The building is the only survivor in City Square from before 1893. It replaced the earlier chapel of 1674 where Joseph Priestley was the minister in the late eighteenth century. His statue, appropriately faces over City Square to the chapel and there are several memorials within which have survived from the earlier building of 1674.
Designed by Bowman and Crowther of Manchester between 1847 and 1848, it was apparently known at one time as the 'mayor's nest' when it provided four Dissenting mayors in five years.
When the new Mill Hill Chapel was opened it had a congregation of over 1,000. Many of the present congregation helped Margaret Cordell in sewing this piece in cross stitch.