125 years review
In 1854 England was embarking on the Crimean War. What a big distance in time and circumstances separate us from the date of Christ Church Mount Pellon's foundation. So much has changed materially in our world of Space exploration, instantaneous communications by Radio and Television, high speed travel, modern technology, and in international affairs, from the days of the Charge of the Light Brigade.
Yet certain basic things have not altered. Man is made in God's likeness, with a capacity to know Him and hear His word. Man's heart is still restless until it finds its rest in the love of God. Man is a spiritual being with deep personal needs.
Your Church was built to enable your forefathers to worship God and hear His Word, to build up the Body of Christ, and to be a caring and evangelising community in Mount Pellon. All this is as relevant now as it was then. As you thank God for his blessings over the past 125 years I pray that you will offer yourselves anew in His service in the years to come.
May God bless you in your Festival and in your Christian dedication in the future.
In our Centenary for 1954 a brochure was compiled giving our church's history for the hundred years. We now present a further record of the following 25 years but first let us look at our Parish in 1854, and some interesting events, that make up the history of Pellon, and its people, the ordinary people who have accepted the challenge of Jesus to "take up the Cross and follow Me".
A city set on a hill cannot be hid
Substitute the word "Church" for city and we have Christ Church Mount Pellon. It can be well seen from several points between Illingworth and New Bank. When it was erected in 1854 it would be on the main road from Halifax at the top of a wooded hillside. Below would be Birks Hall, the residence of the two widowed ladies Mrs. Brooke and Mrs Lancashire, who by the gift of the land and money had done a great deal towards making the church possible. In the valley the Hebble Brook would run through pleasant meadows down to Lee Bridge, opposite would be the rocks and shrubby trees of Wheatley Edge, topped by Shroggs Moor, the Parish would cover more of Wheatley than it does now, but would not have Mount Tabor or beyond. There would be a few fairly big houses, several farms and groups of cottages, a few small mills (one with a long louvre chimney and stretchgate tenters) maybe a few workshops such as a smithy and a brewery on Ovenden Wood. There would be no other places of worship, no schools, no reservoir. Thrum Hall was only a farm, no Barracks, no high level railway, the only transport being horse drawn. The Rev. William Gilmore was Vicar of Illingworth 1836-78, and the members of the congregation who met as a house group in a room in Broadley Hall, Ovenden Wood, when Mount Pellon was planned as a separate parish, cut out of that of Illingworth, must have had great faith and foresight of the beginnings and growth of the population, they could hardly have envisaged the new road, the many terraces and all the housing estates and the large population in the area in 1979; in 1854 there were about 750 inhabitants, in our parish; in 1882 this had grown to 4,000, and now the number is over 18,000.
The Seed is Sown
And from this small house group sprang forth the early seed of the faithful to bear witness and the building up of the fellowship that was to be seen in the coming years at Mount Pellon. An appeal was started and a most generous gift of £500 was given by Mrs. Lancashire and Mrs. Brooke the two old ladies of Birks Hall as they were often affectionately called; when the Church was built it had cost £2,091 11s. 3d., £950 been raised by voluntary subscription. There were many fine gifts made, and an interesting grant of £160 was made by the Society of Buildings and repairing of Chapels, on condition (and this may be read on a tablet in the main Church Porch) that 273 seats should be reserved for the use of the poorer inhabitants of the Parish for ever, the seats numbering 1-48 inclusive. The foundation stone of the Church was laid by Mr. John Gott on May 31st, 1853, and the building of the Church took about 18 months. On the 28th October, 1854, an extract from the Courier stated that: "Upon the whole, this really attractive edifice may safely be pronounced one of the most perfect specimens of a village church to be met with in the West Riding of Yorkshire." The style of the architecture is decorated of the 16th century. The Church later in 1974 became a listed building.
The Consecration of our Church took place on Friday, 27th October, 1854. Extract from the "Courier", 28th October, 1854, reads: Most of the aristocracy of the neighbourhood was present, and the humble classes, decent artisans and labourers in their carefully kept 'Sunday best' were well represented at the consecration of Christ Church Mount Pellon, which took place yesterday in beautiful autumn weather. Admission to the Church was by ticket only; no distinction of rank was observed in the distribution of tickets. The church was full to capacity and many had to be turned away. The Bishop of Ripon, Dr. Longley, accompanied by Archdeacon Musgrave was received at the entrance to the burial ground by the Rev. W. Gilmore, M.A., the Rev. G. Kin-near, M.A., John Gott, Esq., J. W. Rhodes, Esq., Messrs Samuel Webster, John Greenroyd, Daniel Skelton, Adam Lowe and the Churchwardens of Illingworth. The service of Consecration began at 11.0 a.m. The psalms, canticles, versicles, responses and hymns were sung without accompaniment by the Illingworth Choir under the direction of their organist and choirmaster, Mr. Hartley. During the actual consecration the 24th psalm was sung. The text of the consecration sermon was taken from St. Paul's epistle to the Galatians chapter 6, verse 14.
The Bishop preceded by the Churchwardens of Illingworth and by his chaplain bearing the Pastoral Staff and followed by the clergy and choir, then proceeded to the burial ground for its consecration. During this the 49th psalm was said. The Alms which amounted to £59 15s. were collected by the Mayor, Joshua Apple-yard, Sir Henry Edwards and Robert Parker Esq.
After the consecration there were two receptions, one at the Assembly Rooms, Harrison Road, provided by Mr. Prest of the Griffin Hotel, and one at the Wheat Sheaf, Mount Pellon, where the luncheon was provided by Mrs. Blackburn. This is one indication which shows how the times have changed, for it appears that the reception at the Assembly Rooms was for the upper class, whilst the one at the Wheat Sheaf was for the more humble classes, as they were called in those days.
The Church Grows
There was no lighting in the Church at the beginning, but occasionally oil lamps were borrowed for special services. It appears that evensong was held in the afternoon in Winter; the Church consisted at that time of a Nave, Chancel, Vestry and South Aisle. The Pulpit which was made of stone with a canopy of the same material was placed in the North East corner of the Nave and was entered from the Vestry behind.
The Church continued at Pellon to grow and it was during the Ministry of the Rev. Quainton that it became quite clear that the Church was becoming too small for its growing needs. Mr. Quainton then opened a subscription list and started a Penny Fund and in 1903, when half the total cost of £3,000 had been promised, the Church was enlarged. The cornerstone of the enlargement was laid by J. S. McCrea Esq. of Warley on 13th September, 1902. A silver trowel which he used, presented to him by the architect, is in the Church safe. The enlargement consisted of the addition of the north aisle and porch; the existing Vestry was enlarged to form the present Lady Chapel underneath which two vestries were built. Most of the church was re-pewed; additions were made possible by the gifts of Oak Choir Stalls by Mr. J. H. Stott of Clay Pitts House and an Oak Pulpit by Mr. G. H. Webster.
The re-opening service after enlargement took place on St. Mark's Day, 25th April, 1903.
In 1888 the Diocese of Ripon was divided and the Diocese of Wakefield was formed of which the Deanery of Halifax became a part, and so our Parish became part of the Diocese of Wakefield. Halifax put forward strong claims to the proposed new See, for many thought that Halifax Parish Church (and this included Sir Henry Edwards) ought to be the Cathedral Church, but Wakefield seemed to have greater support. The Patronage of Mount Pellon was transferred from the Vicar of Halifax to the Bishop of Wakefield in 1897. On the 29th April, 1978 the 90th anniversary service of the forming of the new Diocese took place in the Cathedral, there were three former Bishops present, a feat at that time no other Diocese could match.
The Vicarage was erected in 1864 at a cost of £1,200 and is in the style of a typical Victorian Vicarage building, designed for a style of living which fitted in well with the standing of a Vicar in those Victorian times. In 1967 it was decided to give the Vicarage a complete overhaul at the time of arrival of the Rev. A. Wood. A modernisation programme was carried out, and on 21st February, 1968, Mr. Wood moved in to continue the work of the parish. During renovation, parish work had been carried out in the Vicar's Vestry.
Records are incomplete before 1900. The first churchwardens were Adam Lowe and Daniel Skelton. Below are recorded the names of the churchwardens from 1954.
1954 Mr. H. Mason; Mr. H. Makin.
1955 Mr. H. Makin; Mr. J. E. Blackburn.
1956-57 Mr. J. E. Blackburn; Mr. D. Drake.
1958-60 Mr. J. E. Blackburn; Mr. E. C. Nethergate.
1961-72 Mr. H. Makin; *Mr. E. C. Nethergate.
1973-74 Mr. H. Makin; Mr. E. Walton.
1975-77 Mr. E. Walton; Mr. T. R. Tyson.
1978-79 Mr. T. R. Tyson; Mr. D. Lee.
Deputy churchwardens were elected first in May, 1958, Mr. Aitchison being the first.
A record of service to the church which one can feel justly proud is the 20 years work in this office by Mr. Hubert Makin.
In 1969 Mr. John E. Blackburn was presented with a gift as a token of the church's appreciation for his life long service to the Parish of Mount Pellon, which took place after the 115th dedication evening service. The death of Mr. E. C. Nethergate was a sad blow to the fellowship at Mount Pellon, he died on December 12th, 1972. He was for 19 years Headmaster of Akroyd Place Junior School. In the address given by the Rev. A. Wood on Friday, 15th December, it was said that Edwin Nethergate's life was charged with integrity and tinged with that good wit and humour which endeared him to all our hearts, and for many could proudly say "He was my friend".
THE OLD AND THE NEW
The exact date when the schools were opened is not known, but we do know that the Rev. G. Kinnear took part in the transfer of the land. The land was the gift of Elizabeth Brooke and was known as Bark Laith Field, forming part of the farm commonly known as Killing Clough. The first entry in the school log book was made on November 3rd, 1863. We have every reason to be proud of the part played by our schools in the education of the people. They were the only form of education for the working class, and were the first in the district. The schools were built at a cost of just over £2,000. It was laid down that they were "always to be in union with and conducted according to the principle and in the furtherance of the ends and designs of the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church". The schools were managed by the officiating minister, his licensed curate, if appointed and two or more but not exceeding six property owners in the parish. The first managers were the Rev. B. Town, Samuel Webster, "Brewer", and Thomas Parkinson, "Sharebroker". In 1902 a new education act was passed by which Board Schools were abolished and in 1903 a final order determined the constitution of the schools in place of the original trust deed. It was this final order which gave the schools an aided status.
The schools at Pellon ceased to have aided status in 1950 and passed under the control of the local authority. Then having accepted controlled status in 1950 the school has maintained close links with the church, while not being a financial burden to the church. Mr. Pratley has been a Church Day School Manager continuously throughout the period (the other church manager is the Vicar by virtue of office) a record of which Mr. Pratley can justly feel proud. Further the fact that the school has now controlled status does not prevent the clergy of the parish from giving Church of England teaching to all children whose parents have requested this. The old schools had accommodation for about four hundred scholars. The Headmaster lived in the school house adjoining the school, and it was during the Headmastership 1894-1922 of Mr. Milling that this part of the school ceased to be, and became the parish room but later it became quite obvious, that the school had outlived its usefulness and on June 17th, 1977 the official opening of the replacement school at Sandbeds Road took place. This school accommodates 280 children from 5-11 years of age. It was opened by the former Headmaster Mr. H. Archer with the unveiling of a plaque in the presence of the Right Rev. Richard Hare, Bishop of Pontefract; Councillor Mrs. B. Wildsmith who gave a vote of thanks, as earlier a welcome had been given by the Chairman of the Managers the Rev. A. J. Foster. A hymn was sung, "Jesus, good above all other".
The present Headmaster is Mr. D. A. Wilkinson who was appointed in January 1976 to replace Mr. H. Archer who retired after many happy years of service at the old school, 1953 to 1975 and the later years living in hope and anticipation of the better conditions that were to come, and at last saw, on Friday, June 17th, 1977, those aspirations come true. A schools thanksgiving service to mark the retirement of Mr. Archer was held in church on June 29th, 1975.
The Sunday School
As we think of the Church at Pellon, it must be remembered that its adults of today were the children of yesterday, and the work of the Sunday School is of paramount importance to the future, and its leadership, if it is to continue and grow. Before the Day Schools were built it is said that a Sunday School was held in a room over some stables opposite the Wheatsheaf Hotel. The Sunday School is now to be seen in its new surroundings at Sand-beds Road, moving away from its previous setting at the old school on Church Lane on August 7th, 1977. There have over the years been many dedicated to this part of the church's work and none more so than Miss Trudy Milner who passed into higher service on March 23rd, 1976; she was Sunday School Superintendent and in the past had organised the Guide Company; Miss Milner gained a place in the affections of more women and girls it was said than could be counted. "In heaven", said the little girl, "there will be lots of children for Miss Milner to look after". Out of the mouths of babes… Her friends were well in attendance at the memorial service held for her on Easter Day, April 18th, 1976. The present Superintendent is Miss Audrey Mitchell who took over this work from Mrs. Sheila Lindsay who moved from the Parish in August 1978. To our older generation many names are brought to mind in the past work for Christ at Pellon, Miss Stewart, Miss May Ingham, Miss Clarice Hall, Mrs. Makin, and Arthur Pullan to mention just a few. The Sunday School Anniversary was re-started on August 28th, 1977, after a lapse of many years. At present the children attending the Sunday School number about eighty.
Pellon Community Centre
The old schools were not allowed to become redundant, on February 15th 1977 a public meeting was held in the school attended by about 150 people and from this was laid the foundation of the future Pellon and District Community Centre.
Shepherds and Pastors
At the Institution and Induction of the present Vicar A. J. Foster on February 5th, 1974, Bishop Eric Treacy, in his address, paid tribute to the fine service that past incumbents had given to this parish of Mount Pellon, and was in no doubt that this would continue to be so, and we also thank God for their wives, whose support has always been invaluable.
REV. GEORGE KINNEAR, M.A., 1854-1862
REV. BENJAMIN TOWN 1862-1900
THE REV. CECIL SAMUEL QUAINTON, M.A. 1900-1909
THE REV. CAMPBELL R. HONE, M.A., 1909-1916
THE REV. GEORGE AUGUSTUS VIVIAN FLOWER, M.A. 1916-1921
THE REV. DOUGLAS WALKER SCOTT, M.A. 1921-1936
THE REV. REGINALD GILBERT CLARKE, M.A. 1936-1945
THE REV. JOSEPH WILLIAM GRAY, L.Th., 1945-1967
THE REV. ARNOLD WOOD, 1967-1973
THE REV. HUBERT MAKIN, B.A., A.C.P.
THE REV. A. J. FOSTER, M.A., 1974 - 1992
THE REV. T. MAYFIELD, 1992 - 2003
The Playing of the Merry Organ,
Sweet Singing in the Choir
Life is nothing without music, so the saying goes, and certainly the worship at Pellon would have been that less richer without the musical ability and high standards set by its succeeding choirmasters and organists, coupled with a strong sense of duty from its faithful members. The record of Mr. Frank Brook bears this out, being a faithful member for fifty-six years 1909-1965 and who died on 19th April 1965. A memorial to him can be seen in the choir stalls. There are members of the choir who have given many years of service, and are still dedicated to the Church, to whom we owe so much. Mr. Arthur Pratley has served continually for forty years, Mr. Ernest Jennings can also total over fifty happy years at Pellon. Mr. Percy Stott was organist and choirmaster for forty-seven years from 1907-1955, and died on the 17th February 1956. Our present organist, Mrs. Jessie Clegg, was appointed in 1967 and has continued in the high standard set by her predecessors, and in 1978 Mrs. Clegg secured an able deputy in Miss Sandra Clayton. In recent years the families of the Humes, Waltons and the Smiths; the latter who are now serving the choir are examples of three children coming from one family. Mrs. Juliet Foster was instrumental in seeing that part of the choir was turned out smartly in their newly made surplices and ruffles for a concert given in aid of choir robes, in December 1974, and time has been given gladly by the mistress of the robes, Mrs. Olive King, and the laundry ladies, Mrs. Holdsworth and Mrs. Swift. After the Christmas Concert in 1974, offering an appreciation of their past services, Mr. Makin said that here was a choir that the people of Christ Church could be proud of, but surely take for granted week by week.
We know very little about the choir before 1900 but before Mr. Stott was appointed a Mr. Moore was organist and choirmaster.
1907-1942 Mr. Percy Stott
1955-1962 Mr. Neville Crossley
1962-1963 Mr. G. Seaman
1964-1966 Mr. Twitchen
1966-1967 Mr. Johnson
1967- Mrs. Jessie Clegg
Miss Alice Goodwin has deputised on many occasions. Also in the Rev. Gray's ministry the curate, Mr. Inman, and Mr. John Broadhead were both choirmasters for a time.
PRESENT MEMBERS OF THE CHOIR
Sopranos: Mrs. K. B. Lee, Mrs. N. Parkinson, Mrs. M. Pullan, Mrs. I. Clifford, Miss J. Wright.
Contraltos: Mrs. L. Pratley, Mrs. V. Jennings.
Tenors: Mr. A. Pratley, Mr. H. Clegg, Mr. P. Walton.
Bass: Mr. E. Jennings, Mr. A. Kershaw, Mr. A. Pullan.
Juniors: Kevin Lord, Christopher Lever, Richard Smith, Jeanette Edon, Amanda Crabtree, Caroline Smith, Elizabeth Pickard, Jayne Tiffany, Jane Wright.
The first organ was installed in 1877 at a cost of £363. Before this the music was probably provided by a harmonium, but at the beginning we do know that the choir sang without musical accompaniment. In 1911 an appeal was launched for a new water driven organ at a cost of £450. This, the present organ, was installed and dedicated in 1914. In 1947 an electric blower was installed. The church council in September 1966 received an estimate from the builders of the organ, Peter Conachers Ltd., Huddersfield, stating that £824 would be needed to repair and restore the organ, but nothing further was to become of this. But at a meeting of the P.C.C. in early 1978 a recommendation was approved to seek further estimates for the replacement of the organ bellows and a complete overhaul of our church organ, which on present day costs could well be in the region of £4,500.
The church supports the missionary work with 10% of its annual income and this in 1977 amounted to £320. House to house visitations, the meetings in people's homes, special services in church and the open-air, have all been used to reach out to the people of the Parish. The church has also had links in the past with Pakistan in the Rev. John Garden, C.M.S., who on a three day visit to Pellon in October 1969 was the preacher at the Young Wives' Deanery Meeting, and in 1974 the Parish established a link with Margaret Ford in Uganda, who later in the year paid Christ Church a visit on the 12th September. Margaret at one time was secretary to the martyred Archbishop Janani Luwum, whose death was a tragic loss to the Church in Uganda, a troubled country which Pellon's present Vicar and his wife know only too well. And a welcome visitor to the Parish from Uganda late in 1974 was the Rev. Geresom Ilukor who made many friends during his six weeks' stay at the Vicarage. He later had to return to be enthroned Bishop of Soroti on 1st February 1976. Christ Church has played its part in the Christian Aid door-to-door collections under the direction of Mr. Dennis Lever which in 1978 resulted in a splendid total of £104, with many more offering to do this vital work. In Holy Week 1973 the "Call to the North" came, and Christ Church was not found wanting. The Church of Pellon looks forward to September 1980 with a visit from a team of students from Ridley Hall, Cambridge, to conduct and the Church to support a Parish Mission.
St Aidan's Mission, Wainstalls
St. Aidan's was originally in the Parish of Luddenden and was transferred to our Parish in 1926. The building called "Kell" has been used for many purposes. In March 1955 Messrs. Calverts offered the building to the church and the P.C.C. accepted gratefully. It flourished for many years until 1969 when the Wainstalls committee were told that £400 repairs were needed. The Sunday School had been closed earlier and the building eventually sold. The few remaining scholars were transferred to Pellon in 1965. The small congregation continued monthly services at the home of Miss Maud Kemp at Lower Slack until 1974 when Miss Kemp suffered a severe stroke. Sometimes services were held also at the Misses Mitchells, Rough Hall Lane. The churchwarden for many years at St. Aidan's was Mr. William Murgatroyd, who celebrated his hundredth birthday on September 30th, 1968. Another prominent worker at the Mission besides the Misses Mitchell was their organist and teacher. Miss Alice Goodwin, who has served Pellon well over many years. To accommodate our friends from Wainstalls, the times of the morning service were changed in May 1969 to coincide with the local bus times, thus enabling worshippers to attend their mother church on time.
St. Peter's, Wheatley
This Mission was built in 1906 at a cost of £310 largely through the efforts of the Rev. Quainton and Captain Barnett. The Church Army appointed Captain Barnett in 1903 to this Parish, and his main work was to be at this Mission. In the years following Church Army Captains who came to Pellon were noted for their evangelistic fervour, down in the Wheatley Valley. But eventually the Mission was transferred to Ovenden St. George's, and no more Army Captains were appointed.
In addition to legacies the church has been grateful for the regular week by week giving, which has always been generous. In the late 1950s and early 60s many of our churches had Christian Stewardship campaigns to put church finances on a firmer basis. Some churches employed professional fund-raisers, and it was at a P.C.C. meeting in December 1960 that two schemes were presented and studies of their merits, namely "Planned Giving Limited" and the "Wells Scheme" resulted in the latter receiving most support. So Christ Church employed the Wells Organisation and in April 1961 their agent directed the campaign from the Parish Office (The Vestries). Several of our ladies as hostesses delivered invitations to all those families with any connection with the church to the Loyalty Dinner, which was held in the Alexandra Hall. At this dinner the Appeal was launched and each family received a brochure setting out the aim and target, together with photographs of our church's life.
The following week it was the turn of the men to visit each family and collect the pledge forms - pledges of time, talents and money. At the end of the campaign a Supper was held for the workers at which the total money pledged was announced. Renewal Campaigns have been held on much more modified lines in 1973 and 1975, some pledges have lapsed, new ones have been added. In 1978 there are about one hundred and seventy-five members pledging week by week. The previous year planned giving had produced £2,415 with the loose collections at £434.
Examples of the rising costs affecting the church can be compared: when in 1959 it cost £16 a week to run the church, a figure is estimated for 1979 of around £80. The diocesan quota in 1976 was £671, 1977 £799, and 1978 £1,088.
Before the Wells Scheme came into operation it was preceded by "A new free will offering scheme" with a membership of 300. This started on October 7th, 1956, and the fellowship was asked to contribute 6d. (2½p) per week to be placed in the Wall Box just inside the church door and to be exclusive of normal giving; by early 1957 it was recorded that £73 had been forthcoming. For a
number of years Mrs. Kershaw was the secretary. The present stewardship recorder is Mr. E. Walton, a former churchwarden. Mr. D. Drake has been the P.C.C. treasurer for some years and has always kept a watchful eye on the church's purse strings.
May God continue to give us His blessing, and may we exercise our stewardship aright.
Freely you have received, freely give
Legacies and other gifts have over the years been received, for which gratitude can continue to be expressed, for many of them are still benefiting the church today. One has only to look around the church to see the many tangible results of the people's generosity towards Christ Church through the years. It is impossible within the scope of these pages to record all the many fine gifts made. But the following are a few, not shown elsewhere in this book.
The beautiful East Window (subject: The Good Shepherd) was erected by the Parishioners in memory of the Rev. Kinnear.
The windows in the Lady Chapel were given by the Asquith family connected with the firm William Asquith Ltd.
The West Window was installed in 1911, having as its subject The "Te Deum". This was the gift of Clara Ellen Stott in memory of her husband, Mr. Stott, a former Churchwarden. Only two windows like this exist in Yorkshire, the other being at the Haworth (Bronte) Parish Church.
A Peel of Bells by John Gott, Esq.
The Clock by Mrs. Gott.
Carpets from John Crossley and Sons.
1944-The house at 33 North View and £400 by Mr. Harry Turner in memory of his father and mother.
Lady Chapel Enclosure Screen by Misses Drake.
The Font made and given by stonemason Henry Pratt.
GIFTS AFTER 1954 MAINLY USED FOR RESTORATION
Mrs. Mary Hanson, £800.
Clarice Rushworth, £943.
Mr. Herman Harris, £500.
Mr. Michael Turner, £500.
The Young Wives who raised £203 from a Good as New Sale.
Mr. Holdsworth, who repaired our church roof, gave half the cost.
St. John's, Warley, £25.
Mrs. Pumphrey, wife of a past curate at Pellon, £50.
£50 from the children, who also played their part.
Tracy Hellowell for signatures on her plaster cast, £2.23.
Mr. and Mrs. H. Mason, Golden Wedding Anniversary: red altar frontal and cope in 1970.
£250 to be invested, to provide flowers for the altar, from the will of Miss Kathleen Fisher.
The weekly gifts of money over the years have ensured that the church is always nicely decorated with flowers and these gifts have been much appreciated, not the least by Mrs. Knowles and her lady helpers, who have for many years laboured well.
Over the past 25 years, since the centenary, our church, like many others, has been savaged by a combination of our inclement Northern climate, industrial pollution and general dilapidation.
The parochial records indicate several outbreaks of dry rot, dating back as far as 1950, but becoming increasingly more evident in the 60's. The Lady Chapel, Vestry, Tower, Organ Loft and in later years the North and South Aisles have all been affected. Each time work was done to combat the problem only to find later that it had manifested itself somewhere else.
A combination of circumstances was probably the root cause, the primary being lack of funds to effect proper and lasting repairs to the main fabric of the building to prevent the ingress of water and damp.
In the meantime the repairs carried out left their visible scars - patches of new plaster, discolouration of the decor, unpainted timbers, etc., leaving our church looking somewhat the worse for wear.
Early in 1975 we had the Quinquennial Inspection by the Wakefield Diocesan Architect and a consequent ten page report on the church fabric, itemising 37 points on a schedule of repairs, most of a minor nature but some requiring the most urgent action, involving once again an outbreak of dry rot in the structural timbers.
It was felt at this time that the previous efforts under strictly limited resources had been of little avail and that concerted plans and action would be the order of the day. Best estimates indicated that it would cost in the region of £15,000 to effect all the repairs and redecorate. This would include a tremendous amount of voluntary effort by the members of the church. Of course £15,000 was beyond the limited finances of our church. Therefore, like other churches, it was decided to embark on a Restoration Appeal and a Fabric Maintenance Committee to formulate and action the repairs involved.
The inaugural meeting of the Fabric Maintenance Committee was held on the 16th June, 1975, when the Inspection report was studied in detail and a long term strategy was formulated, categorising the repairs in order of priority. The immediate priority was to make the fabric of the building 'waterproof' and provide suitable means of disposing of the rainwater. At this stage we were very fortunate to have the expert technical advice of Dennis Holdsworth, who was responsible for the major roof repairs carried out most speedily and effectively, whilst the more labour intensive and less skill demanding work of digging drains and soak-aways was done by our willing band of volunteers.
In the meanwhile, an Appeals Sub-Committee was organised under the chairmanship of Mr. Archer, late Headmaster of the day school, with the prime function of fund raising. An immediate appeal was launched covering Parishioners, active and non-active, local companies and businesses. Various sections of the church harnessed their talents running Gift Days, Good as New Shop, Parish Plot, Organ Recitals, Auctions, etc. Stationery, ball point pens, Christmas hampers were sold, and after coverage in the local Press and through the appeal leaflet, we were fortunate to receive many donations and legacies. In fact such have been the efforts of everyone concerned that it is gratifying to report that in the four years our Appeal has been running, we have always been able to plan our restoration activities without ever going into the red.
To illustrate the extent of the Restoration finances, the following is a summary of income and expenditure up to the time of writing:-
Garden Parties … … … … … £700
Gifts Days … … … … … £415
Other special fund raising activities … … £720
Donations … … … … … £4375
Bequests … … … … … £1450
Manpower Services Commission Grant … … £2000
Roof repairs, Guttering and Drains … … £2650
Gas Boiler Installation … … … … £1950
Roof Insulation … … … … … £1010
Decorating Materials … … … … £250
Miscellaneous Repairs … … … … £585
Job Creation Materials and Scaffolding … … £530
Job Creation Salaries … … … … £1830
Sundries … … … … … £350
One of the early major projects was the installation of a new gas boiler. Whilst initially, we had teething troubles with the heating system, we have now a far warmer church for our services at a more economical cost. Coupled with this, to increase the efficiency, we have covered the underside of the roof with insulation material and lagged all the pipes under the crypt.
Having spent 1975 on the roof repairs, guttering, downpipes and drainage system, 1976 saw the restoration team completing external building work by replacing the west porch roof, re-covering the boiler house roof, repairs to the sanctuary windows and damp proofiing the Vestry walls.
Satisfying ourselves that all possible had been done to make the church fabric sound, early 1977 saw materials and tooling purchased for the roof insulation and in early March work commenced in the South Aisle and progress was very slow; conservative estimates at the time indicated it would take us at least two years to complete.
At this stage divine providence played a part in the form of the Manpower Services Commission's Job Creation Scheme for the local unemployed. We were successful in our application for a grant for £2000 to cover the employment of four unemployed tradesmen to undertake the work of roof insulation and re-decorating and part cost towards hire of scaffolding. This had the effect of reducing our estimated two years part-time work down to three months of full-time work. So our church became employers for a period with all the problems that go with employment of labour these days. Mr. Foster had what can only be described as a crash course on man management and held the workforce together long enough to see the job completed.
1978 saw the team undertake to re-bed the top stones and re-point the boundary walls in Church Lane, repair the pews, stain and re-varnish and clean and re-polish the altar, sanctuary panelling and reredos.
Having now reached the point where our church is nearing the end of the original restoration programme, it would now be prudent to work on a regular inspection of the fabric and tackle jobs as they become apparent. It is therefore essential that we work towards a healthy Restoration reserve fund for the future to further promote our church as a focal point of the Parish of Pellon.
It would be very appropriate at this time to acknowledge the work that has been done over the past four years, and I would like to put on record my thanks to Arthur Pratley, woodworker par excellence; Tony Dobbing, jack of all trades; Dennis Holdsworth, technical adviser and use of specialised equipment; John Marshall, loyalty and dedication to seeing a job well done during the roof insulation and decorating; Douglas Drake and Peter Swift for handling the finances; Mr. Archer, Chairman of the Appeals; Ray Tyson, Derrick Lee, Eddie Walton and Ernest Robinson, always there when there was a job to do; and all others who have contributed in some way, either in time, talent or by generous donation. Last but by no means least, our Vicar, the Reverend A. J. Foster, who has always been to the forefront and whose faith and enthusiasm have been an inspiration to us all.
J. B. KITCHEN
Chairman, Fabric Maintenance
25 Years On
WE LOVE THIS PLACE O GOD
As the church approached the coming of the first century of its history plans were made to celebrate, and rightly so. Invitations were sent out to past incumbents to rejoin the fellowship that once they knew. A centenary dinner in the school was arranged, tickets 10/- (50p) each, and not forgetting something for the younger members a carnival dance, also at the school, took place, dancing to the "Rhythm Four", admission 3/- (15p) including your supper. And the young people were not slow to respond to the church's appeal for £1,500 to decorate the church; an appeal that was launched in July 1952. At the Sunday School Gala on the 14th August 1954, a procession took place round the Parish led by the cross bearers and servers, and played along by the Elland Brass Band, in this their effort to help reach the target. But as the early years unfolded the hidden problems were beginning to emerge which in time were to try and force a permanent feature on the church at Pellon, a Church that many loved so well. For many will recall the words of Mr. Wood in September 1971: "Saddened though we might be by another era of dry rot, I know we do not lose heart, but meet the situation with Christian fortitude," words that were to be echoed by the present Vicar some years later.
But the business of the church has to go on, and during the next 25 years the P.C.C. were to meet and accept new forms of worship; series 2 Communion in April 1968 and series 3 in February 1973, and ordination of women was presented and discussed. The formation of these, new Synods, Diocesan and Central, were to give the Laity more say in the working of its own church government, and this was welcomed at Pellon.
An appreciation was given in May 1970 to Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Hey, for they had represented Christ Church at the old Diocesan conferences over a good number of years and had held the positions of Editor and Secretary of the church magazines for 31 years. They also have the proud distinction of being the longest serving married couple at our Church.
The church provides an excellent news media in the form of its monthly magazine and it is delivered to many homes in the Parish through the many hard working distributors, the circulation now standing at about 450 copies per month which truly can be said to be a "window" of the church's life.
Pellon can boast its friendship with its neighbouring churches, for the first joint Ascension Day Service was held at Christ Church in 1946, and has been held every year since.
To meet the needs of many church people and its aim to serve those outside, a community caring centre was opened at the Pellon Baptist Church in September 1969, and members at Christ Church were soon to play their part.
The advent of women's equality also saw at the A.G.M. in 1972, the election of the first women to take up the duties of the office of sideswomen. The first elected were Mrs. Greenwood, Mrs. Kirby, Mrs. Nethergate and Miss Audrey Mitchell.
Many over the past years have made use of their Parish Church. In retrospect, our church records show that over ten years, 1968 to 1978, four hundred and nineteen have been baptised into the family of God at Christ Church, a few of those being adults, two hundred and seventy girls, and two hundred and twelve boys. This service is now being administered in the morning for all the congregation to support, a policy that was brought in through a new church measure and endorsed by the P.C.C. on June 24th, 1970. Biblical names are still a good preference of parents, with James and Andrew, Rachel, being the most popular. The clergy have had the pleasant duty of solemnizing two hundred and eighty-nine weddings at Mount Pellon in these ten years.
After being in existence since 1919 the old Electoral Roll system came to an end and the new roll to last only six years came into being in the Spring of 1972, this enabling the dead wood to be removed, and thus the new rolls become more realistic. The present roll now numbers exactly two hundred members, the Electoral Roll Officer in charge being Mrs. Hazel Whittell.
In the 125 years history at Pellon, the event that will be remembered for years to come must surely be the Ordination Service that took place on the 24th September 1978, a proud moment for Mr. Makin and the church, when he was ordained Deacon by the Bishop of Pontefract Richard Hare, M.A., assisted by the Archdeacon of Halifax the Venerable J. R. Alford, M.A. A new service for ordaining Deacons was used for the first time here at Pellon.
In this day and age, we thank God that at Pellon there have been, and still are Christians who are prepared to build up and conserve the faith for future generations, to be able to say: "We love this place, O God."
Church Organisations Past and Present
At the beginning of the century there was in this parish a Ladies Bible Class which used to meet weekly. From this meeting a branch of the Mothers' Union was formed. 1976 was the year of the Centenary of the world wide fellowship of the Mothers' Union, and it also marked the 70th year of our branch beginning in 1906. This event was celebrated by a special tea and birthday cake, and followed by Evensong in Church on Sunday, 5th September. Some of us attended the special centenary service in Wakefield Cathedral. Some took part in the deanery pageant held at the Parish Church on Lady Day.
Events which are outstanding in the last 25 years are the dedication of the banner, the commissioning of our then enrolling member, Mrs Gray, and presiding member of the deanery, the day when along with the Young Wives we won the Diocesan Speaker's Trophy, and the successful outcome for us in the Bible quiz with St. Augustine's. - A. Goodwin.
CHURCH OF ENGLAND MEN'S SOCIETY
After a lapse of over twenty years, a branch of the C.E.M.S. was re-started in January 1946 on the foundation of an existing men's fellowship under the leadership of Mr. Gray with Mr. Leslie Hey as secretary. At its monthly meeting members have learned much through speakers, discussions, debates and questions, at the same time rendering notable service to our church in many ways. Mr. Gray has served the society for many years as the Diocesan Secretary. A notable loss to the society in 1976 and to his many friends was Mr. Irvine Broscombe, a man whom our president, the Vicar, described as having served his Lord well in many ways.
YOUNG WIVES' GROUP
This group was formed from a meeting held at the Vicarage on 23rd April 1958 and chaired by Mrs. Gray. There were seventeen young women present who were said to be temporarily released from their domestic duties. The group has helped the church to raise much needed funds over the past years and in addition has played its part in the church's fellowship.
WOMEN'S EVENING FELLOWSHIP
The inaugural meeting of the W.E.F. was called on the 3rd January 1968 to cater for women who do not feel able to join the Mothers' Union and have yet ceased to be Young Wives. Its membership now consists of about 18 ladies. Interesting meetings are held on most Tuesday evenings monthly throughout the year. The present secretary is Mrs. Phyllis Fawcett.
THE YOUTH GROUP
A Youth Group was formed in 1935 by the Rev. D. W. Scott. Its main purpose was to provide religious instruction and discussion for those over fifteen years of age. Other activities were also presented. A group was formed by the Rev. A. Wood in 1969 but to be replaced later in 1974 by the Pathfinder movement.
The Pathfinders were started in September 1974 by the Rev. Foster to cater for the 11-15 year olds. It is a lively movement within the Anglican Church under the Church Pastoral Aid Society. The present leaders are Miss Sandra Clayton and Mr. Michael Smith. Two of its members were responsible for making the new banner which was dedicated in church on 26th November 1978. The group now consists of about seventeen members.
THE 47th HALIFAX CHRIST CHURCH SCOUT GROUP AND CUBS
In 1979 Scouting at Pellon celebrated its first 50 years. Both the troop and the pack were founded by Mr. Frank Foster, of St. Hilda's group, in 1929. The present group scout and cub leaders are Mr. and Mrs. B. Lockwood, and scout leader Mr. K. Gill. Many trophies have been won over the years and credit must be given to the dedicated work of its present and past leaders. An appeal for new equipment was achieved, from a sponsored walk and Garden Party in 1970, which realised £275. Mr. Clive Collingwood served the movement well for 18 years before leaving the district in 1971. The present Churchwarden, Mr. Tyson, retired as scout leader in late 1973 after many years' service. Mr. Edward Walton has also had many years of past scouting to his credit at Pellon, shared by his wife Mavis who was District Commissioner for Cubs up to resigning active service about eight years ago. The number of scouts at the moment are but a few and on these the present leaders hope to build. The Cubs pack number at present is twenty-nine. The scouting is backed by a small band of dedicated people who form the group known as the "Scout Supporters Association", who meet once a month to discuss ways of furthering the aims of scouting at Pellon. The present officers in charge are Mrs. Carol Lord and Mrs. Hazel Whittell.
1st PELLON GUIDE AND BROWNIE PACK
The Guide Company was inaugurated in the autumn of 1929 under the leadership of Miss L. Speechly and Miss N. Fisher, and a short time afterwards the Brownie Pack was started. In October 1930 the colours presented by Mrs. F. C. Whittaker were dedicated. Past Guiders for the company Miss T. Milner and Mrs Hilda Makin have given stalwart service, and the present leader is Mrs Kathleen Sharman. The Unit now numbers eighteen. The Brownie Pack has been ably led for many years by Miss Audrey Mitchell and Miss Marjorie Mitchell, and lately gaining her leader's certificate was Mrs. Joan Middleton. They have held many interesting activities and the Pack always shows a waiting list for new members. The Pack now consists of 24 lively Brownies.
A Diary of Past Events
1854 The Battle of Balaclava was fought on the 25th October, two days before Christ Church was consecrated. This battle will always be remembered for the heroic "Charge of the Light Brigade", which Tennyson immortalised in his poem.
1905 24th August. The Rev. C. S. Quainton captained Clergy cricket team against Police eleven. Police team no match for the lively gospellers, so Chief Constable Richardson said; accused clergy of showing no mercy.
1912 Resolution passed by church council admitting both sexes, but no record of any women on council until 1917.
1913 13th July. Big demonstration against Disestablishment of Church in Wales, protest in Huddersfield. Pellon play their part in march up Spring Hall Lane and down Gibbet Street, joined by other churches en route to the old station.
1918 Appeal for £500 for restoration of church, and memorial screen erected for the men of Pellon who gave their lives during the War.
1954 Church receives Additional Curates Grant of £35 per annum.
1956 Resignation of Mr. Veal as Verger. No replacement until the appointment of Mr. Ernest Robinson in April 1977.
1959 June 14th. Gift of Lectern Bible by Dr. Doris Boon in memory of her father, Dr. James E. Boon, said to be the first man in England to broadcast a sermon, 30th July 1922.
1960 Mr. Arthur Pullan becomes P.C.C. Secretary.
1963 New graves to be restricted to parishioners. Only thirty spaces left. No new graves have been dug since 1973. There have been approximately 10,000 burials in Christ Church graveyards.
1967 Agreement reached between the P.C.C. and the local Education Authority for the Parish Room to be used as a Staff Room during the day-time.
1969 Sale of North View for £1,500. No chance of a Curate.
1971 £400 raised from Walk and Garden Party in aid of Holy Trinity Secondary School development. Investment to provide £25 per annum for forty years. Total Christ Church contribution after forty years £1,000.
1973 August 16th-19th. Flower, Music and Arts Festival held at Pellon. Church re-wired from legacy. P.C.C. choose new system of lighting, saving on wattage from previous 5,900 watts to 2,900.
1974 Mrs. Sally Kershaw retires from the P.C.C. after serving since 1943.
1975 February 2nd: Mr. Makin presented with a B.A. Hood by the P.C.C. - June 9th: Mr. J. B. Kitchen appointed Restoration Chairman, Mr. P. Swift Appeals Treasurer and Mr. Archer Appeals Chairman. - August 31st: Historic united service at Mount Pleasant Chapel, Wainstalls, since closure of St Aidan's Mission.
1977 November: Ten propositions on Christian Unity. P.C.C. vote and accept them all.
1978 January: Book of Remembrance placed in Lady Chapel. Gift of Mrs. E. Knowles and inscribed by Mr. T. Dinsdale.
"Do you remember?"
Some local events 25 years ago
January 2nd: Halifax reported a "fully" employed town.
May 27th: Meeting at Sowerby Bridge votes against Sunday cinemas.
July 3rd: End of meat rationing.
August 30th: Halifax Bus Station at Cross Field becomes operational.
August 31st: Closure of last pawnbroker's shop in Halifax.
What a joy and privilege it is for me to commend this booklet, for which our thanks are mainly due to Mr. Derrick Lee. In 1954, the Centenary of Christ Church Mount Pellon was celebrated. 1979, 25 years later, is a very appropriate time to look back in thanksgiving, and to look forward in faith. We thank God for all those who have been faithful in their love for Christ and their worship in His Church. We thank God for the ministries of Mr. and Mrs. Gray, and Mr. and Mrs. Wood. We are deeply thankful for the ministry of our Churchwardens, and for the caring and loving work of the leaders of the various organizations. Some of these people are happily still with us. Others have departed this life to be with Christ, which as St. Paul says, is far better. I personally thank God for the past five years, during which my wife and I and the children have made many Christian friends in the Parish.
As we look forward in faith, what should we hope for and expect? I believe we should be constant in our prayers that God will fill our Church with worshippers once again. (Otherwise why has God allowed us to restore our Church?) I believe we should be unyielding in our determination to go all out to win others for Christ and His Kingdom. If we put worship, mission and service as our priorities, then we can be sure that our God will bless us for the next 25 years.
May I end by inviting all our many friends to our special celebrations for 1979, and especially to our Festival Week in June.
My thanks go to Miss Goodwin for her help in compiling this book. Also to the Rev. A. J. Foster, to Mr. Dennis Lever for the excellent photographs and to the Rev. Hubert Makin for his past centenary research.