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CHAPTER  17
KING'S HALL, PART 2:  POST-1950

After the building was destroyed in 1941, a live witness was carried on by a band of faithful members in two small rooms. These rooms were repaired and redecorated for the use of the Sunday School and the Youth Club.

For many years after the desolation it seemed a forlorn hope that any rebuilding could be contemplated, but the possibility never left the minds of those who had faithfully struggled through such testing times. They envisaged a complete set of new premises which would continue to serve the neighbourhood as the previous King's Hall had done, and there was much rejoicing when approval was given in 1950, the plans were drawn up, preliminary preparations made, and building commenced at the end of the year. The scheme was to be accomplished in two stages, the first part to consist of a large hall and the second to include a church above the hall and three shops facing St. Ann's Well Road. The total cost of the scheme was estimated to be £14,000. Of this, £4,900 came from the War Damage Commission. Members of the church and the Nottingham Methodist Mission Circuit worked to raise the rest.

Although the plans had been passed, the local Town Planning Committee had agreed the scheme and the Chapel Committee had given its approval, but unfortunately the Government would not grant a licence due to post-war building restrictions.

Bernard G. Walkland had originally come to Nottingham as a friend of Rev. Ken Waights. Mr. Waights, as the Superintendent Minister of the Circuit, put him in charge of the youth work at King's Hall.  At that time he was a local preacher and intent on candidating for the Ministry. In August 1950 he left to take up his ministry at Stoke-on-Trent. At his farewell meeting many expressions of gratitude for his service to the young folk at King's Hall were voiced.

During the time that the accommodation at King's Hall had been very limited it was rewarding for the Sunday School to share the Sycamore Road Sunday School premises. The Sycamore Road Chapel members joined in the King's Hall services. What used to be Sycamore Road was later called Hungerhill Road. The site of the Sycamore Road Chapel is now [April 1997] Auto Repairs. Before its closure, Sycamore Road Chapel was in the Central Circuit along with Parliament Street. The Rev. Ezra Sellers was the Superintendent at Parliament Street at the time.

By January 1951 the building of the new church had commenced. Conditions had been very difficult over the past few years, but on Thursday 21 June 1951, ten years after the King's Hall was burnt out by incendiary bombs, a new hall was opened which had been built in the shell of the old church. The weather was sunny and warm and, long before the advertised time, crowds gathered outside the Church shepherded by the police. After the singing of a hymn which must have roused the neighbourhood and a brief prayer from the Rev. E. Sellers, Lady Belper very graciously opened the door and led the way into the re-constructed building. The crowd which had been outside for the opening devotions then filled the new hall for the service of dedication. Every seat was taken, extra seats had to be brought in and other folk stood by the walls or in the entrance. A former minister of King's Hall, Rev. G.H.Taylor, M.A., B.D., Chairman of the Liverpool District, conducted the Dedication Service and preached on "A day in a thousand".  After tea in the headquarters of the East Nottingham Boys' Club, Northampton Street, music was provided in the Hall by pupils of the Clovella School of Music. Rev. R.K. Ross brought greetings from the Congregational Church. A message of love and sympathy was sent to the Rev. G.E. Allcock, who could not be present through illness.

A loudspeaker at the evening rally relayed the service to passers-by and those who gathered outside the church. The chairman was Mr. J.A.Stead, of Sheffield, ex Vice-President of the Methodist Conference. The speakers were Rev. G.H. Taylor, who recalled his early ministry in this Church and urged the congregation to vision, action and enthusiasm. Rev. Sam Rawley led in prayer and a much appreciated greeting from St. Ann's Church was given by the Rev. J. Smith in the unavoidable absence of the Vicar (Rev. R.T. Little). Mr. Bernard Mellows enriched the meeting with two beautiful solos accompanied by Mr. Gough.  Mr. Wyer brought best wishes from the Circuit and Messrs. Thompson and Farrington gave thanks to all on behalf of King's Hall. The architect, Mr. Thraves and the builder, Mr. Richardson, were complimented on the style and quality of the work done.


Fifty years since the second building began


Youth Club outing circa 1950


Unlocking the door
From left to right: Mr L A Thraves LRIBA (Architect),
Lady Belper, Miss Anthea Watterson,
Rev K L Waights, Rev E Sellers and Rev G H Taylor MA, BD.
King's Hall: re-opening 21 June 1951


  Rev. George E. Allcock


The organ, left-hand corner of the church

King's Hall before it closed
Kings Hall
 

The new hall which was the first part of the rebuilding scheme was light  and  spacious, had a pale blue  and  cream colour scheme and light oak pillars and  furnishings.   The stage could be shut off by curtains to transform the hall into a church. This new hall was the size of the original church but not so lofty.

On 30 September 1951 Rev. E. Sellers conducted the dedication service for the new Christening Font, given by Mr. Horne in memory of his late wife.

Rev. George Allcock, who had been invited to take part in the service but due to illness was unable to do so, died later in the year. His loss was keenly felt by the members of King's Hall, as indeed it must have been by all the Churches where he had ministered.  He had become a Supernumerary in 1939. When a minister was needed to carry on the work at King's during the war, he was very willing to fill the gap.  His ministry of four years was a very happy and blessed one. His outstanding gift of friendship soon drew the Church together in a bond of happy fellowship. His preaching was full of humour, lit by apt illustrations and full, ripe experience. During his ministry at King's Hall, Rev. George E. Allcock never doubted that the Church would be re-built and the new Hall was a striking testimony to his faith. The Trustees installed a memorial plaque in the present building. Later, a room was named after him.

On Saturday 22 March 1952 two of the Sunday School workers, Mr. S. Taylor and Miss F. Bowring, were married at King's Hall. The Church was filled to capacity, the service was conducted by Rev. B.G. Walkland and the weather was unusually kind. The reception was held in the Congregational Schoolroom where one hundred and thirty-two guests sat down to an excellent meal followed by "various games which were indulged in by the company and a good time was had by all".

At the Sunday School Anniversary on the 25 May 1952 Alderman C.C. Kirk J.P. and  Rev. E. Sellers preached at the services and Rev. K.L. Waights spoke in the afternoon.

A new venture was tried on 8 June 1952 when the first Primary Anniversary was held. Many parents and friends came to see and hear the little ones. The address was given by an old friend, Rev. T.A. Kidd.

Mr. C.L. Gough, Organist and Choirmaster, lived at "Rookwood", Foxhill Road, Thorneywood, Nottingham. As an example of the successful special musical services on Sunday evenings there were two in December 1952: 7 December, Choir of the Guilford Secondary School for Girls conducted by Miss K.J. Alvey and 21 December, Choir of the Trent Bridge Secondary School for Girls (Carol Service) conducted by Mrs. E.E. Smith.

Until 1953 a reed organ, brought from Sycamore Road Chapel, had been in regular use for many years, but when the opportunity arose for having a pipe organ it was eagerly accepted. Through the generosity of the Johnston Yapp Trust, an order was given to Henry Willis & Sons Ltd. for a two-manual instrument. It was eventually installed in the Hall and dedicated by Rev. J. Lewis Gillians on Thursday 8 January 1953 after it had been opened by Mrs. T. Pearson.  Mr. L. Gordon Thorp gave a recital which ably demonstrated the excellent qualities of an organ which has become greatly admired by music lovers in the city. Many recitals were later given on it by gifted musicians.

By February 1953 the church had a Brownie pack with a membership of forty and the Youth Club was going from strength to strength under the leadership of Mr. Arthur Watterson. Church meetings, visiting and other activities were now taking place and the Church with its own Minister was ready to take on the challenge of its own place of worship again.

The Youth Club had met at the Sycamore Road Chapel during the period of rebuilding but in 1954 it began to meet at the new hall.

In March 1954 it was reported that three activities had come into existence. Firstly, in order to introduce the young folk to the worship of the Church, the Order of the Morning Star, for members of the Sunday School, was started. Members of the Order had their own part in the Sunday morning service. They sat together in a group in the front of the Church.  Secondly, on Tuesday evenings, at 6.15 pm, a Class for Sunday School members was held under the leadership of Mr. Brian Ayers, a Local Preacher. The class combined Christian instruction and social activity. Thirdly, because the Church was set in a thickly populated district, the members of the Leaders' Meeting and of the Society Meeting committed themselves to house-to-house visitation of the surrounding streets in order to invite folk to join in fellowship and worship at King's Hall. It was a big job and required the help of everyone who could possibly manage it. It was something in which the whole Church could share, for in planning, as well as in visiting, it needed the blessing and guidance of God. God would then touch the life of the community through them. The Sunday School children took "Brick Cards" for collecting money so the task of raising more money was begun.

The Messenger of  May 1954 reported that a licence would be granted for the completion of the rebuilding of King's Hall.  Shops were to be built on the St. Ann's Well Road frontage and a beautiful new Church was to be built above the present hall.

Also in May a licence was granted for the rebuilding of the church itself; so the work of demolishing the old walls and the spire which had been a landmark for fifty-three years was commenced.

There was a Sunday School Anniversary at the King's Hall Mission on 13 June 1954 in which there was a procession led by the Band of the 3rd Nottingham Albert Hall Boys' Brigade. The special services were taken by Rev. Alan M. Hale.

Discussions were held about re-starting the church choir which had not met since the war and Mr. C.L. Gough promised to have one established in time for the opening of the new church. National Service still existed at this time and the church lost some of its older youngsters when they were called up.

As an indication of the cost of living at the time, The Messenger of July 1954 reported that there were two methods of payment of class money and that both amounted to roughly the same in the end.

(a)  A penny a week is paid to the Class leader (or one shilling and a penny a quarter), and a shilling is paid when the Membership Ticket is issued.

(b)  Instead of the shilling being paid when the Ticket is issued, two pence a week is paid, (or two shillings and two pence a quarter).  This money may be paid to the Class Leader either weekly, monthly, or quarterly, whichever is the most convenient.  It ought to be said that this arrangement is not a rule, it is a guide. Some members are able to give more and some less, but it is of great assistance to the Church if each gives something.

Before Rev. J. Russell Pope came to the Albert Hall as Superintendent Minister, he came to King's Hall Anniversary in 1954. The Messenger described him as "one of the most able men of the younger generation in Methodism, and all those who were able to hear him were impressed by his sermon and speech".

The manse at 30 Daisy Road, Thorneywood, was purchased in August 1954 at a cost of £1,850 for the occupation of the third Circuit minister. On Sunday 14 November 1954 Mr. Fred Garnett gave an organ recital. The soloist was Gladys Smith,  L.R.A.M.

As was noted about the previous building, the chief problem was that of money, but the Trustees were very grateful for the grants that had been made from several funds, including  those  of  the  Methodist  Connexion, the  Joseph Rank Benevolent Trust,  the Johnston Yapp Trust, and the War Damage Commission. Special efforts through the years had been arranged by all departments of the church, and members and friends had made their own personal gifts. The plan had, therefore, been achieved, although a considerable debt remained. Although some bricks were laid, the ceremony on 12 May 1956 was mainly for the unveiling of plaques erected as a tribute to these two Trusts. Mrs. L. Gordon Thorp unveiled the one to the Joseph Rank Benevolent Trust and Mr. J.R.Farrington the one to the Johnston Yapp Trust. Afterwards a service was conducted by the Rev. W. Oliver Phillipson, M.A., Secretary to the Chapel Committee.


Joseph Rank Benevolent Trust

Johnston Yapp Trust
Plaques
 

Rev. B.G. Franklin took up his ministry in the summer of 1956.

At this time, King's Hall was closely associated with Bestwood Hall Church which stood on Arnold Road, Bestwood. The King's Hall Minister was also responsible for that church. The manse where Bernard Franklin had lived was sold and, in December 1958, 11 Dean Road, Woodthorpe, was purchased at a cost of £3,250. It was part-way between the two churches.

On 28 February 1957 the second part of the rebuilding scheme was completed with the opening of the new church (the worship area) above the hall (the first part of the scheme) by Mrs. Kenneth Waights. The chief speaker was Rev. W. Russell Shearer, M.A., ex-President of the Conference and Chairman of the Birmingham District.

The church hall was reached through an entrance near the back of the building, up a broad staircase, across a crush hall and through large doors. It was simple, yet dignified. A blue carpet stretched to the front, between oak pews, to the steps leading to the communion rail and table. A real atmosphere of worship prevailed. Included in the new part of the building was the Minister's Room, the Choir Room, the Upper Room, and The Allcock Room off the crush hall. All this extra accommodation added possibilities to the development of the work.

At that time the Minister wrote: "Together we hope to see the new premises thronged with people from the neighbourhood for however great the material building, the building of the Christian Community is the supreme task". In 1958 a major campaign was organised in the area to boost interest in the church. Students from Handsworth College were used and even local pubs were visited as part of the effort.

In March 1959 Mr. A. Revill was responsible for the Sunday School and reported a constant shortage of teachers. Other work was gradually growing and there was a waiting list for the "Intermediate Club" for children over ten. The Men's Class was only just ticking over and was down to a membership of six. A dramatic fall in attendance at the Sunday School had resulted from the exceptional summer of 1959. By January 1960 a drama class was meeting on Wednesday evenings.

In 1960 Rev. B. Walkland succeeded Rev. Franklin. Unfortunately, he suffered from diabetes and this led to eye problems. Whilst a minister in his first church, Winchcombe, his sight deteriorated and in consequence he found it difficult to get another appointment. He had many friends at King's and as the Hall was looking for a new minister it was decided to ask him to come back. Bernard did not finish his time with King's Hall as he died before the end of the ministry.  He was a good preacher. His sermons were simple but to the point. Friendship was  the basis of his ministry. One outcome of his blindness, however, was that he had to enlist the help of church members with Bible readings and other contributions to the service, so that members became much more involved in the actual running of the church which had the effect of bringing something extra to his ministry.

In 1960 a significant development was the combining of the Sisterhood and the Women's Class into a meeting under the title of "Women's Fellowship".

The 1963 Annual Report stated that the past year at King's Hall had been one of increasing contact with the people who lived in its vicinity. Regular contacts were made through the distribution of news letters and leaflets, and in many ways this showed itself in the greatly increased number of weddings and baptisms and in the growing numbers of calls made upon the services offered by the Church through its Minister.

Bernard G. Walkland recorded that:

1964 included a great milestone in the life of the church at King's Hall, when the grand total of over £500 at the annual bazaar enabled us finally to clear the debt on the church, which has existed since the rebuilding.  It was a very satisfying feeling for so many people who have worked for years to see this done and for them to know that such a burden has been lifted for the future.  The next material operation is the redecoration of the church and the staircase, and this will be put into operation in the Spring.

The Contact Club has now filled the gap between the Sunday School and the older teenagers and this link between weekday and Sunday is, we believe, a vital link in integrating youngsters into the life of the Church.  Last year six young people were made members of the Church and another nine are offering themselves for membership.  The Contact Choir has added greatly to the worship of the Church.

A basement room was provided as a meeting point for young people and came under the wing of the Contact Club and was regarded as a bridge between the unchurched and the life of the Society.

The forming of a Junior Boys' Club was proved a successful innovation. There was much enthusiasm to be found there.  It was intended to provide a much-needed counter-part to the Brownies and Girl Guides.

Rev. Derek Kendrick came in September 1965. He had been a joiner and builder and was a product of Cliff College. During his ministry he put his practical skills to good effect as well as leading the church through some difficult times as re-development of St. Ann's began. St. Ann's would seem to have been made for him and he had been successful and happy in the seven-year ministry. He spent a considerable amount of his ministry building up the strong youth work of the church which included the Contact Club, Boys' Club and Junior Church.

At the time of the complete redevelopment of the St. Ann's area in the 1960s. Rev. Kendrick said:

As a church we are not standing idly by amidst the changes that are taking place. We are seeking to adapt ourselves and prepare ourselves for the challenge which the re-development of the area will present us with.

This was indeed a major challenge. Most of the houses, shops and industry around King's Hall were demolished; whole families left the area; other churches were demolished and King's Hall was left like an island in the wilderness. To ensure that it would be seen amongst the turmoil of the demolition, an illuminated sign was obtained for the exterior of the church. For a while the church was left amongst the remains of the old St. Ann's and some activities suffered a decline in numbers. Gradually, however, new people moved into the new houses and the church faced the challenge of gaining new converts for the Lord.

Faced with a massive change all round them, it was appropriate that the churches in St. Ann's worked together and with groups in the community. One outcome of this was the Ark Youth Club. This was an unstructured youth club which was situated at the junction of St. Ann's Well Road and Bath Street. King's Hall invested considerable effort in helping to make the club premises usable.

This club did a lot of good work with "unclubbable" children but it was eventually destroyed by arson, although the work continued elsewhere. The worth of youth work within the church was recognised when the church was accepted as a full member of the Methodist Association of Youth Clubs in 1967. Rev. Kendrick and helpers worked to convert the basement area of King's Hall church into a "cave", partly influenced perhaps by the Cavern Club where the Beatles had first appeared in Liverpool.

By March 1966 these aspirations had been achieved when it was reported by Derek Kendrick that:

A pleasing event at King's Hall during the past year has been the redecoration of the church and  staircase.  They are finished in attractive pastel colours, making it worthy of the building and conducive of worship.

The most encouraging aspect so far as the Society is concerned is in being forward-looking and flexible.  A detailed review of the membership has been carried out and broken-up into areas.  A Class Leader has been appointed to be reponsible for each area.  By this method we hope to exercise an effective caring ministry.

Another experiment is the renovation of a basement room as a meeting point for young people.  It will come under the wing of the Contact Club and be regarded as a bridge between the un-churched and the life of the Society.

The forming of a Junior Boys' Club is proving a successful innovation.  There is much enthusiasm to be found here and we want to see it continue.  It provides a much-needed counter-part to the Brownies and Girl Guides.

The King's Hall Resident Ministers from 1951 to closure were:

1951 Rev. Ezra Sellers
1953 Rev. Alan M. Hale
1956 Rev. Bernard Franklin
1960 Rev. Bernard G. Walkland
1965 Rev. Derek Kendrick
1973 Rev. John Stacy-Marks
1980 Rev. Fraser Smith (Bridgeway Hall)
1981 Rev. Graham Evans
1988 Rev. Stephen Williams

Sunday School attendances particularly suffered during redevelopment and it was not until 1970 that things began to improve. In 1970 an N.S.P.C.C. playgroup began to operate in the church. Church membership now stood at one hundred and nine but a special list of individuals involved in some way with the church showed over five hundred individuals.

Church activities gradually increased: swimming on Fridays and services at Peashill Old Peoples' Home.

Finance was a problem and insufficient money was available to carry out much-needed repairs and renovations. In addition, the church undertook organised visitation in the new houses. As part of the effort to raise much-needed funds, it was decided to recommence the Christmas Bazaars. Another ambitious move in 1970 was to go camping in France.

The task of keeping up the morale of the church during this changing time took its toll on the health of Rev. Kendrick and he was ill for a lengthy period before he finally left in the summer of 1973.

Rev. John Stacy-Marks succeeded him in 1973 and brought with him a minibus which immediately proved useful in the transporting of young and old on church business.

In 1975 a fire took place within the church hall. Considerable damage was caused and eventually most of the church was redecorated and showed a considerable improvement on the previous condition.

The June 1976 edition of the Messenger recorded that the former King's Hall manse at 11 Dean Road, Woodthorpe, had been sold and Mr. Stacy-Marks had moved to the new manse at  6 Richmond Avenue, St. Ann's. In the final stages, bridging finance for a short period, was required and this was supplied with great promptness and readiness by all four branches of the Circuit, together with some individual members in their private capacity. It was expected that work at King's would undoubtedly benefit from the convenience and closeness of the new manse to the church.

On Sunday 19 December 1976 King's Hall staged a dramatised presentation entitled Holy Child. It consisted of six carols, four readings, three solos, a trio, a tableau, a prayer, and words from Rev. John Stacy-Marks. It was arranged, adapted, and presented by Wendy and Janet Bignall.

In 1976 Mr. Gough retired after thirty-five years as senior Organist in the church and a presentation was made to thank him for his service.

In the same year it was decided to form a church gospel group to be called "Diadem" and the range of work within the church gradually increased so that the Minister wrote that it made him feel excited, impressed, grateful and challenged. He pointed out that there were now twenty thousand people within the range of the church activities.

By 1977 the following regular activities were just part of the multiplicity of work at King's Hall:

Senior Citizens   Women's Fellowship   Saturday Dancing
Five-a-side Football   Bible Class   Prayer Meeting
Social Group   Junior Choir   Guides
Swimming   Badminton   Bookstall
Church Choir   Diadem   Cradle Roll
Discos   Visiting the Elderly   Sunday School
Parties and Outings  

 

  Wesley Guild

In addition, the church was increasingly involved in external activities such as the St. Ann's Festival, the Chase Chat Newspaper and joint church activities. Three hundred copies of the monthly Newsletter were distributed.

In 1977 it was decided to start a "Grub Club" for the elderly to supplement the senior citizens' club and to give older people a chance to have a meal together. Also, in that year the area outside the church was completed  and  a  new car park  came into full use.  Another innovation was provoked by all the activities in the church. This was a Quiet Day to enable everyone to spend some time away from the church in peace and meditation. This became an annual event. By this time Bridgeway Hall in the Meadows was part of the Albert Hall Circuit and close links had developed with King's Hall.


Organist, Mr. John Pikett

Centenary Celebration plaque

Centenary, 1883 to 1983   balloon.

Coach, GJU 774 D
King's Hall Church

In 1978 the minibus, which had performed valiant service in providing transport for weekly events, outings and holidays, was replaced by a special King's Hall coach with the Church's name proudly emblazoned on the side. The coach held twenty-nine people and was to prove an invaluable aid in transporting all ages. In 1979 a new innovation was crèche facilities being available to young parents for the Sunday morning services. Regular coffee mornings were replaced by the Open House scheme and organised activities were taking place with other denominations in the area.

Tony Stones had been in the Youth Club at King's Hall and had lived in the house next to it in Martin Street. He was the first to offer for the Ministry from King's Hall. Unfortunately, after attaining Superintendent status, he was struck down with kidney problems, had to take less work and eventually died at King's Winford in the West Midlands aged sixty years. Two others have since followed Tony Stones into the Ministry, i.e. Tony Wells and Mike Cassidy.

On a visit to King's Hall in 1979, when the Rev. W. Anthony Stones was Superintendent of Stockton Circuit, he stated that:

It was lovely to see all the lads at night - there aren't many churches that have a crowd like that, and to stop for the Communion. John Stacy-Marks has done a good job and I suppose he is the only minister King's has had who stayed any length of time.  He has built on the work Derek did.  I owe so much to the folk at King's.

On 3 October 1982 the President of the Methodist Conference visited King's Hall to launch their Centenary Year.

The Circuit Meeting on 4 March 1985 was advised that a grant of £3,000 per annum, initially for two years, was received from Mission Alongside the Poor in support of the appointment of a part-time youth worker for "The 16-Up project" at King's Hall, including work with unemployed teenagers, links with other social agencies in St. Ann's and co-operation with the Probation Service in non-custodial service for young offenders.

A report on the life and mission of King's Hall in June 1986 included the following statement:

During May and June 1986, a series of four evening meetings was held to consider aspects of the life and mission of King's.  It was found that membership of King's Hall was made up as follows:
                1)   Membership  -  currently 105 but
               (a)  attend once a month or more often:   60

        Age breakdown of attenders: 
                                                                    
under 35  =    7
                                                                         35-65  =  23
                                                                      over 65  =  30

   Residence breakdown of attenders:
                 St. Ann's and  Thorneywood  =  35 (58%)
                                                 Others =  25 (42%)

    (b)  don't  attend:  45 made up of
                            housebound or hospitalised   15
                                                 moved away    13
                                                 others             17     
                  Total of (a) and (b): 105

The Community Roll was about four hundred, consisting of people who attended the Grub Club, Women's Fellowship, Neighbourhood Committee contacts, Children's work (Sunday School, Junior Club, Swimming), 16-Up, Cradle Roll, people married at King's and still living in the area, other pastoral contacts (mainly of the minister), paid workers, the Minister, three part-time workers and two caretakers.

At a meeting of the King's Hall Church Council held on Monday 4 July 1988 Rev. Graham Evans explained that a new contract for the leasing of the shops, which were part of the church premises, had been drawn up for the next six years. An increase in rents had been agreed. He also explained that the City Council was considering planning permission for a medical centre-cum-surgery with adjacent car parking and a first floor flat to be built on the land adjacent to the King's Hall car park. The members approved the scheme subject to the trees alongside the car park not being removed. In 1999 the Medical Centre and trees still remain.

In May 1988 the Church Treasurer was Mr. J. Stevenson (and from 1 September 1988 it was Mr. R. Roddis). The General Superintendent of the Sunday School was Mrs. E. Sheppard; the organist was Mr. J. Pikett; deputy organists were Mrs. J. Cooper and Mr. J. Johnstone; and the caretakers were Mrs. E. Sheppard (downstairs) and Mr. S. Dawson (upstairs). 1991, Rev. Stephen Williams described the discussion which had been going on with Local Authority professional people in St. Ann's as to how the church could relate more to the neighbourhood. This would result in reinvigorated provision for various groups:  the mentally handicapped, Mums and Toddlers, the elderly (Luncheon Club) and more intensive use of the building, including the Allcock Room.  Mr. Neil Williamson pointed out how the building had deteriorated. In a bid to gain a grant from the Urban Aid Programme it would be necessary to have a professionally prepared feasibility study and report which would cost £2,500. From the point of view of the Methodist Church, the building needed to be fitted for community-related use.

From November 1991 Sunday services were reduced to morning services only.

The circuit had protracted conversations with the Nottingham City Council during 1991 and 1992 concerning the future use of the building. It was hoped that it could continue as a useful community resource in St. Ann's. However, after encouraging noises, made over several months, it was found that no arrangements could be made, so the church members had to take the sorrowful decision of placing the premises on the market for sale. The Circuit Meeting held on Thursday 9 December 1991 gave considerable thought to the future of the King's Hall Mission: the increasing deficit, the inability to meet the assessment, and the state of the building. The 1992 Quinquennial inspection of the premises highlighted serious problems. At least £100,000 would be needed to carry out the major works, many of which were urgent. The Staffing Reserve Fund might be reduced to little more than £10,000 by August 1993 on the present basis.  As it was clear that King's could not continue for long on existing arrangements, consideration had to be given as to whether the finances could allow for Rev. Williams to continue as a resident minister. Talks with the Chairman of the District ensued and it was learned that some vacancies were available. The Circuit would, however, retain the category of a three-Minister Circuit and stationing was not closed down. From August 1992 Rev. Patrick McCluskey and Rev. Andrew Barker arranged pastoral oversight at King's.

On Sunday 14 June 1992 an afternoon conference Mission in the '90s was led by Rev. Dr. John Vincent, former President of the Methodist Conference.

Rev. Stephen Williams's last service was held on 19 July 1992 when he shared the evening service at Central with Rev. Patrick McCluskey; and on Thursday evening 21 July 1992 a Circuit Farewell to Stephen and Myra was given at Central Mission. After four years' valuable work at King's Hall in St. Ann's and in the whole circuit, Stephen, Myra and Ruth Williams left Nottingham in August for Kettering (Kettering and Corby District). No account of Stephen's contribution to the Methodist witness in this city would be complete without reference to his work amongst the disadvantaged and homeless in his association with the Albion Centre, his musical ability including the formation of the Circuit Choir, his hospital chaplaincy and his chaplaincy of  Stonebridge Psychiatric Centre. His contribution in these areas will be seriously missed. The family ministered to the needs of the Church members and to the needs of the children by starting the children's evangelistic Wednesday Night's Kids Club, for six to eleven-year-olds.  Later, Stephen initiated discussions with representatives of the local authority and with the police authority on the possibility of using the building for various community purposes.

A number of avenues were open to be explored with regard to the building, including the possibilities of using the Richmond Avenue manse; using it as a house-church or drop-in centre; selling it and applying the proceeds, together with other funding, in the building of a much smaller multi-purpose building; taking part in a joint project with a housing association or Methodist Homes for the Aged; or the local authority taking over the premises, but allowing for the retention of a re-designed, multi-purpose worship area.

It was hoped that the Methodist presence in St. Ann's would not be allowed to be eclipsed. Rev. Patrick McCluskey in September 1993 said:

It must be clearly stated that we do not want to withdraw from St. Ann's and, in line with Home Mission policy, we are seeking a new way forward.

A feasibility study could not be pursued because, at that time, no grants were promised by the  Urban Aid or the City Challenge Scheme.

The sale of King's Hall went ahead and in January 1994 it was recorded that contracts were expected to be exchanged within the next few weeks. There was to be a Service of Thanksgiving on 30 January 1994 at 3.00 pm at King's Hall where the preacher would be the Rev. Geoffrey L. Clark, Chairman of the Nottingham and Derby District. Individual members would be making their own decisions as regards the future. A meeting of the Church Council had decided that the membership would transfer en-block to the Central Mission as a fellowship within the Mission and as such would meet on a regular basis. At the penultimate Circuit Meeting the membership was reported as sixty-six but soon this had decreased to sixty of which approximately twenty-five were active. It was stated that King's would maintain their own pastoral structure. The purchasers agreed to honour any current member's wishes to have their funeral service at King's Hall. The premises will, in future, be called The King's Christian Centre.

The freehold property was conveyed on 25 February 1994 at a price of £79,000. Agents fees etc. had cost approximately £3,000 and it was thought that the Connexion would take £12,000 to £15,000 for the Advanced Property fund levy. The balance would be held in the Central Advance Fund for possible future development in St. Ann's, not Bridgeway or Central. The proprietors of  the freehold  property were  registered as at 31 March 1994 as Newton Roy Richards  and  Joan  Marilyn Richards,  and  Doreth Osigbeme.


Floor plan, 1975
as attached to Land Registry certificate on sale of the property

Exterior 1997
King's Hall Church (after it closed)

There was a restriction on the use of the property, namely, "No disposition by a sole proprietor of the land (not being a trust corporation) under which capital money arises is to be registered except under an order of the registrar or of the Court". The conveyance recorded several covenants:

The Purchasers for themselves and their successors in title covenant with the Board that the property hereby conveyed shall not be used for the manufacture, distribution, sale  or supply of intoxicating liquors nor for any purpose in connection with the organisation or practice of gambling in any of its forms, nor as a public dance hall nor for the purposes of trade for gain on Sundays and without the express consent of the Board of the Property Division of the Methodist Church to the contrary, the said Property shall not be used for religious purposes.

In February 1994 Rev. Patrick McCluskey said:

It is with mixed feelings that I report the successful sale of our King's Hall premises.  Although a long and proud tradition of Methodist prayer, worship and witness comes to an end, the good news is that King's Hall will remain a place of worship and Christian ministry belonging to the First Born Church of the Living God.

The past few years have been difficult and painful for the members of King's Hall and it is right that we should pay tribute to the faithful way they have continued together in worship and fellowship amidst growing uncertainty about the future and the many disappointments they have faced concerning the possible redevelopment of the building.

What of the future?  The King's Hall Church Council has agreed that, once the building is sold, the Society will become a Fellowship within the Central Mission, sharing in our worship and activity, but also retaining a distinctive identity, holding a monthly King's Hall Fellowship.

The present pastoral visitors from King's Hall will continue to visit and care for members of their fellowship.  The monies from the sale of the premises will be invested (in the name of King's Hall) with the Property Division in Manchester. This will ensure that, should a church planting scheme ever become viable in the St. Ann's area, funds will be available.

This is a time when we want to surround the members of King's Hall with our prayers and Christian love, sharing in their sense of loss, welcoming them into the full fellowship of the Central Mission, and providing them with every opportunity to enrich our worship and activity.

So, it is not the end of the story.  It is the end of an era.


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Fore-
word
Intro-
duction
Chapters Epi-
logue
Appendices Acknow-
ledgements
 
1 
2 
3 
4 
5 
6 
7 
8 
9 
10 
11 
12 
13 
14 
15 
16 
17 
18 
19 
1 
2 
3 
4 
5 

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