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Rushden Echo, Friday 23rd November 1900, transcribed by Gill Hollis
New Chapel On The Wellingborough Road
Independent Wesleyan Extension At Rushden

Memorial Stones Laid - Over £234 Raised In One Day

From the Architect's drawing
From the architect’s drawing

  While Mr. T. Surridge was reading a portion of scripture last Monday at the ceremony of laying the memorial stones of the handsome new school-chapel which is being erected by the Independent Wesleyans of Rushden, to cope with the growing population in the Wellingborough-road end of town, his hearers could not fail to be struck with the singularly appropriate character of the verses—relating to the dedication of the Second Temple—particularly the promise that “the glory of the latter house shall be greater than of the former.” Architecturally, as will be seen by the illustration above, there can be no doubt that the glory of the latter house – the one on the Wellingborough-road will be infinitely greater than that of the soon-to-be superseded iron chapel in Station-road; and if there is an equal increase in the moral influence and the spiritual power in the work to be carried on in the new premises, then indeed the people in the neighbourhood will have reason to be devoutly thankful for the new place of worship, for even under the old and sadly-hampered conditions a very vigorous and helpful work has been accomplished.

  The new buildings are situated at the juncture of Wellingborough-road and Brookfield-road, the front part of the site being reserved for the future church and the caretaker’s house.  The scheme comprises a commodious assembly-hall with a light gallery around the sides and front end;  also lecture-room, five class rooms, cloak room, lavatory, &c.  The design is Gothic, and the walls are of brick with stone dressings.  The roof of the hall is partially open, the ceiling being of pitch pine boarding with arched timbers.  Abundant provision is made for heating, ventilating, and lighting, and the building is admirably adapted to the purpose for which it was designed.  The assembly hall and gallery will seat 450 persons.  Two class-rooms are placed at the front end of the hall, and, by means of rolling partitions, can be added to it, thus providing increased accommodation for 50 persons.  The architect is Mr. John Wills, of Derby and London, who so successfully planned the admirable chapel built by the Wesleyan Methodists at Irthlingborough; and the builder is Mr. G. Henson, of Wellingborough.  Mr. T. Surridge is the treasurer of the building fund, and the secretary is Mr. G. F. White, with Miss Clipson as assistant secretary.  Their efforts have been well supported by Mr. John Clark (superintendent of the Sunday school), Mr. John Spencer and Mr. F. Bandey (the stewards), and by other members of the mission.

The Stone Laying Ceremony

opened at 3 p.m. in the presence of a large company, including the Revs. T. G. Harper, of Wellingborough (who presided), C. F. Groom (Wesleyan), and M. E. Parkin (Congregationalist), Messrs. G. Denton, John Spencer, C. G. Cunnington, F. DeBow, D. S. Clipson, King, F. White, (secretary of the scheme), G. Green, G. Yates, G. Higgs, J. Claridge, John Clark, John Jaques, James Jaques, E. Wrighton, Button, W. Gutterridge, William Mackness, F. Bandey, and many others.

  After an appropriate hymn, Mr. T. Surridge read a portion of scripture, and the Rev. C. F. Groom offered up prayer.

  The Rev. Chairman said that seven years ago Mr. John Clark and a few earnest workers in connection with the Queen-street church accepted a great and arduous responsibility at the request of that church. It was recognised that in the Wellingborough-road part of this growing town there was very little facility for teaching children or for directing people into the ways of God, and a small Sunday school was started in Moor-road. Mr. Clark and others renounced their privileges of worship at Queen-street and undertook the responsibility of conducting the school. They scarcely realized how the work would extend in a few years. Now their friends were accepting

Increased Responsibilities

not in a feeling of pride or of self-confidence but in humble piety, believing that God would bless their efforts. (Hear, hear.)

  Stones were then laid by the following :--

  Mr. J. Freeborough, of Sheffield, president of the Wesleyan Reform Union. Contribution £10.

  Mr. Wm. Brookes, of Sheffield, hon. secretary of the Wesleyan Reform Union. £5.

  Mr. F. W. Abbott, C. C. of  Wellingborough. £2. 2s.

  Miss May Skinner. £5.

  Miss Wallis, of Bozeat, (on behalf of her father Mr. Thos. Wallis, who was unable to attend). £5.

  Mr. George Tailby, of Stanwick,. £5.

  Mr. W. F. Wills, of Derby (son of Mr. J. Wills, the architect). £5.

  Mr. Surridge, of Rushden (on behalf of the Bozeat Independent Wesleyan Sunday School), £6. 6s.

  Mr. James Jaques (on behalf of the Queen-street Sunday School). £10.

  Mrs. John Clark (on behalf of the Ladies Sewing  Meeting). £25.

  Miss Whiteman (for the first class of girls at Station-road). £5.

  Mr. Ernest Bandey (on behalf of the Station-road Band of Hope). £5.

  Mr. Wm. Mackness (for the Mission Silver Band). £10.

  Miss Elizabeth Eden (for the first class of boys at the Mission). £5.

  Mrs. Coles, in memory of her two deceased children, the stone being inscribed “In loving memory of Joseph and Reggie Coles, of this school.” £5.

  Mr. John Clark (for the Mission Sunday School). £25.

  In the course of the ceremony several

Interesting Speeches

were made.

  Mr. Freeborough said they were setting in motion a work the result of which it was impossible to foresee and to over-estimate.  He trusted that the work would be enormously blessed by the erection of that house of worship.

  Mr. Brookes said he was glad to be in Rushden again after so brief an interval, for he was here two years ago at a similar function at the High-street church.  He believed they were seeking to meet the requirements of the coming century, and he trusted they would continue vigorously to pursue their work and not rest satisfied until every house in Rushden was reached.  (Hear, hear.)

  Mr. Abbott said that from a few miles distant he had watched with great satisfaction the evolution of Rushden from a large village to an important town and an important centre of manufacture and merchandise;  and it was a credit to those in Rushden who were responsible for the religious life and the municipal arrangements that they had been able to keep pace with the

Phenominal Growth Of The Town

If there was a town in Northamptonshire that deserved help from the outside it was Rushden.  He was thankful they had arisen to the occasion and were doing their part in providing for the spiritual needs of this important and increasing place, and he hoped the work they were starting that day would be a great and a grand success in every way.  (Hear, hear.)

  Mr. Tailby said he remembered Wesleyan Methodism when it was first introduced into Rushden, an evening service being held in a small room in the town, from which the Wesleyans subsequently removed to a small cottage at the top of the Green.  He trusted this new departure would be not only a spiritual but a financial success.  (Hear, hear.)

  Mr. Surridge, speaking of the Bozeat Sunday school, on whose behalf he was laying a stone, said he was an old scholar of the school, which had taken a very active part in the religious instruction of the young and which had sent into the large centres men and women who were doing a good work, including local preachers, superintendents, and Sunday school teachers.


were then laid by the following, who placed sums varying from 2s  6d. to 5s. on them; - Mr. Surridge, Mrs. Surridge, Geo. Sharpe, S. Peck, H. Groome, Mrs. Higgs, Mrs. Turner, Theresa Clark (who also laid bricks for Frances Ida, her younger sister, and in memory of Edith Annie), Mabel Bull, H. Leighton, Elsie Robbins, Lottie Drage, Florrie Perkins, Grace Clark, Charley Clarke, Thos. Clarke, Elsie King, Rose Holmes, Cecil Osborne, Mabel Goodwin, H. A. Dickens, W. T. Dickens, T. Arthur Higgs, S. S. Higgs, Arthur Cox, Willie Bates, H. B. West, and Cecil Dickens.

  An adjournment was then made to the Queen-street schools, where tea was provided, the following committee carrying out the arrangements most satisfactorily :-- Mrs. Surridge, Mrs. Coles, Mrs. J. Mackness, Mrs. John Spencer, Mrs. Drage, Mrs. Ray, Mrs. Cowley, Mrs. Higgs, Messrs. Coles, W. Mackness, Burbidge, and Cowley.

  In the evening

A Public Meeting

was held in the school-room. Mr. Joseph Mackness presiding over a large attendance. He was supported by the Rev. W. L. Lee, of Kettering, the Rev. T. G. Harper, Mr. Freeborough, Mr. Brookes, Mr. F. W. Abbott, and Mr. Frank White (secretary).

  Several suitable hymns were sung, Miss Clipston presiding at the harmonium.

  The Chairman said that perhaps some had questioned the wisdom of the step they were taking. He believed they were taking the right step. (Hear, hear.) When they remembered there were costly buildings arising in all parts of Rushden for the purpose of alluring men and women, young and old, to partake of that which had a tendency to ruin body and soul, and when they remembered that the building which they as Independent Wesleyans were about to erect was in a locality where there were about 3,000 souls, then it was their duty to put forth strenuous efforts in order that they might meet the spiritual requirements of the people in that locality. (Hear, hear.)

  Mr. F. White then gave the

Financial Statement

The liabilities were as follows :--
Building and architects fees
Heating, fencing, and furnishing
Cost of ground
The income had been as follows :--
Harvest festival and anniversary collections
Bank interest
Balance  of steward’s account
Sale of the Station-road property 
Stone-laying, bricks and donations
Collected Monday afternoon
Proceeds of tea
Promised by the opening 
£ 755

  The Chairman said he considered that a very satisfactory report.

  Mr. F. W. Abbott said that if there was a living go-a-head church in Northamptonshire surely it was the Rushden Independent Wesleyan Church. There was a great deal of honour due to them for the noble efforts they were making to meet the spiritual demands of

The Ever-Increasing Town

Rushden was an industrial population. They had not any rich men settling in their midst. It was a population of hard-working people, who could not give money in large quantities to church expenses, and that fact richly claimed help from the outside. He felt a great amount of sympathy for any cause where extension was going on, and especially when that cause was composed of working people. He believed the people of Rushden were not likely to rust out. (Hear, hear.)

  Mr. Freeborough described that building scheme as a bold one and indicated what was probably one of the most admirable traits of Britons and that was pluck. (Hear, hear.) In an able exposition of the Free Church federation movement he said their conception of the Christian Church was that it was a community of believers who had found amongst themselves a common basis of faith and action. They did not require any infallible Pope to lay down the lines of their doctrines, nor did they did the direction of a worthy archbishop

As To The Ritual

by which they were to give expression to their devotion. (Hear, hear.) The Church’s prime object should be to make itself an instrument for righteousness throughout the country. One of the most scandalous impostures was for any man who called himself a priest or any other name to assume that he could advance or bar any man’s eternal welfare. (Cheers.) The great charm of the Free Church movement was that it dealt with the individual upon the principle of holiness of living. Personal holiness was the great theme they must preach in these days. (Hear, hear.)   The Christian Church was the only organization that could direct the course of national life and bring upon it a healthy belief, sound doctrine, and sound teaching.  At one time perhaps the Free Churches were looked down upon socially, but that time had passed away, and some of the most cultivated minds of the country were in their ministry.  Some of the leaders of the Free Churches were absolutely the finest product of their national life, and when one read

Ridiculous Sneers

at the Nonconformist conscience they could treat them with good-humoured pity as an indication that the writer had altogether missed his forte or for his own base and sordid purposes was actually using his pen to the degradation of a great ideal. (Hear, hear.)  The Nonconformist conscience was a glorious ideal.  It started with the idea of personal holiness, individual excellence, and from that it radiated throughout the whole life of man that in every department of life, business, pleasure, politics, and social relationships, his conscience must be regulated by the same moral principles as he brought to bear upon the Sabbath day. (Cheers.)

  Mr. Brookes said that among the most hopeful signs of the times were the federation of the Free Churches and the increased spread of the scriptures. He impressed upon those present the importance of the coming simultaneous mission and wished them God-speed in their extensions at Wellingborough-road, pointing out that with the increased responsibilities there would be increased opportunities for doing good.

  In a speech maintaining throughout

A High Spiritual Tone,

the Rev. W. L. Lee said he hoped that in this rapidly growing town of Rushden, with all its sin – and there was sin in all their growing towns – with all its indifference and all the difficulties before them, the stones they had laid that day might be the symbols to all the people around that they had not lost hold of the great eternal realities, that God is God, that God is eternal, that God abhors sin, that God would love men into holiness, that God sends retribution upon men in His own love and His own desire for holiness.

  On the motion of Mr. Harper, seconded by Mr. John Spencer, a comprehensive vote of thanks was passed to the chairman, speakers, secretary, and others.

  The collection realized £5  0s.  0½d., and donations brought up the total for the day to £234. 0s. 11d.

  A coffee-supper followed.                                  

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