Methodist services began in Guildford in 1837 when the Hardy brothers travelled to Guildford. Services were held in private homes, in the open air or the Court House until it was constructed. Guildford Church became part of the Perth Methodist circuit when it was inaugurated in 1840.
Wesley Chapel Guildford replaces an earlier church constructed in 1856 near the present railway station.
The land was resumed to allow for the construction of the railway line from Perth to Guildford in February 1883, the church was demolished and the cemetery alongside was moved to Welman Street, and then later to South Guildford.
The present Chapel was opened on 21 August 1883 and originally had face brick walls and the front gable was surmounted by a bellcote (a small framework for housing bells). The Sunday School room, or hall, was added in 1886 with the further addition of a kitchen and amenities block in 1984.
By 1897 the original chapel was not large enough to house the congregation, so a larger church was built on the adjoining land to the west of the Chapel. That church continued to house the Guildford congregation until it was affected by an earthquake in 1941. It was subsequently deemed unsafe for use and services stopped being held there in the early 1940s. It was demolished a few years later due to structural faults. The pulpit, pews and much of the furniture from that larger church were relocated to this chapel where they remain in use today. The foundation stone of the second church can be found on the western wall of the Chapel.
The Manse at the rear of the Chapel was constructed in 1891 and is designed in the tradition of the Australian colonial domestic structures with a hipped roof and verandahs on three sides. The brickwork is a handmade Flemish bond and the colours of these bricks are the reverse of the usual pattern. The headers in this case are of a lighter colour than the stretchers, the Manse provides space for small community groups to meet for various reasons.
These buildings are now listed on all State, City and National Trust registers of heritage places and are believed to be the only surviving complementary structures on the one original site anywhere in Australia.
Wesley Chapel is one of the historic buildings on the Guildford Historical Societies’ ‘Guildford Walk Trail’, utilised by local and overseas tourists.