunday School, and many Bartonians continue to share their memories of this with us.

Click below for more about Sunday School history and Barton’s Sunday schools 

Sunday Schools -origins in Britain and Barton


The Present

In 2014, with the support of North Lincolnshire Council, the Trust acquired the beautiful Primitive Methodist Chapel adjacent to the School.

The first-floor gallery has survived, creating a unique auditorium with a capacity of 220 for performing arts and lectures.  It has already proved successful with music, dance and drama groups.

On the ground floor, the former Sunday Schoolroom is now a multi-purpose space used for education and Museum events as well as for private hire.  A smaller room is used for arts and crafts activities.





The Sunday Schoolroom


As soon as we could, we began using this with visiting schools as a learning space and as a lunchroom – a crucial part of any school visit!

It’s also used for talks, yoga and dance workshops.









Volunteers later gave it a bit of a “face-lift” so we have now been able to host our first art and heritage exhibitions.

It can also be hired for talks, commercial and private functions.

Click here for information about venue hire







The Future 

The objective of the Trust is to restore and refurbish the building to create a centre for creative and performance arts, community activities and events, and to help expand the Museum’s own activities.

Our vision for the Hall is that it becomes:

  • an optimum location for theatrical productions for audiences of up to 200 that are best suited to a “period” environment and the distinctive features of the auditorium
  • a centre of excellence for local involvement in community activities, particularly those related to the arts
  • inclusive and serving the interests of all sections of the local population

Click below to discover more about our plans for the future Wright Hall Future Plans.pdf




Community Arts

The Hall has become an integral part of the Museum’s events programme including school holiday workshops, craft fairs, community festivals and Heritage Open Days.

It has been used by local dance groups for workshops and performances, and is used as a venue to deliver the annual Barton Arts festival.

And, more recently, Hull Steampunk Rebels have centred showpiece steampunk festivals on the Museum & Hall (right).


Jon Dent Creative runs two weekly tutored painting sessions for adults.  Their Wilderspin Art Group holds regular exhibitions and workshops in the Museum.

 Click below for a link to their Facebook page:






pins and needles



Joseph Wright logo

“Cultural facilities play an important role in the local community, both through their role as a place for entertainment, and also by supporting shared social activity and wellbeing through engagement in the arts”

Theatres Trust





South Bank Players is a resident amateur drama group.  They hold weekly drama workshops for children and adults, and produce two or three performances each year.  Their volunteers have helped equip the Auditorium with sound and lighting systems available for others to hire.

Click below for a link to their Facebook page:





“By 2030, we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where every one of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences.”

Arts Council England – Let’s Create Strategy 2020




TSQ photo

Friends at Barton is a Community Theatre Group founded by professional actor/director Paul Tate who is originally from Barton.




Paul Tate

When he’s not in the West End, Paul supports the Trust in the capacity of Artistic Director, helping to shape our creative aspirations.


Click below for a link to FAB’s Facebook page:


Barton A Christmas Carol logo









barton civic society logo



Barton Civic Society is based here too and holds monthly public talks and committee meetings.

Its aims are to safeguard the historic fabric of Barton and to promote an interest in the built and natural environments of the town.

The Society held its fiftieth anniversary commemorative exhibition here in 2019.

It has produced a Town Trail and historic walk leaflets – all available from the Museum.






The Civic Society is a key partner in the town’s Heritage Open Days festivals which included Hidden Histories in 2018 (pictured) when Civic Society members, Wilderspin National School Museum volunteers and South Bank Players members assumed various character roles to interpret hidden historic buildings around the town.