THE future of St Paul’s Church in Shaw is uncertain after a major roof collapse at the Grade II listed building on Rochdale Road.
Residents close to the scene were awoken in the early hours of Thursday, February 21 after masonry, stones and timber crashed to the floor.
There were no reports of injuries but Chapel Street remained blocked at the time of writing.
The entire church site has been closed since December due to safety concerns, with services currently held at Shaw United Reformed Church.
Engineers and Oldham Council officials visited the scene today, February 21 to survey the damage.
The Reverend Dr Adrian Burdon, superintendent minister, also surveyed the destruction.
“It’s just down to decay,” he said. “Wet rot, dry rot, everything rot.
“The front part of the building has been completely empty and has been since the early 1970s.
“Being responsible we closed the whole building as we were instructed to do before Christmas,” confirmed Rev Burdon. “Luckily, no one was injured.
“That’s what these guys are hopefully going to tell me,” he added when asked if the church would be saved.
“When the engineers get up to the roof they will then have a better idea.”
St Paul’s, which celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2011, has made several unsuccessful bids for National Lottery funding in recent years.
The first Methodist Sunday School in Shaw was held in 1811 on a different site.
By 1815 a Methodist chapel was built on the current Rochdale Road site and a foundation stone laid by James Cheetham. The building opened a year later.
A Chapel was built in 1863 – closed in 1975 – and Sunday School in 1871.
After the Great War, St Paul’s raised £7,000 to build an Institute in memory of the servicemen who had served and died. It opened in 1925.