Keresley Village – From Mission Church to Community Pit Stop

History of the church in Keresley End

Picture of inside Mission Church
Picture of inside Pit Stop when KVCC

In 1925 a redundant wooden Sinker’s Hut was given to be used as a home for the Mission Church of the Parish of Keresley with Coundon, in Bennett’s Road.  Keresley had become a ‘pit’ village when colliery workings began in 1908.

It was renamed The Church of the Ascension in the 1980s and that building was demolished in December 1994, after it became unsafe, not long before Keresley Colliery finally closed in 1996.  After the closure, the small congregation had no new premises, but rose to the challenge, and held services in people’s homes, on the village green, in the community hut and in the back room of a pub! It was a test of endurance and faith to continue. Out of this time of fellowship, grew a desire that a new church would be an ecumenical church, and in 1997 two shops in the heart of the village were purchased with money contributed by individuals and other churches, and these shops were converted into Keresley Village Community Church dedicated in February 1999.

Former Wheelwright Lane Methodist Church The members were joined shortly afterwards by a small group of Methodists from Wheelwright Lane. This church had originally been built on land given by the Colliery Owners in 1929, primarily to serve the needs of the mining community, as with the church in Keresley. The church in Wheelwright Lane was closed in February 1999 and demolished shortly afterwards to make way for a new link road serving the warehouses and office units under construction on the old Keresley Colliery site.

Invitations had been extended to Wheelwright Lane members from churches around the Circuit and from Keresley, to join there after the closure.

In 2016 we set up a community conversation with a questionnaire and meetings to see what people living in the village most wanted. Out of this came a clear need for a meeting place. Community Coffee Stop, a weekly drop-in and café, was the first result.

In 2017 the congregation that had been meeting in the church on Sunday mornings as part of an Anglican/Methodist LEP had reduced to a small group of older members and they decided to stop the Sunday services, so main services are held at St Thomas, though Messy Church continued at KVCC.

From those that began to use the building at Coffee Stop and a women’s support group which began in 2018, it became clear that calling the building a ‘church’ was a stumbling block for some and after consultation it was agreed to rename the building ‘The Pit Stop’.  This reflected the history of the village as a former colliery village, and also the other meaning of a pit stop – a time and location to stop and be refreshed, take a break, refuel.

In 2020 just before the pandemic, refurbishment work with new flooring and repainting the inside of the building was carried out.  Improvements to the kitchen were also made.

Inside The Pit Stop Today

From contemporary newspaper reports


The tiny Keresley Mission Church near Coventry, which holds only 100 people, attracted four- times that number for its golden jubilee service – with still just a little room to spare. The secret was that the nearby Coventry Colliery social club became the setting for the anniversary celebrations – with the Bishop of Coventry, Dr Cuthbert Bardsley, leading the service and singing. The church is an old sinkers’ hut used when the colliery was first sunk in 1911. The Bishop first led a short service in the church. Then the congregation moved to the club for a special service. Music was provided by the Arley Welfare Band and the choir of Keresley Newlands junior school. Today the Vicar of Keresley the Rev. John Tyers said: “Everything went off superbly and to the minute. The. hall was packed. If we had had the service in the church we would have filled it four times over. Moving to the social club meant that everyone could have a seat.”

In 1982 the Mission Church was renamed the Church of the Ascension.

Plea after building is ruled unfit

The congregation of a tiny church in Keresley have been forced to worship in a wooden hut after officials condemned their church. Anglican leaders say the tiny Church of Ascension in Bennetts Road is unfit, forcing the congregation, some of whom have worshipped there since the 1920s, into an old Territorial hut. The congregation now plan to build a new church but will need divine intervention if they are to raise the cash they need. They want to build a new church and community on the TA site, also in Bennetts Road, but can’t afford Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council’s £75,000 asking price They plan to beg the borough council to help by cutting the price of the land. The land is worth £150,000, and the council has already halved it, because of its proposed non-commercial use. The Church of Ascension was an old sinkers’ hut used when the nearby Coventry Colliery was first sunk in 1911. It was given to the Anglican church in the 1920s and has been used by worshippers in the village ever since. Emie Fallows, aged 89, of Albert Crescent, has been a member of the church since 1939 and was devastated when she found out the building had been condemned. She said: “The whole village is sad. It is like a bereavement to me after all those years.” Newly ordained priest Anne Donaldson said they have been worshipping in the TA’s hut for the past three weeks and space was very limited. She is now hoping to persuade the borough’s policy and resources committee, which meets on Wednesday, to reduce their asking price. She said: “The new, building would house the church and a community centre, which everyone in the village will be able to use. We can’t afford the £75,000 to buy the land and the money to carry out building work so we are hoping the council will give us the land at a cheaper rate.”

Note: the caption to an accompanying picture read:-
NOTICE TO QUIT: The Rev Anne Donaldson (right) and long-standing churchgoer Emie Fallows framed in the door of the condemned church.

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