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It all started in a butcher's shop
It all started in a former butcher's shop at the bottom of Adelaide Street, in South Bank, York, in the 1860s or 1870s.
George Everitt, the young man who owned the butcher's shop, cleaned the premises out every Saturday evening so it could be used as a Sunday school on Sunday mornings.
This work was so successful that it eventually moved into two houses in a neighbouring street and services for adults began to be held as well.
At about this time a large Methodist chapel inside the city walls was seeking to respond to the growing population just outside the walls.
The Sunday school work started in the butcher's shop and the money and personnel made available by the big chapel resulted in the opening of Southlands Wesleyan Chapel and Sunday School at a cost of £6,000 in 1887 in a prominent position on a site previously occupied by a windmill at the top of the hill in Bishopthorpe Road.
By coincidence this was close to a spot where in a previous century an Archbishop of York was executed!
Soon the chapel had 600 children on its Sunday school roll.
Since then Southlands has responded in many different ways to community needs — providing leisure facilities for soldiers during two world wars, providing shelter and help for refugees from Belgium and Hungary, and offering a friendship-through-tapes ministry to old people.
The need for these forms of outreach has long since passed, but the church continues to look for ways to serve and respond to the needs of the community.
Its current heavy programme of youth and children's work is one aspect of this desire to serve the community.
The Youth & Community Centre required little structural alteration to equip it for youth work, but major repairs to put right years of neglect and deal with dry rot and wet rot cost the church more than £21,000 in 1977.
During the year 2000, as part of a Millennium project, access to the church building was considerably improved with new, more open, more welcoming entrances being provided from Southlands Road and from Bishopthorpe Road. At the same time floodlighting was provided at the front of the church, and a large stainless steel cross was fixed to the side of one of the front towers.
Work was completed in the autumn of 2009 on a £41,000 project to upgrade and modernise the toilet accommodation at Southlands.