1. The right of the people to hold their public religious worship at such hours as were most convenient, without being restricted to mere intervals of the hours appointed for service at the Established Church.
2. The right of the people to receive the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper from the hands of their own ministers and in their own places of worship.
3. The right of the people to a representation in the District Meetings and in the Annual Conference, and thereby participate in the government of the community and in the appropriation of its funds.
4. The right of the church to have a voice, through its local business meetings, in the reception and expulsion of members and in the choice of local officers and the calling out of candidates for the ministry."
Methodists in Nottingham were also unhappy about the control of their church by the minister, the Rev. J. Moon. This ended in a split, with the "Old" Methodists having to leave Hockley Chapel. They went back to the Tabernacle for a short time and then bought a piece of a Mr. Fellow's garden at the back of his mansion in Halifax Place and built a church there.
At the New Connexion Conference in Sheffield in 1798 Rev. Alexander Kilham was appointed to the Methodist New Connexion, Nottingham Circuit, which showed how important Nottingham was seen to be at that time. The "New" Methodists stayed in Hockley Chapel where, in 1798, he became the first minister of the New Connexion. Unfortunately, all his travelling took a toll on his strength and within a few months after coming to Nottingham he died on 20 December 1798 aged thirty-six, leaving a widow and ten children. His body was buried in Hockley Church Yard.
Rev.Kilham's followers, sometimes called Kilhamites, purchased a piece of land called "Potter's Field", the site of an old pottery, on the corner of George Street (which then was only a footpath) and Parliament Street, with the intention of building a chapel on it. On 24 May 1816 the foundation stone of the Parliament Street Methodist Church was laid by Mr. Robert Hall of Sneinton. At that time Parliament Street was an unpaved road.
It would appear that this "Potter's Field" was one of five plots of land which comprised "Gregory's Paddock" which had been the subject of a lease dated 16 January 1795 in which George Gregory leased to John Wright, Ichabod Wright and John Smith Wright (Nottingham bankers) the mansion house in Swine Green (in the Parish of St. Mary) together with the stables, outbuildings, gardens and paddock adjoining; on the south side or front thereof to Swine Green, on the north side or rear by Parliament Street, on the west side to premises in the occupation of Thomas Prest and on the east side by Broad Lane.
The five plots of Gregory's Paddock were sold separately over a number of years. A church was eventually built on each one:
Map of Nottingham in 1901 (XL11.2)
Rev. Alexander Kilham, founder of the Methodist New Connexion, 1797
This portrait once hung in No. 5 Vestry and his memorial tablet in the church vestibule,
before the refurbishment in 1986.
This portrait is now in the Nottinghamshire Archives, Castle Meadows Road.
The Malt, Parliament Street.
Parliament Street Methodist Church, 1816,
when its entrance was in George Street.
With overhead tram wires,
at the time of Rev. Parsons
|Parliament Street Chapel|
Parliament Street Methodist Church: pulpit and Conacher organ.
Conacher pipe organ, wooden pews and pulpit
(of fine stone decorated with the heads of reformers, a gift from Alderman Foster)
One of these, measuring 794 square yards (comprising of a coach house, orchards, gardens, a water course, hedges and ditches), had been sold in 1820 to a Mr. Robert Hill Adcock (and part-owned by Richard Peters Smith). His was bounded on the west by the chapel, on the east by a footpath (which later became George Street), on the south and north by the remaining unsold parts of the paddock.
The site used then for the first Parliament Street Methodist Church is the only one on the "Gregory's Paddock" still used for a church.
The opening services took place on 4 and 6 April 1817, conducted by four ministers, one of whom was the Rev. George Wall then in Bolton, but who entered the ministry from Arnold. The building was made of brick and plaster, facing east-west with the entrance on what is now George Street. It was built to seat five hundred but on 15 February 1826 the church re-opened, a gallery having been added which increased the seating to one thousand. The re-opening services were conducted by the Rev. J. Thorpe, of Chester, when the sum of £80 was collected.
A deed dated 7 October 1820, "Gregory's Paddock", Parliament Street, stated that the Gregory family's ancestral home was a mansion in Carlton Street (previously Swine Green), but at the time of the deed being drawn up this was occupied by John and Ichabod Wright, two brothers who were Nottingham bankers. Mr. George de Ligne Gregory was living in Hungerton Lodge, Lincolnshire, at that time. It may be that John and Ichabod Wright were living in the mansion on the land that was sold to them because we read that in 1820 they were living in George de Ligne Gregory's mansion in Carlton Street, which was in the 1700s called Swine Green. This would indicate that it was the same mansion which was leased to them on 16 January 1795.
It is not entirely clear as to when the title of "Parliament Street Methodist Church" became the official name of the church. The Declaration of Trust dated 25 March 1818 referred to the building as the "Meeting-house of the New Methodist Connection in Nottingham". The Eagle Star fire insurance policy dated 25 March 1822 refers to the building as the "a Dissenting Meeting House situated in Parliament Street". When the second (1875) building was erected on the site no title was used in the "Specification of Works to be performed in the erection and completion of a Methodist New Connexion Chapel and School with drainage etc. complete in Parliament Street, Nottingham" prepared by "R. Chas. Sutton Architect Bromley House Nottingham".
Another Mr. Sutton was Charles Sutton who joined the Methodist church at the division in 1797. He was a Trustee, Steward, Local Preacher and was the first proprietor of the Nottingham Review, a weekly newspaper which cost 7d. This commenced its publication on 3 June 1808, and was published at No. 1 Bridlesmith Gate. It was a mixture of news items and advertisements and advocated principles of a strong Liberal bias. Charles Sutton joined our community at the division in 1797 and for many years took a leading part in the Parliament Street Church and Circuit.
When he died in 1829 aged sixty-four, the newspaper was passed to his only son, Richard, who conducted the running of it until his own death. Richard was renowned as a public speaker and writer with Liberal and patriotic views. He was a Town Councillor and a member of the Board of Guardians. Converted at the age of twenty-one he became a Local Preacher and held office as Trustee, Circuit Steward and a Leader. He died whilst on holiday in Scarborough in 1856 and his remains were brought back to Nottingham and interred in the family vault adjoining Parliament Street Church. Their remains were transferred to the Southern Cemetery, Loughborough Road, at the time of the refurbishment in the 1980s, but the memorial plaques commemorating him and his father were destroyed by the builders during the refurbishment in 1987.
The paper continued to exist in Nottingham until it was incorporated into the Nottingham Daily Express."
It was, and always has been, a Circuit church. The Circuit area then was very vast and, like the church, has known many changes.
Some indication of the strength of the Parliament Street society in 1833 is that the congregations at the morning and evening services totalled one thousand five hundred with a membership of three hundred and forty.
Further alterations were made in 1847.
Statistics on Sunday 30 March 1851 estimated that the number of persons in the "General Congregation" attending Divine Service were four hundred and ninety-eight at the morning service and four hundred and ninety-three at the evening. There was no service in the afternoon. There were two hundred and thirty-six "Sunday Scholars". On 31 March 1851 the "Space available for public worship: 132 Free Sittings, 850 Other Sittings". "Remarks: The attendance at the evening service was below an average one". The document was signed by John Hudson, whose address by post was 99 Mansfield Road, Nottingham.
Once again, further alterations were made in 1857 when an organ was installed. From the beginning, however, the debt was heavy, but in 1863 a very strenuous effort was made and £1,400 cleared off the capital account.
These were the years of crowded congregations and meetings. Eventually the time came to bring the church and Sunday School under one roof so, still needing to expand, they demolished the brick and plaster church in 1874. The closing services in the Church were held on 2 March 1874 and demolition started at once. Meetings were then held in the one remaining vestry and united services were held at either Woodborough Road or Wesley Church.
The architect for the 1875 church was Mr. R. Charles Sutton who was also responsible for Castle Gate United Reform Church (1863), the Drewry and Edwards warehouse at the bottom of Stanford Street, and overseeing the workmen who worked through the night erecting the scaffold, etc., prior to the last public hanging outside the Shire Hall in 1864.
There is a house called "Potter's House" in George Street opposite the church. When the site of the church was excavated in 1874, medieval pottery of the 13th and 14th century was found. Other pottery of the same period was found in the Parliament Street area of the city. Those items found on the site were presented to the Castle Museum in 1878 by W.G. Ward and were labelled '78. Most of the specimens are jugs or pitchers with a yellow-greenish glaze, and there is also a vase with a woman's face on either side of it. There are no rare finds on display - just ordinary useful everyday domestic articles.
On 11 August 1874 the foundation stone of the present church was laid by Alderman Foster. Like many other items of interest, the foundation stone was destroyed during the 1987 refurbishment.
The Nottingham District Meeting held on 25 May 1875 in the Chapel, Loughborough, reported that:
The Meeting is not surprised that there should be a small decrease in the town Society as the Parliament Street friends have been without a spiritual home for such a lengthened period, and would express its appreciation of the attachment of the members to our denomination which has kept them in such close fellowship and Christian love during the building of their new chapel. The Meeting is glad to hear that the new schoolroom is quite full at the Sunday Services and that there is every prospect of a large congregation when the new chapel is opened.
Plate 155. Parliament Street Methodist Church Sunday School Anniversary, 1947. [Image missing.]
Plate 156. Parliament Street Methodist Church 150th Anniversary. [Image missing.]
Parliament Street Athletic Football Club, 1931-32
Girl Guide Company
in Barnett's garden, Rolleston Drive
Rev. W.P. Porter and Mrs. Porter
Mrs. Connie and Rev. Charles Taylor
Despite the lack of modern building equipment and techniques, the fine Gothic structure (most of which still remains at the end of the 20th century) with capacity for seating seven hundred people, the new Church and Schoolroom was completed by and officially opened on 27 May 1875 at a cost of £6,000. The Rev. S. Hulme preached the last sermon in the old chapel and the first in the new one; in the latter instance he substituted for Dr. Cooke. The only reference I could find in the Nottingham Journal dated Friday 28 May 1875 was: "The New Methodist New Connexion Chapel in Parliament-street, Nottingham, was opened yesterday".
The Conacher pipe organ appears to have been installed when the church was built in 1874. It appears to have cost £570 and has a current (1999) value of some £100,000. It was properly cleaned in 1966. It has been maintained by Henry Willis & Sons Limited of Petersfield, Hampshire, since March 1989. They took over the company which built the organ, but the earlier company is the one which has the specifications and history of it. The current (1999) organ tuner has been tuning it for sixty years.
The Year Book 1885-6 stated that "A plan of Sittings in the Chapel, with indications of those occupied or to be let, hangs in the front vestibule. Any information desired will be given by the Chapel Keeper. The Stewards sit to let pews and sittings and to receive the rents due, in No. 2 Vestry, from 8 to 9 o'clock pm, on the first two Tuesdays in February, May, August, and November."
The church still had pews in 1965, but a few of the rear ones were removed to make the vestibule. The stained glass windows commemorate the old church families. (One window shows Christ with six toes!) The steps to the church were then outside and an open, narrow church yard with family vaults divided the church from the "Vestry Block" where the Women's Fellowship and Wesley Guild met upstairs in Room 5 (with yellow chairs) and the Primary Department downstairs.
Over thirty bodies were removed from the vaults and re-interred. The Public Notice of the intention to do this was given in the Nottingham Evening Post dated 20 January 1986. Those named were:
Nathaniel Barnsdall (Son)
William Bowley (Son)
James William Prickard
All had been interred there between 1829 and 1864. Names amongst these will be recognised as being members of the "Committee of Management" in the early days of the chapel. The Home Office Licence (no. 16072) approving the transfer was dated 22 December 1986. The remains were transferred to the Southern Cemetery, Loughborough Road, West Bridgford, where they were buried in caskets in four graves nos. 55, 56, 66 and 74 in Section C24.
In 1987, just after the Parliament Street and Albert Hall societies amalgamated, the whole of the "Vestry Block" and shop in front of it were demolished, and were replaced by an entirely new brick block which had meeting rooms, offices, a lift, and a new shop fronting onto Lower Parliament Street. Where the vaults had been in the open yard between the church building and the "Vestry Block" is a ramp descending from the front foyer to the lower multi-purpose hall in what used to be the schoolroom. This ramp is covered by a glass canopy stretching from the church building to the new block. The front of the church was considerably altered by the removal of the stone steps and the addition of the glass-fronted entrance and coffee bar (Wesley's).
The Parliament Street Methodist Church was always a strong family church, staffed and supported by some of the most influential men in the city, operating as a great religious and social force. It was through the Parliament Street Church that many of the New Connexion Churches in the neighbourhood had been opened, and others helped. There have been many loyal members who have given unstinted faithful service. Some have not only served the church but also the city, becoming prominently involved in commerce and council affairs. Others have gone forth and served in the ministry and on the mission field. One could list many, but many more would then go unnamed. However, one family name which frequently crops up is Barnett, whose family tree may be traced back (earliest first) as follows:
1. William Barnett, a founder of the Parliament Street Methodist Church Society in 1798, received a letter from Rev. Kilham himself, which may be why he was nicknamed the "Kilhamite Barnett". He was a local preacher whose name is on the Plan of 1820.
2. John Barnett (William's son), on the Building Committee for the present church in 1875, lived over his place of business in Carlton Street, and this was where his son, F.B. Barnett, was born.
3. Frank Belfield Barnett, also on the Building Committee for the present church in 1875, was the husband of Millicent Ann Robinson Barnett née Sotheran. He died 1926. There is a stained glass window in the Church in their honour (dedicated in June 1927: see below).
He and Mr. F.E. (Effy) Rushworth were joint Superintendents of the Sunday School.
4. Frank Ernest Barnett was the husband of Gertrude and father of Ethel and Joan. He was baptised in the church on 22 June 1879 at the age of three months.
5. Joan Barnett was a missionary at an outpost of the Church in Kenya.
Joan Barnett recalled that, when a child (1916-26), every Sunday at 10. 40 am she climbed the steps nearest to George Street with her father (F.E. Barnett) and mother, Gertrude. She tried to escape the eye of Mr. F.E. Rushworth, J.P., standing at the door of his back pew, seemingly checking all who entered. Her grandfather (F.B. Barnett) and his daughter, Ethel, were already seated in a centre pew (the only one with a door, giving access to the other side of the Church). Mr. George Pendry occupied the back pew adjacent to Mr. Rushworth. He had converted to Methodism from the Anglican Church when he married a Miss Barnett. After the first prayer he would walk, in military fashion, down the aisle to the Eagle Lectern, donated by him in memory of his son, Frank, missing in the 1914-18 War, and refurbished in 1958 as a gift to the church from Mrs. J.E. Black. He read the scriptures with dignity but dropped all the Hs. Mr. Wilson and two daughters sat at the side nearest the lectern. The choir sat behind the pulpit.
The Parliament Street pulpit was unique. The heads of nine reformers, dear to Methodist New Connexion, peered out from the marble pillars. At Harvest Festival, the pulpit was suitably decorated and a fringe of wheat ears was draped along the velvet cushions round the top. The effect of a harvest field was given by red button dahlias. Red roses in small vases peeped out between the pillars and the finest bunch of grapes would hang under the central reading desk.
Mr. F.E. Rushworth, J.P.
Mr. A.E. Hooley and Mrs. M. Hooley
|Parliament Street Methodist Church, stained glass window|
Plan of Woodview Playing Fields.
Reproduced from parts of both SK 5939 NW (1979) and SK5939SW (1984) scale 1:1250,
Ordnance Survey map by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office,
© Crown copyright MC100032852
Woodview Magazine cover
Parliament Street Methodist Church: pulpit and sports trophies.
The pulpit, the trophies, Mr. Hooley and Rev Cushing
Mr. Fred Kent with cup
Reserves (Junior Section), 1938-39
First team, 26/8/1946
|Parliament Street Methodist football teams|
Plate 169. Parliament Street Church, Sunday School, where the ramp was in the 1990s. [Image missing.]
Plate 170. Parliament Street Methodist Cricket Club embroidered badge [Image missing.]
The following is a list of the stained glass windows in the Parliament Street Church, now the Nottingham Central Methodist Mission.
On the left as you face the organ,
The four windows which were dedicated on 24/11/1951 were designed and executed by Mr. H.T. Hincks.
On 22 October 1889 Mr. Albert Edward Hooley was accepted as a member of the choir. One of his seven sons was Harold Towle Hooley, who was born at 105 Woodborough Road, Nottingham. He attended the local school followed by the Mundella School. He qualified as an Incorporated Accountant in 1926; commenced in practice on his own account in January 1927 at a very small office in Upper College Street; moved to progressively larger offices in National Chambers, Goldsmith Street, in 1935 to Leighton House, Lincoln Street, and finally in 1945 to Clumber Buildings, Clumber Street. As one of ten children, he started work at fourteen years of age but what the family might have lacked in material things it more than compensated for in Christian ideals. He was a member of the Sunday School in Parliament Street. For many years he was an active member of the Guild. He founded the magazine Woodview Whispers. Long before Conference set up Youth Councils, he created the Social Club Committee to co-ordinate the youth activities and to confer on their financing. He was the power behind the wheel since the Football Club was reformed in 1928. In those early days "the Meths" were at the bottom of the Spartan League Many years later he was a member of the Nottinghamshire Football Association Council. He led a large Men's Bible Class. On 31 July 1936 he added to his office of Leader the office of Trustee and, on the death of Mr. F.E. Rushworth, he went from being the treasurer of the Church to that of treasurer of the trust.
On Saturday 14 June 1958 the re-opening service, after the refurnishings and redecorations (which had begun some four years previously), thanks were given for the gifts which members of the congregation had given to the church. Amongst these was the "Sir Arthur Mee's Bible in the Children's Side-Chapel presented by Mrs. W. (Betty) Ingram, and the Children's Side-Chapel itself by Mr. and Mrs. F.E. Barnett.
When the Club started in1895 the first secretary was the Rev. W.O. Smith. At the outbreak of the 1914-18 war it became defunct and it was restarted in 1926 by Harold T. Hooley and since then had made quite a name in local football circles. During the 1939-45 war, seventy-two of the players in the Football and Cricket Clubs saw service, but despite this the club carried on, mainly because of the great help given by the Royal Army Postal Regiment who were stationed in George Street.
The May 1971 (Price 2p) edition of the Parliament Street Methodist Church, Nottingham, Magazine was the last of the externally-printed magazines. In it Fred Kent records the Church's football teams.
FOOTBALL RESULTS TO 1 MAY 1971
The youngest side, the under-twelves played in the Nottinghamshire Church League.
In August 1948 records showed that the footballers who had played in club colours more than one hundred times were:
|F. Kent||382||C. Jones||133|
|W. Holbrook||299||W. Barker||132|
|A. Connolly||252||S. Munton||114|
|E. McHenry||217||W. A. Icke||114|
|J. Hicken||181||A. Howe||109|
|T. Rogers||178||F. Proud||107|
|J. Wheatley||161||B. Dickens||101|
A later record showed that Michael Felstead, Alan Northern, Fred Kent, Clive Harries and Charkie Whyte had all completed five hundred appearances for the Club.
The following is a reproduction of the cover of the first edition of Woodview Sports Bulletin:
|Published by the Parliament Street Methodist Football and Cricket Club|
|Vol. 1, No. 1 Price 3d. December, 1946|
|Members of the
1st & 2nd Divisions
| Club Colours: |
Red and Blue
|Members of |
the Notts Association
We play the game HOPING to Win,
The Magazine for June 1977 recalled that for forty-seven years the name of Harry Foster was inseparably combined with football. His interest in football began when he was chosen to play in his school's team. After leaving school he played for several years for Trent Rovers and then, as a mere 18-year-old, began his long association with Parliament Street's Football Club. For many years he was a valued skilful player, making almost five hundred appearances for them. His last few years with them were as Trainer. After a short break from football, the game called again and he joined his firm's club, Raleigh Cycle Works Football Club as their Trainer, a post he held for eight years. His retirement was a great loss to Amateur Football.
Annual Sportsmen's Services were held and well known sportsmen would read the Lessons and many others came to the services.
In April 1928 Mr. Fred Kent went to work in an office at the Raleigh Cycle Company where the person in charge was Miss D. Hooley, sister of Harold, who ran the Church's Sports Club and the Bible Class. After three years' gentle persuasion Fred agreed to go to the Parliament Street Methodist Church which was to become his life. He was soon in the Football team, Cricket Institute, Gym team, and Bible Class. Mr. H.T. Hooley died in 1952 and Fred took over as Chairman of the Football and Cricket Clubs and Bible Class. This also entailed the purchase of the ground and its financial upkeep. The Men's Stall was run by the Football Club so Fred was in charge of that. In 1939 he captained the team which won the All-Britain Methodist Football Cup. During the war he was in the Royal Navy and on two occasions his ship was sunk. In 1946 he became Editor of the Woodview Sports Bulletin which after the first fifteen years became the Church Magazine. Subscription Secretary was Harold Sewell. Fred still wrote the Sports News. He also served on Nottinghamshire Football Association for many years. In 1968 the Property Treasurer, Mr. G. Whyley, died and Fred was given this responsible position which he held for many years. From the time that the Church was involved in covenanted giving he was treasurer and organiser. Fred died on 24 May 1987.
Mr. Jim Nicholas was called up to join the Army in 1943 and, on leaving home in Kelsall, Cheshire, his father told him to "look for a Methodist Church". On being posted to Nottingham, he was told that if he wanted a game of football to go along to the Troop Centre being run at Parliament Street Methodist Church. He was invited by Mr. H.T. Hooley to attend evening service and this he did regularly until he was posted to Africa. During the time he was in Africa he was kept in constant touch with the activities at Parliament Street by a news-letter which was sent to all servicemen abroad who had attended the Church. In 1946 he was fortunate in being posted back to Nottingham where he was able to return to Parliament Street Church and to play again in their football team. He was the Home Missions Secretary from 1962 and a door steward for over 30 years.
The years brought about a decline in membership nationally. Consequently a number of local churches closed and Parliament Street gradually absorbed members who transferred from Alfred Street, Shakespeare Street, Sycamore Road, Bluebell Hill, Redcliffe Road and Sneinton Boulevard. The main amalgamation, though, was in the 1950s with Broad Street Wesley Chapel, where William Booth worshipped before he founded the Salvation Army. Mrs Elsie Gibbs was one example of members having to transfer their membership due to the closure of chapels. She moved from Halifax Place to Shakespeare Street, then to Redcliffe Road before coming to Parliament Street Church.
The 20th Nottingham Company of the Boys' Brigade met at their Northampton Street clubroom and held their church parades at Parliament Street. A number of boys eventually joined the church. At that time the 15th Nottingham Girls' Life Brigade Company was started and in 1955 a Youth Club was founded and affiliated to the Methodist Association of Youth Clubs (M.A.Y.C.).
The June 1979 edition of the Parliament Street Methodist Church Magazine recorded that the 20th Nottingham Company of the Boys' Brigade scored thirty-one goals and conceded only one in seven games to win the Steggles Trophy awarded to the Boys' Brigade, Nottingham Battalion, Junior Section six-a-side football champions. Their trainer was Mrs. Gwen Hirst and the trophy was presented by a Battalion Vice-President, John R. Jacques, who was the first boy to be enrolled in the 20th Nottingham Company of the Boys' Brigade when it was founded sixty years previously. In August 1979 it was also reported that they had then won the Dako Cup for five-a-side football.
There has always been a strong sporting interest in the church and the football teams won many trophies. Many happy Saturday afternoons were spent at Woodview Sports Ground, Colwick Crossings. It had originally been bought by Mr. H.T. Hooley in 1943 who subsequently leased it to the Parliament Street Methodist Church at a peppercorn rent. After Mr. Hooley died in 1952 the land (seven acres, two roods, seven perches) was conveyed in fee simple from Mr. Leslie Stuart Hooley (and others) to the Trustees of the Parliament Street Methodist Church on 22 February 1955. The price quoted was £1,700.
A Men's Institute was held on Friday nights for snooker, table tennis, etc. and refreshments, and a Men's Bible Class was held on Sunday afternoons.
The Women's Fellowship met in No. 5 Vestry every Wednesday at 7.30 pm. There would be a speaker and the evening concluded with a cup of tea.
The Senior Citizens' Leisure Hour was started in February 1973 with fourteen members. By June 1974 it had nearly fifty and after seven years there were seventy-one on the register. This weekly get-together from 2.30 to 4.00 p.m. was just what the name implied - a leisure hour. The men played snooker or billiards, darts or table tennis, and the ladies knitted, played dominoes, cards or bagatelle, often joined by the men. Some people played cards. Because there was only one snooker table, the men liked to arrive early to get a game. There were magazines available and they enjoyed a cup of tea and biscuits in between the chatter and laughter which seemed to be the order of the day. Mrs. Maisie Akid was the Leader. When Maisie died, her sister, Mary Barnes, took it over. It attracted many people to pop in for a cup of tea and a chat. The ladies made cakes for it. If it was anybody's birthday, cakes and sandwiches were provided. They didn't have lunch then. There were some excellent outings. A lot of people who weren't members helped. On one occasion there was a "a sweet little solo from five-year-old Sally Brown". She later qualified as a music therapist.
The Parliament Street Sunday School dates from 1784, when the Mayor, Alderman Howitt, called a Town's Meeting in the old Exchange Hall, and a committee was formed, mostly of Methodists and Quakers, to run what was then a new enterprise. At first the School met in the Exchange Hall at the unusual (to us) hours of 8.30 am and 1 pm and one of its rules was: "All children must come with washed hands and faces and wearing clean linen". At the age of fourteen, the child received a Dismissal Bible and had to make room for a younger one. With the threatened Napoleonic invasion, the Exchange Hall became an armoury in 1804 with a day and night guard over the powder and arms stored in the building, so a two-storied school in East Street was built. It also hired rooms in Mansfield Road, bringing the scholars to the morning service at Parliament Street. At one time this school had six hundred and fifty scholars and one hundred and nine teachers in its various branches. Subsequently, the Sunday School was held in the Lower Hall at Parliament Street ("The Schoolroom") underneath the worship area.
There is a record of the Sunday School attendance of six hundred and seventy-one children in 1834 which included two missions which had been opened at Mansfield Road and Kingston Place.
The need for still greater school accommodation became apparent, the old premises in East Street being very inadequate for the Sunday School work. The impetus to face this need came through a legacy accruing from the will of John Bradbury, who died in 1868. He left £400 to the Trustees on condition that within seven years suitable school premises should be provided. This condition was satisfied with the building of the new Parliament Street Chapel in 1875. Mission services were held for a considerable period at East Street, led by the lay agent, Mr. James Harrison. A few years after his death the building was sold and the work concentrated at Parliament Street.
Miss Joan Barnett, recalling the Parliament Street Sunday School (1921 to 1930 and 1932 to 1935), said that the Primary Sunday School was led by Miss Rushworth assisted by Miss Ethel Barnett. Most of the children came from back-to-back houses where the Gas Showrooms (later, Argos) were in the 1990s. In 1921 Joan joined the Junior Sunday School and in 1923, having been made a member of the Church after attending classes with the Minister, Rev. R.F. Bell, taught a class of six boys in the Primary Sunday School. Mr. F.E. Rushworth, J.P. was Superintendent of the Parliament Street Sunday School. Miss Ethel Smith was pianist and Joan's father, Frank Ernest Barnett, was Secretary, who by 1932 was Superintendent (Stanley Kent was Secretary). In 1930 she went to train as a teacher at Southlands Methodist College, Wimbledon. In 1932 she returned to Nottingham to teach, leaving in 1935 to go to Kingsmead, Selly Oak. Rev. R.F. Bell became her uncle by marriage to Miss Ethel Barnett.
At the morning and evening services for the Parliament Street Methodist Church Sunday School Anniversary, on Sunday 9 May 1954, the preacher was Rev. W.P. Porter, the organist Mr. E. Bailey, L.T.C.L., the pianist Mrs Betty Ingram. The afternoon service was chaired by Miss Kathleen Herring at which the speaker was Mrs. A.J. Speed.
In 1836 the Parliament Street Chapel commenced a separate Female Adult School in a room in Canal Street, but later it was moved to the chapel premises "where adult females without any prospect to denomination are taught to read and write".
Roland C. Swift in Lively People stated that "The instruction to the children soon led to a demand from their parents for classes. What is reputed to be the first Adult School in the country was commenced in 1798 on Methodist New Connexion premises in the Parliament Street schoolroom by William Singleton, a prominent member of that denomination, at whose home Alexander Kilham stayed on one of his visits to Nottingham. The school taught Bible reading, writing and arithmetic, in which Singleton was helped by Samuel Fox, a local grocer and Quaker. After a short time the school was taken over by the Society of Friends under the leadership of Samuel Fox and was continued for many years in its original form."
Not until the 1987 refurbishment was there a coffee bar in the church. Fred Kent started the Saturday morning coffee meetings just before the 1939/45 war in the Schoolroom, in the basement. This was temporarily curtailed during the war in order to provide the troops' canteen there. It was very successful after the war and the money collected assisted in the maintenance of the Woodview Playing Fields.
The two wars left their mark on the church. Out of forty-three serving in 1914-18 and seventy-six in 1939-45, eight were lost in the first and six in the second period. In both wars the home members, too, did their part. In the first war, a reading and writing room was open every night with occasional cups of tea. During the second world war there were games of all kinds, including table tennis and billiards, in the large schoolroom. This room was used as a Troops Recreational Centre, staffed each evening by members, and hot meals were provided for seven or eight hundred men and women in the services.
Throughout the war years the Wesley Guild, Junior Guild, Guides and Brownies all continued to meet, and Sunday Services were maintained.
Kathleen Herring recalled:
When I came to Parliament Street early in 1937, with the other five members of our family, the Nottingham East Circuit was made up of seventeen Churches and we had five ministers. We joined from Blue Bell Hill Chapel which was on the point of closing. I joined the Ladies' Bible Class which was under the leadership of Miss Doris Barnes. Later I started teaching in the Sunday School and became Secretary. I held both posts for many years.
During the War I helped in the Forces Canteen and will always remember my first task on a Saturday afternoon was slicing about twelve long loaves which we then made up into sandwiches, and Mrs. Barnett telling us to make sure we buttered the slices to the edges. This I always do even now. I have many happy memories of Servicemen and Women I met during those years. Early after the War, Miss Reader had taken over the Bible Class and, along with Miss Mary Barnes and Miss Emmie Lamb, arranged holidays for the members. We had some lovely times and many hilarious happenings whilst living in Methodist schoolrooms and farm barns.
A Drama Group was formed by Mr. J.E. Black, and I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the many plays he produced. I am sure our audiences also enjoyed them.
The Guild has always appealed to me for its variety of topics and, as well as attending, I was Secretary for sixteen years. Three years ago I took over a stall at the Autumn Fayre and have had Jumble Sales to raise more money for that. Any one who hasn't helped at a Jumble Sale should make an effort to do so: it is an education!
The rest of the family transferred years ago but I am glad I stayed at Parliament Street and pray I may be able to continue worshipping and working there for many years to come.
The Officers of the Guild for the 1955-56 session were: President, Rev. W.P. Porter; Vice-President, Rev. W.O. Smith; Secretaries, Mr. J.E. Black and Mr. A.S. Chamberlain; Group Secretaries - (Devotional) Mr. A.H. Sears, (Literary) Miss K. Herring, (Social) Miss F.E. Outram, (Music) Mr. W.L. Clayton, (World Church) Mr. F.E. Barnett; Registrars, Miss N. Hallam and Mrs. E. Bull; Pianists, Mr. W.L. Clayton and Mrs. W.P. Porter. They met every Thursday at 7.30 pm. The Guild met on the first floor (above the Junior Sunday School room) of the "Vestry Block".
After the refurbishings and redecoration of the Parliament Street Methodist Church, the re-opening services were held on Saturday 14 June 1958 at 3.30 pm, Officiating Minister: The Rev. G.R. Trussell; Saturday at 7 pm, Officiating Minister: The Rev. W.A. Fellows, B.A.; Sunday at 10.45 am and 6.30 pm, Rev. W.P. Porter.
The February 1972 magazine was the first of the internally-produced editions. The Minister, Rev. Ronald E. South wrote in it that:
We welcome the new magazine which we hope will be better able to serve the Church. We are indebted to Mr. Bill Ingram and his helpers for making it possible to print our magazine on the Church premises. We are also proud that our publicity material for distribution in the neighbourhood is produced by our own people.
We deeply regret the passing of the Rev. G. Reginald Trussell, a former minister of and latterly a supernumerary minister of our Church. He entered the ministry after training at Hartley College in 1913 and became a supernumerary in 1955. In the forty-two years of his active ministry he served at Southend-on-Sea, Manchester, Mansfield, Hucknall, Harringay, Penzance, Walsall, Nottingham, Knighton, and Llanymynech. It is often recalled that he instituted the canteen at Parliament Street during the last world war, and that it is estimated that a quarter of a million of the Forces used its facilities.
In March 1972 the following were the Church Officers at Parliament Street Methodist Church. This list is shown in full because after thirty years it is interesting to see what the posts were and where the post-holders lived then.
Minister: Rev. Ronald E. South, 18 Rolleston Drive, Lenton, Nottingham.
Senior Society Steward: Mr. Harold Sears, 143 Woodside Road, Lenton Abbey, Nottingham.
Trust Secretary: Mr. Alan Northern, 59 Douglas Avenue, Carlton, Nottinghamshire.
Chapel Steward: Mr. Bill Ingram, 7 Watkin Street, Nottingham.
Organist: Mr. Peter Wiles, ACP, 14 Park Avenue, Ilkeston.
Leaders' Meeting Secretary: Mr. Geoff Akid, 30 Walton Drive, Keyworth, Nottinghamshire.
Junior Church Leader: Mr. C. Smith, 69 Kennington Road, Radford, Nottingham.
Junior Church & Youth Council Sec.: Mrs. Kathleen Northern, 59 Douglas Avenue, Carlton, Nottingham.
Mission Secretaries: OM Miss Joy Hemmington, 7 Parkdale Road.
WW Miss Joan Barnett, 288 Derby Road.
HM Mr. Jim Nicholas, 150 Egypt Road, Radford.
Guild Gen. Secretary: Miss Kathleen Herring, 31 Henry Road, West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire.
Women's Fellowship Secretary: Miss Alice Myers, 29 Kibworth Close, Bestwood, Nottinghamshire.
The Martha Society Sec.: Mrs. Elsie Gibbs, 56 Radcliffe Road, Nottingham.
Youth Club Leader: Mr. Bill Ingram, 7 Watkin Street, Nottingham.
Boys' Brigade Captain: Mr. B. Pottinger, 82 Chippenham Road, Bestwood Park, Nottingham.
Bible Class Secretary: Mr. Peter Spencer, 20 Hartington Avenue, Carlton, Nottinghamshire.
Magazine Treasurer: Mr. Harold Sewell, 63 Wellington Street, Nottingham.
Church Caretaker: Mr. Tom Meats, 26 St. Ann's Well Road, Nottingham.
The Rev. Ronald Edward South entered the ministry in 1932. At the outbreak of war he returned to the island of Jersey and remained there, serving as a Minister during the Nazi occupation. After the war he moved to Port Talbot, then to Wigston (Leicester) and to Burton-on-Trent. He served the Parliament Street Methodist Church and Circuit from September 1966 until he retired on 25 August 1974. On 30 August 1974 he left Nottingham for his brother's home in Middlesex, where he became ill and eventually passed away on 8 September 1974. The Church had benefited much from his faithful ministry and also from his business acumen. He had never been heard to complain about his difficulties or speak with bitterness. His friendliness, his sense of humour and his jolly laugh will always be recalled with affection. He will be remembered for the way that every business meeting he presided over was brought to a conclusion with his familiar "All finished, all done?".
In July 1972 Rev Ronald South wrote in the Magazine that he was encouraged by the promises of help in the Church's programme of interview visitation to all the Victoria Development and the lower areas of the St. Ann's Estate before the winter. It would require consistent effort week by week. He reported that they had "made a good start last week covering the flats occupied in the higher levels of the Victoria Development. I looked down upon our Church from the 26th floor from which it looks about the size of a match-box. We were courteously received and scattered our seed in the form of the printed invitations, supplied by Mr. Bill Ingram, on a generous scale for this purpose. We are too familiar with the Parable of the Sower to expect that all our labour will be rewarded. However, it is our duty to sow but it is God that giveth the increase."
The February 1974 edition of the Magazine showed the Editor's usual humour:
On 12th January, members of the Bible Class provided yet another "Samaritan Party". It was as excellent as ever. This year, though, they were so short of kitchen staff they had grandparents working in there! The usual team was playing: Scoop Northern, Sprouts Akid, Nick the Knife, One Square Harold and Turkey Guildford and co. The usual bevy of beauties served at the tables and received the usual quips from some of the more troublesome guests (one person is banned for the next 5 years!)
To Bill Miller and Hilda Lock who announced their engagement on January 19th. We offer them our congratulations and good wishes for their future happiness.
(I think I can safely say that I was the first to know about this!) Ed.
In July 1974 Rev Ronald South reported on the changes that had occurred during the previous eight years.
When I came to Parliament Street the alterations to the forecourt of the Church were being completed. At the time it seemed necessary to modernise the interior entrance of the church lest the contrast between the wide open steps of the exterior invite unfavourable comparison with the dark narrow aisle inside. It was also an opportunity to create new vestibule space for those who arrive early, through their bus services, to meet in congenial surroundings. With the creation of the new vestibule, we took the opportunity of illuminating the stained glass windows to add to the display lighting on the Church front.
The next problem was the heating of the Church. We decided to change to two new gas boilers, hoping that by the use of automatic control we would combine economy with efficiency.
By planning both projects together we were able to provide room for a new chimney and easier access to the hall.
Since then we have pointed and cleaned the wall on the George Street side as a matter of maintenance of the property.
[In the August 1974 Edition:]
To conclude the series of monthly letters I have written for our magazine during the last eight years, I would like to refer to the few but significant changes in the pattern of our church life.
The first in order was the inclusion of the Boys' Brigade in what was then the Sunday School Anniversary. Now we have the monthly Sunday morning Parade Service which gives us a wider contact between the Brigade, which meets on its own premises, and the folk of the morning congregation.
The second is the slight re-arrangement in the time of the Annual Sale of Work. The old pattern of the three-day Sale had a long and useful history, but the possibilities of Saturday morning custom became obvious, so we exchanged Friday evening for Saturday morning. This gives a little more rest to our workers and so far has proved advantageous to our finances.
The third is our Carols by Candlelight service which owes its inspiration to Mrs. Miller, who was then Miss Hilda Lock. Our Service of Lessons and Carols still remains well attended, but the Carols by Candlelight Service, however, has a wider appeal and is attended by many who are not regular worshippers with us.
There was also a Ladies Bible Class, and it was from this that funds were raised for an annual Good Samaritan New Year dinner that members arranged for about one hundred folk who lived alone. The meal was comprehensive: soup; turkey, roast potatoes and boiled potatoes (a sack of potatoes was peeled!); Christmas pudding and custard; mince pies; and finished with mint chocolates. About twelve of the girls would be waitresses. They had white aprons with lace frills round. Harold Sears used to buy them a big tin of Quality Street. The meal was at five o'clock on Saturday night which was then followed by the entertainment. The Nottingham Operatic Society entertained them for many years.
Rev John Rogan followed as Superintendent Minister of the Nottingham East Circuit at Parliament Street Methodist Church Circuit, after his ministry of seven years in Glossop, Derbyshire. He and his wife (Florence M) were the first to live in the new Manse at 1 Greenside Walk, Dales Estate, Carlton.
When Sir William Smith founded the Boys' Brigade in 1883 he did so in the hope that he could bring boys to Christ. Ninety-three years later the object of the BB remains first and foremost "the advancement of Christ's Kingdom among boys". The 20th Nottingham Company of the Boys' Brigade was started by Mr Ralph Carr in the belief that the movement had a part to play in the lives of boys in the St. Ann's area of the city.
The first meeting of the Home Prayer Cell met on 15 September 1975 at the home of Miss A. Wigfield, followed monthly at different members' homes. There were hymns, prayers, discussion, closing with coffee and biscuits.
The Methodist Church Act 1976 brought into effect, from 16 April 1977, the passing of the legal responsibilities of Trustees of local Church property under the old scheme of the Model Deed, to the new scheme whereby the elected members of the Church Council are Managing Trustees.
The Rev. John Rogan conducted his last service at Parliament Street on the morning of Sunday 7 August 1977. At 8.00 pm that evening a Farewell Meeting was held at Netherfield Church. His new appointment was at Cleveleys, in the Fleetwood Circuit, where he was one of a staff of five ministers and had pastoral charge of two Churches. On Saturday 3 September 1977 the welcoming meeting was held for the new Superintendent Minister, the Rev. Frank V. Michael, and his wife and family. They had moved from Morecambe, Lancashire.
Towards the end of the long leadership of the Nottingham East Circuit the summary accounts of Parliament Street General Church Account showed a period of stable balance but increasing income:
|Year ending 31 August.|
|Returned tax on covenanted gifts||358||487||596||584||725||797|
|Assessment & general payments||2,864||3,362||3,245||3,618||4,087||4,752|
|Deficit for the year *||(301)||(427)||( 32)|
|Surplus for the year||130||274|
|Weekly average collections were||42.50||47.00||53.50||63.50||68.00||78.50|
(* The deficits were covered by the Sale of Work A/c)
To many who passed along Parliament Street the National Children's Home crib, which stood on the church steps during the Christmas period, was part of the City's Christmas scene. It was beautifully built, with realistic Holy Family, and lovely music. Lots of folk, especially children, did not merely pass by but stopped and put a donation in the collection box. Peter Spencer took on the task every year of being responsible for the daily attention of the crib and collecting box.
Prior to the merging of the Parliament Street and the Albert Hall societies, the Nottingham East Circuit consisted of Parliament Street (Superintendent Minister's church), Standhill Road, Carlton Main Street, Gedling Road (ministry shared by two ministers who were based in Carlton), Netherfield, Ashwell Street (closed in 1965). Its society joined with Victoria Road, Netherfield, Thurgarton, and Phoenix Farm (which opened in 1970).
The Parliament Street Methodist Church Magazine of March 1981 reported:
that the Church Council meetings of 1980 and 1981 had the difficult decision to make about the future of Methodism in the Inner City. For some time, thinking and discussion had been going on in the churches about the place and mission of the Church in the centre of Nottingham. Two Methodist Churches concerned in this were Parliament Street and the Albert Hall. Representatives from the former were: Rev. F.V. Michael, Mr. Tom Flynn, Mr. Albert Featherstone, Mr. Derek Corpe, Mr. Bill Ingram, Mr. Terry Brown, Mrs. Doris Guildford, and later, Mr. Cyril Guildford. They considered that it was important to consider the future needs of the Inner City, the mission to the Inner City, the Ministry in the Inner City, and a united Methodist witness in the Inner City. The church of five years' time would have changed in the case of Parliament Street and the Albert Hall, and it was felt that they should look at the challenge of the present and the future. There seemed to be all sorts of exciting possibilities for the Church in the centre of the City. A simple Declaration of Intent had been agreed by both sides of the committee recommending that both churches seek to merge together as one church, and that the working party will continue to seek out what this means for the work of the Church and the Kingdom of God in the City. Our Church Council agreed to this and re-appointed the committee. We are expecting that the friends of the Albert Hall will do the same very soon. It is very important that you get it clear what is being suggested. It is not being suggested that Parliament Street or the Albert Hall be closed at this time. Both are doing very important work in their own way, but we feel that the day must come when there will be one Methodist witness in the City. It must in many ways be different than it is now and we want, by the help of the Holy Spirit, to find what it is to be.
During the week-end of Saturday and Sunday 12 and 13 March 1983 there was a regional gathering of about two hundred to three hundred young people in connection with the Methodist Association of Youth Clubs. On the Saturday there was a rally in the church followed by a meeting in the Market Square, with tea in the church. On Sunday afternoon the church premises were used for different events and meetings. In the evening there was an M.A.Y.C. service when the young people joined the congregation which began with special singing at 6 p.m. with the "Daybreak" choir.
Rev. Frank V. Michael in the November 1982 Magazine wrote to report that:
he had received an invitation from the Superintendent of the Albert Hall, Rev. Joe Gibbon, for the consideration of our Church Council. This invitation was for Parliament Street to move out of the Nottingham East Circuit and go into the Nottingham Mission Circuit in 1984. Our Church Council agreed to accept the invitation and at the Circuit General Purposes Committee and the Circuit Meeting held recently, it was agreed to accept the Parliament Street acceptance. The matter now has to be referred to District level. The Steering Committees of both churches are meeting again in November to see what further steps need taking. It is important to realise that these things can't be done overnight, but we are going along steadily. We are always grateful for your thoughts and observations.
In June 1983 Rev. Michael reported that the Church Council and the Circuit Meeting had agreed that Parliament Street would move out of the Nottingham East Circuit and go into the Nottingham Mission Circuit. This has now been confirmed by the District Synod, and only has to have the Connexional Home Mission and Conference agreement and it will become official. The changeover will take place in September 1984.
Rev. Frank Michael was the last minister at the Parliament Street Church, retiring in August 1984. He and his wife moved to a Ministers' Housing Association house, the first real home of their own, in Chester, but very sadly died within a short time. The funeral service of Rev. Frank Michael took place on Friday 9 November at 2 p.m. at Wesley Church, St. John's Street, Chester. The Rev. Paul Ruddick and Mrs. Munton arranged a mini-bus, which was competently driven by Mr. Philip Anthony of the Albert Hall, to take the fifteen people from Netherfield Church and Parliament Street Church. Mrs. Michael went to live near her sons.
Rev. J.A. Gibbon reported in the December 1984 volume of the Parliament Street Methodist Church, Magazine, that the movement towards unity of the two Methodist Societies was imminent, with one Society forming the nucleus of the Central Methodist Mission. However, debate still went on over which site should be occupied, although that did not prevent the two churches beginning with united services, the first of which was on 6 January 1985. From then on, all morning services were at 10.45 am in the Parliament Street building and all evening services at 6.30 pm at the Albert Hall.
At the new Church Council meeting on Monday 15 December 1984, it was decided that from then on there would not be a publication of either the Parliament Street Magazine or the Albert Hall Messenger. As soon as possible in the New Year there would be a new magazine for the new Society.
However, the Print Room staff felt they could not cease publication without one more short edition to explain what was happening, especially for those friends who lived away from Nottingham, or who were not actually attached to the church, but regular readers of the magazine.
Miss Mary Hedges, a Pastoral Visitor, was commissioned as a Chaplaincy Visitor, to serve in the Nottingham City Hospital, at a service of dedication and commissioning, held on 6 May 1987 at University Hospital. The Service was for Ward Visitors and Chaplaincy Volunteers. George Murdy and Graham Morgan, both Hospital Visitors, were among those who attended.
For the reasons given in Chapter 11, the two central Methodist Churches of Nottingham, situated at either end of Parliament Street, decided to become one united Church. After considerable debate, the new society decided to house the new Mission at the Lower Parliament Street site. In order to carry out re-furbisment on that site, services and church meetings were held in St. Catherine's Church, St. Ann's Well Road, for about a year. The final service at Parliament Street Church was held on 10 May 1987 followed by the initial service at St Catherine's on 17 May 1987. From that date on, all church services (Morning Service began at 11.00 am) and meetings took place on St. Catherine's premises.
|Last amended 23-Feb-2012 14:28||Copyright © Ian Grant - Web implementation by Eric Foxley||Visits Chapter 18 OK|