The Room that changed the world.
A Short History of The New Room
In 1739 John Wesley was asked by the members of two religious societies in Bristol to create ‘a new room’ where they could meet. Many of the features of early Methodism, including its ‘class system’ (a way of Christians encouraging each other), first appeared at the New Room.Learn More
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Our Mission Statement:
The New Room - A Light in the City since 1739
Three hundred years ago, John Wesley started a mission in Bristol that sparked a worldwide movement. His message is still relevant and changes lives today. John Wesley's New Room is the oldest Methodist building in the world, right here among the shops in Broadmead. It is the place that completes the story of Bristol and the birthplace of an 18th century religious movement into a 21st century Christian denomination of over 75 million members worldwide.
Our Mission is to be a heritage site where people come in, and go out renewed.
Our Vision is to use our historic collection and other resources to bring to life the story and legacy of the Wesleys, offering space for curiosity, reflection, and enjoyment to all.
There’s room here to explore and find your own space. There’s room to sing. Room to worship. Room to read and study and meet, room to just take some time together over coffee and room to just be.
There’s room for everyone. Come on in.
Find out More about Volunteering
A note from Gary Best, Historical Consultant
My name is Gary Best and I was the volunteer Warden at the New Room from 2009 to 2018. In that capacity I worked as the chief executive officer for the trustees and led on the Horsefair Project developing our new facilities. I was the volunteer Historical Consultant in the creation and curation of the revamped museum, which opened in 2017.
For me the New Room is a very special place because it was so central to the work of John and Charles Wesley. These two men were not just hugely important figures in the eighteenth century who created the movement known as Methodism: the issues they addressed and the challenges they posed are just as relevant in today’s world.
John sought to bring back Christianity to its basics, preaching what he described as ‘the religion of love’. This was a faith rooted not just in prayer and worship but in practical outreach designed to change society for the better. What he had to say about consumerism, the gap between rich and poor, the role of women, the horror of slavery, the stupidity of war, healthy living, and a host of social justice issues rings just as true today. In the modern world we can still benefit from his insights, especially from the emphasis he paced on supporting each other in the communities in which we live.
Charles is regarded today as the world’s greatest hymn writer and, even after over two hundred years, 450 of his hymns are still in use around the globe. His hymns are rooted in his personal experience and he was not afraid to voice all our human emotions - the joys and the sorrows, the hopes and the fears, the certainties and the doubts. Such was the power of his verse that it transformed hymn singing into a popular activity. That legacy remains because, even though we live in a more secular world, there are more religious songs being written today than ever before.
I hope you will come to the New Room, experience the special atmosphere within the Chapel, be informed and challenged within the Museum, enjoy hospitality within our new cafe, and visit Charles Wesley's House. And maybe some of you - like me - will become a volunteer and find out how rewarding it is to work in this amazing place.
The New Room is supported by Methodist Heritage.
There are historic chapels and other properties relating to Methodism all around the UK.
The Methodist Heritage website contains details of most of these sites.