The present Wesleyan Chapel and Schoolroom was completed in 1902 at a cost of £2,700. On the day of the opening the late George Laws, the oldest member, locked the door of the old building after a service there. The new Chapel was opened by Miss Bowers of West Hartlepool. A few of the old citizens who gave loyal service to Wesleyan Methodism were Henry Hays and family, George Laws, Samuel Luxmore, John Brass, John Henry Brown and many others, all now deceased.
The present Primitive Methodist Chapel was opened in 1895 by Mrs. William Glass. It was enlarged in 1905, now having a gallery and seating about 450 people. Among the chief worshippers at this chapel were Messrs. Eden, Cook, Race, Bedford, Oliver, Tonks and Glass together with their respective families.
The Sinkers Row Methodist Church, sometimes known as the “Bible Christians” or “Cornish” chapel, was opened on Good Friday, 1885. About 1868 an influx of miners had come from Cornwall in answer to an invitation from coal-owners in Durham because of shortage of labour. This call was readily accepted because of the closing of the mines in Cornwall. The men brought their religion with them and set about building a chapel, the cost of which, including labour, and decorations, was £329-0-1d. The names associated with this old chapel were Bowden, Sodey, Collacot, Williams and Strong, but because of the removal of families to other houses under the slum-clearance orders Chapel and School were closed in 1959.
The Chapel was purchased by the Over-60 Club and the schoolroom by the miners’ union.
The old Miners’ Hall, which was at one time the Primitive Methodist Chapel is now condemned property.
The old Literary Institute with reading rooms, dance floor, etc., which used to be maintained by weekly donations by the miners, is now a Catholic Club.
The first school in Wingate was built with the Church in 1841 and is still being used, although enlarged.
The Colliery Owners made up the Master’s salary to £70 per annum, plus house and firing.
The Board School was opened in 1877 at a cost of £2,000, and later the Boys’ School was bought from Colonel Burdon of Castle Eden for £1,000.
The children at these schools paid sixpence weekly and were often sent home because these fees had not been brought. On reading an early log book for the school, one learns that the older girls were often kept at home to do extra cleaning for Christmas and spring-time.
There was a great shortage of teachers, often there only being one trained person for 178 scholars. Pupil, teachers and monitors were employed to help.
T’he standard of education appears to have been very low in those early days, and the attendance was much below that which one would normally expect, mainly because of sickness, Scarlet Fever, Measles and Diphtheria were then the prevalent diseases.
Miss Mary Armstrong was appointed Head-mistress at the Girls’ School on 11th January, 1886, following Miss Christine Smith. Miss Armstrong was always devoted to her work and pupils, and will long be remembered with affection.
In 1911 the staff and scholars were transferred to a new school in Moor Lane. This building is now used as a Secondary Modern School with Mr. J. W. Wilkinson as Head Teacher. Miss Ethel Oliver and Miss Lorna Stott are Head Teachers at the Junior Mixed and Infants’ Schools respectively. Both belong to old established families.