It seems appropriate to write this article because Whitehill Methodist Community Church is celebrating its centenary this year.
In the 1800's there were no chapels/churches at Whitehill but stories tell that there were 2 houses where worship took place. However, there was a tin tabernacle at some time which was transported from Alsager. Someone is researching the history and the outcome will be reported later.
The first chapel to be built was Whitehill Weslyan which was situated on the right hand side of Whitehill Road going towards Newchapel close to Mount Road roundabout. This was built around 1860 and closed in 1971. It was also known as Bottom Chapel. There was a Sunday School in the morning and afternoon and a service in the evening. In June the annual Charity Sunday event took place where Sunday School children walked around Whitehill and Rookery in their new outfits and the choir would also walk and sing hymns. In the afternoon and evening services were held and a stage was erected upon which the children in the best clothes stood and sang and the choir also performed. A collection was held to pay for the upkeep of the chapel.
Every year the children were given a treat, either a trip to New Brighton or games and goodies in a field belonging to a local farmer, Mr Cotterill. Occasionally children's socials were held where games were played and spinning the plate was a favourite one where a youngster would get to kiss someone of the opposite sex if they were lucky enough to catch the plate before it came to rest. Pantomimes were held which were thoroughly enjoyed by the community. There was a lot of talent at Whitehill to make this happen, from dressmakers, singers, musicians and comics. Another important event was the conversation from gas lighting to electric in the late 1940's which was celebrated in style.
The second to be built was Balls Bank Methodist Church (now known as Whitehill Methodist Community Church). It was always referred to as Top Chapel. When Bottom Chapel was closed the congregation moved to Top Chapel. In the late 1940's there were ducket toilets which consisted of a large and a small wooden hole and some children always worried that they might fall into the container underneath. Through extensive fund raising a community hall was added. This year the church celebrates its centenary. Over the past year the kitchen and toilets have been refurbished and the Footsteps Project completed which gives more space for activities. Many people have worked hard to make this possible and it will be opened on 17 March followed by a service of dedication on 18 March at 3 pm. This Church is now the hub of the community where many activities take place.
Many children who attended both the Churches found their true loves and eventually married and still live at Whitehill.