New Room Library

Last updated 5th January 2019 
Name of library New Room Library 
Address 36 The Horsefair, Bristol, BS1 3JE 
Telephone  0117 926 4740
Alternative names  John Wesley’s Chapel Bristol
Contact & Job Title Kate Rogers, Manager
Purpose & main user community of the library We welcome anyone who wants to use our collections and ask for research advice. Our service is open to everyone, free of charge. In addition to those doing research, we welcome those who want to improve their understanding of the Christian faith, Methodism and various aspects of family or local history.

Primary Users: College and University researchers, family history enthusiasts, researchers interested in Methodist church history, visual culture, architecture and Bristol history.

Terms of access Drop-in during opening hours, or email the Collections Manager to arrange an appointment to access archive material.

Facilities include worktop benches for researchers, toilets, free wifi and power for your laptop and devices. You can also enjoy a break from your research in our café or pay a visit to our museum.

Opening hours Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10.30am – 1pm. Closed Bank Holidays. See website for details of other public holidays.
Disabled access Library is on the first floor. A lift is available.
Lending to other libraries & visitors Reference Library only. To discuss the possibility of a short-term loan for exhibition please contact the Collection Manager
Number of volumes  8,000 (books and pamphlets)
Periodicals – Back Issues  42 (complete and incomplete)
Current Periodicals  24
Other materials  Letters, Journals and Notebooks (1200 items). Portraits of Methodist ministers, mainly from Wesleyan journals (ca 1250 items). Postcards (mostly connected with the chapel).
Volumes added per year  approx. 50

What’s here at the New Room Library?

  • the works of John and Charles Wesley, many printed in Bristol in the 18th century.
  • books and pamphlets on Methodist history and biography
  • Minutes of Conference of the Methodist Church and its various sections, since 1745
  • The Proceedings of The Wesley Historical Society since its inception and almost all of the regional publications
  • an almost complete run of The Arminian/Wesleyan and Methodist Magazine.
  • Methodist and other hymn books since 1737.

extensive collection of local histories, many for particular chapels, especially for Bristol, Gloucestershire and Somerset.

Special Collections  Watkinson collection of Methodist portraits, especially presidents of the Methodists Conference from John Wesley onwards.
Research resource  Bristol Methodism
Catalogue Type Card, working towards digitalisation (all accessioned items digitalised)
URL of catalogue
Other facilities  Photocopying at 10p per sheet.
Full Time Staff  
Part Time Staff  1
Voluntary Staff  12
Changes in next five years affecting the above  
Anything else about the library  The first library at the New Room was created by John Wesley. This was lost when the building was sold in 1808 but a new library collection was started in the 1930s. The new Library to house this was officially opened in July 2017 and it also contains hundreds of volumes that were once within the libraries of  the Methodist Music Society and Wesley College, Bristol.