This Methodist chapel began life in 1897 as a branch of Engedi, but later in the same year it was established as a separate chapel. It became clear very quickly that the chapel was too small, and the size of the building was doubled in 1899. In the 1905 Welsh Church Commission Statistics of the Noncomformist Churches Bethlehem Chapel is listed as having 362 adherents.
A great many young people from the countryside moved to Colwyn Bay to work and became members at Bethlehem and during the period before the Second World War the church flourished.
A hall was added in 1913 and performances by the chapel’s drama group were held together with concerts and eisteddfodau. In 1936 the unemployed were allowed use of the hall and in 1939 it was also used as a meeting place for children evacuated from Liverpool.
In 1964 the hall was sold to a car sales company.
Bethlehem had 12 ministers over the years. The ministry of the Rev. James Humphreys (1932-37) is often referred to as the golden period. Rev. R. R. Williams, author of hymn 853 in the Welsh hymn book “Caneuon Ffydd”, was the minister between 1925 and 1931, and Rev. R. J. Davies, author of hymn 788, was the minister between 1950 and 1977.
The building’s future will be as a sympathetic conversion into three family houses.
Bethlehem Chapel stands on the western side of Lawson Road, not far from its junction with Abergele Road.
In common with a number of other chapels and churches in Colwyn Bay, the local limestone has been used for this building. Selective use has also been made of sandstone for the gable parapets, door and window openings, buttress cappings and the front porch. The roof is covered in slate, with red ridge tiles.
The main feature of the chapel is the wide symmetrical gable front with its five light central window above the porch, flanked by buttresses. The date 1897 is boldly displayed in a circular stone plaque. The middle window of stained glass includes the date 1897. The prominent front porch stands close to the road. Of particular interest is the finely carved lintol with the name “BETHLEHEM” inscribed in the stone. The lettering, carving and tool marks remain crisp and clear.
Shallow relieving arches above the windows help to distribute the weight of the masonry away from the sandstone window mullions and transomes.
A limestone wall, complete with cock and hen coping, runs along the road frontage.