The birth of Congregationalism in Colwyn Bay resulted from a joint effort of Welsh and English pioneers.
In 1878 an iron building was built in Abergele Road at its junction with Sea View Road, seating 200. Whilst initially services were held in both languages this arrangement was found to be unsatisfactory, and in 1885 both congregations had their own premises built.
The English group bought the Welsh Church out and took possession of the land on which the now closed Union Church stands.
The Welsh congregation funded the building of Capel Salem, which was opened on the September 28th 1885.
In 2001 a small group of Baptists started using the building jointly with the existing dwindling Welsh congregation. However, because of having only a few members, the Welsh group then soon moved out to join up with a similar Welsh Congregational Church in Old Colwyn. The Baptists continued using Capel Salem and eventually bought the building in 2004.
The Baptists have put great effort into bringing the church back to its former glory, having re-roofed and re-rendered it. Internally many improvements have been made, including a new heating system, a new kitchen, an office and extra toilets.
The ground floor pews have been removed but the Set Fawr has been retained as a portable feature and can be put back in place.
The organ workings were removed, but the façade pipes are still in place.
It has no permanent in-built baptistery but, as the Baptists practice baptism by full emersion, a portable baptistery is used.
The building is still called Capel Salem but the Church is known as “Antioch”.
This imposing chapel stands on the south side of Abergele Road in the block between Douglas Road and Rhiw Bank Avenue.
The chapel was opened in 1885 and rebuilt, or altered, in 1901-03 to the designs of Rowland Lloyd-Jones of Caernarfon. The large and impressive front elevation, in Neo-Classical style, is built of dark granite with extensive use of sandstone for the door and window openings, the quoins, the substantial central arch between the pilasters and the gable parapets. The roof is of slate.
Three large windows, separated by square columns with capitals, are located above the doorways. The central part of the front elevation, consisting of the main windows and the arch below the pedimented gable are flanked by granite and sandstone pilasters which terminate in an ogee cap. Note the smaller pilasters on the sides.
The small arched windows at ground floor level, which lie to the sides of the doorways, are delightful features. The glazing on the front consists of squared and lattice leaded lights.
Access to the chapel is through two prominent entrances, each having two six-panelled red doors. Both doorways have a bold semi-circular arch supported by four circular columns with carved capitals.
The side elevations have been rendered. The sliding sash windows, with their narrow margin glazing, are particularly pleasing.
Note the large number of foundation stones – seven to the left, one in the centre between the entrances and seven to the right.
The chapel stands slightly back from the road. The front boundary consists of a low wall with stone pillars and ornate railings and gates. Each of the entrances has its own set of gates and there are also gates at the sides.