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Thanks for the replies I am sure its the right one. Yes Judy I posted the other two they were sent to me, they are on here as well. I think I will hold back on posting photo's until I have checked them, which I usually do. It will mean I can't post so many though.
pam and mike..ive added the church to my list of pics to search for at the library...fingers crossed...mike i recall looking for pics of this church ages ago without success but there wil be one somewhere...
before i sort out gords photos to post here are his memories of st james church...
Saint James Church
Our family church was called Saint James and the denomination was “Church of
England” or Anglican. I say family church but really only Gran and I attended with any
regularity. Mom and Dad were married at the church in 1936 and I was also baptized there.
My mother rarely attended church except perhaps at Christmas and Easter and as far as I
can recall my father never did.
Saint James was a beautiful old building in the traditional Gothic style of
architecture and was located on the corner of Whitehead Road and Ettington Road. The
inside was resplendent with stone and wood detail. Stained glass windows adorned either
side of the church and above the alter. A beautiful wind organ, worthy of a Cathedral, took
up the entire right side of the chancel. The sound was magnificent with the bass notes
reverberating throughout the entire building.
The steeple contained two bells that were rung from the choir vestry but hadn’t
worked properly since Bobby “Nobby” Clarke had swung on the rope and dislodged them
causing considerable damage. I was the tallest chorister by far at six feet four inches and in
spite of the fact that I was not a trained singer I had a reasonably good voice and sang bass.
Generally I attended church twice on Sunday, Matins in the morning and Evensong at
night, plus choir practice on Thursday evening.
After choir practice some of the teenage choristers, which included Freddie Batch,
Peter Howes, Brian Armfield, Dennis Archer and I would go the church hall in Witton
Road next to the Guild Inn, where a youth club was held. It was a very loosely organized
affair; the itinerary was mostly recreational activities such as dancing, table tennis and
other games or just standing around talking. Basically it was a place for teenage boys and
girls to socialize. Later Brian Armfield became organist and choirmaster.
The resident vicar at St James in the mid-fifties was the Reverend Maxwell. He
was a nice man but some of his sermons could be a little uninspiring, which is perhaps not
untypical of many preachers. On more than one occasion I would have to nudge fellow
bassist Gilbert Perkins out of a nap when his snoring got too conspicuous but the Reverend
Maxwell had his own technique for rousing a drifting congregation. After droning on in a
monotonic voice for a while he would often shout out loud without warning to emphasize a
particular point. Heads would bob up in the congregation making it quite obvious who
having a crafty nap.
Gran attended services faithfully at St. James until she was physically unable to do
so. At the start of the service the choir would begin singing in the vestry on the left hand
side of the church and then parade up the side aisle to the back of the church where the
baptismal font was then down the center aisle to the choir stalls. Gran said she used to love
to hear my voice as I came past her and as a result I always sang louder for her.
I left St. James and England in 1960. I don’t know how long my Cassock hung in
the choir vestry after I had gone but it must have been quite a conversation piece. When I
returned for a visit in 1963 I put on my cassock and surplice and had a photo taken in the
choir stall where I used to sit. I look a little distracted in the picture, more a result of bad
timing than anything. My brother Philip also became active in the church, joining the choir
as a soprano and later learning to play the organ under the tutelage of the organist Brian
Armfield - Brian and I had sung in the choir together years before.
With the church being so much a part of our family’s history, you can imagine how
I felt when I learned that in the 1970’s the building had been torn down and a modern
church erected in its place. Strangely enough the old church hall - which is a makeshift
structure of wood and corrugated iron - was still there the last time I visited in 2014.
I regret to say that I didn't go in there again after I was christened at three weeks old and my parents moved to Sparkhil only a year after that with two moves in between. Now just another building to add to the missing buildings list. :-(
here are gords photos he has kindly sent me to post folks...all taken inside st james church..
pic 1 is of gord and is brother phillip taken in 1963
pic 2 phillip playing the church organ being watched over by gords wife
pic 3 the alter of st james
pic 4 the wedding of a friends sister conducted by the rev maxwell who is standing on the left..