The first Annual Conference of the Primitive Methodist movement was held in May 1820 in Hull. They reported a membership of 7,842.
John Petty records that
“there were no outward attractions to draw people to the new denomination. The preachers were men possessed of common sense, of sound theological views, and of ardent zeal for the conversion of sinners; but they were not distinguished by learning and eloquence, in the sense in which these terms were generally understood. Their places of worship were the open-air, dwelling-houses, and rented rooms of various sizes, often dark and damp, and in many cases unpleasant and uncomfortable in a high degree. The converts were mostly from the humblest classes; dressed in coarse attire, and of unpolished manners. These things presented no outward inducement to unite with infant societies; and it is no marvel that great numbers who were awakened under the thundering addresses of the preachers in the open-air, sought shelter in the established churches, instead of strengthening the hands of those under whom they were brought to God.”
The Annual Conference for 1821 shows membership more than doubled to 16,394, and that the next year, 1822 it grew by another eight thousand to 25,218 members.
In spite of the lack of outward attraction, God was building a powerful movement that changed their world.Source: History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, by John Petty, page 86-87