79. From Trinity to Mile Cross

Involvement in Trinity Methodist Church

During this period, our family and grandma and grandad continued to be involved with Trinity Methodist Chapel in Kirkby. This was particularly until we moved to Norwich in 1960 and grandma and grandad followed us in 1963.

Grandad’s Involvement was Pretty Minimal

Grandad’s involvement was fairly minimal. He may have been a Trustee and he attended special services, such as anniversaries.

References to “Trinity

Grandad first referred to Trinity in October 1959. So, at the start of this period, both the buildings at Bourne and on Diamond Avenue were potentially in use under the umbrella of Trinity. More detail of this is provided later in this chapter.

Two chapels combined to form Trinity Methodist. The photos above and below show the chapel in Diamond Avenue around May 1962 (above) and in 1961 (below).
Two chapels combined to form Trinity Methodist. The photos above and below show Bourne Primitive Methodist chapel in 1961

Church and Chapel

Also, at the end of the 1950s and into the 1960s, mum and grandad both began to refer to church and chapel more interchangeably. Previously, they had always referred to Bourne as chapel. However, during this period, they also sometimes referred to it as church.

Involvement After We Moved to Norwich

From 1960 to 1963, we were living in Norwich but grandma and grandad were still in Kirkby. During this period, we visited Kirkby frequently . During those visits, we took part in the activities of Trinity. For example, both Alan and I were christened in Kirkby, on 5 August 1962 and on 30 October 1960 respectively, despite living in Norwich at the time.

I am not sure why mum and dad made this decision. It may have been partly because of the affinity they still felt for Kirkby as a place. However, their close personal friendship with Mary and Derrick Leach may also have been a factor.

Grandma Often Took Family and Friends to Chapel

Grandma frequently took family and friends to chapel activities including, during this period, Cyril and Minnie, Eva, Doris, Olive, Alma, Auntie Bertha, Jim, Renie, Mrs Leeson and Mrs Merry. She was good friends with her next-door neighbour, Florrie Booth, and they went to many chapel activities together.

Coffee Mornings and Evenings

Saturday coffee mornings were held every two weeks and mum sometimes went to these when we visited from Norwich. Coffee mornings and evenings were also held at people’s homes.

Sunday School

Tricia started attending Sunday School in Kirkby and continued once we had moved to Norwich. Mum had been active in the Sunday School in Kirkby so when we moved they gave her some money as a gift with which she later bought a can opener, see Chapter 84.

Youth Activities

Dad continued to be involved in the youth club until we moved and grandma was involved in various youth activities, such as a youth festival and youth council.


Mum and dad had been active choir members and they continued to be involved until we moved. In fact, sometimes when we were back visiting, mum would go and sit with the choir.

Bright Hour

One of grandma’s main areas of involvement was in women’s Bright Hour meetings. She was sometimes the speaker, e.g. in January 1960. Sometimes, before we moved to Norwich, mum played piano for Bright Hour meetings. When mum moved, the ladies of Bright Hour bought mum a hairdryer and, when grandma moved, they bought her a glass vase which passed to mum when grandma died and then to me. Details of that gift were reported in the local press.

Cut glass vase given to grandma by the ladies of Bright Hour as a leaving present when she moved to Norfolk in 1963
Newspaper cutting concerning the leaving do and present for grandma when she moved from Kirkby to Norfolk

Men’s Activities

Dad sometimes took part in activities for the men of the chapel when we were visiting from Norwich.

Metal Box Factory

For example, in October 1960, he attended the men’s fireside and, in November 1961, went with them and Derrick Leach to visit the Metal Box factory in Mansfield.

This was a factory where metal tins for chocolates, such as Quality Street were made. They were known by this name because the buildings were owned by the Metal Box company. The buildings were demolished after 2010 leaving only the clock tower standing. There are plans to build retirement properties on the site.

Metal Box clock tower in Mansfield © Stephen McKay and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Family Circle

Mum also sometimes attended Family Circle activities both before we moved and also when we made visits back to Kirkby.

Saturday Night Concerts

There were also still sometimes activities, such as concerts, on a Saturday night, for example one given by Joan McCourt’s choir in 1962.

Garden Parties

During the summer months, chapel members also hosted garden parties. For example, in June 1960, grandma helped Mrs Munns with a garden party she was hosting.

Above and below – Mrs Munns’ garden party in June 1960. I don’t know everyone so have numbered the ones I think I know which are Joy Jones (nee Munns) [1]; Winifred Munns [2]; Denise Philips (nee Jones) [3]; Derrick Leach [4]; Florence Bust [5]; Alice Wright [6]; grandma [7]; Tricia [8]; mum [9]; Mary Leach [10]; Mrs Robinson [11]; Mabel Hibbert [12]; and Alice Bacon [13]

In July that year, grandma and grandad hosted a garden party but the weather was bad and most people stayed inside. Nevertheless, about 80-90 people attended and they raised over £8.

In 1962, grandma and Florrie Booth hosted a garden party jointly at grandma and grandad’s house. They raised more than £25. It was opened by Mrs Durance and she was presented with flowers and chocolates by my sister, Tricia, as we were visiting Kirkby.

 I do not know the exact event or date but it was taken in grandma and grandad’s garden in Kirkby. I think that is dad kneeling in the foreground with me, which would date this to around 1962 so it could be the garden party in the text. Derrick Leach appears to be taking a service and that may be Mary Leach on the right in the green.

Other Chapel Fundraising Activities

Other chapel fundraising activities included grandma and grandad selling flower bulbs they had bought on their way home from Norfolk in October 1961. They had bought 1½ hundredweight (about 75kg). Also, in December 1961, there was a gift day and turkey supper. Two days beforehand, Rev Leach brought the turkey for grandma to cook which she did the next day.


The chapel put on a pantomime in January or February of each year. In 1960, mum and dad were in the pantomime, “Sleeping Beauty”. They performed over three nights. The first, on a Thursday was for old age pensioners and the second was for children. Mum felt the audiences got better each night. They raised about £17. From 1961 to 1963, grandma went to the pantomime, often with family or friends. In 1962, it was “Beauty and the Beast” and, in 1963, “Robinson Crusoe”.

Cast of 1960 Trinity pantomime, Sleeping Beauty with dad circled
Mum, Evelyn Rowe, Mr Lee, John Lamb, Mary Leach, Mrs Lowe – perhaps the back stage team?
Ron Rowe and dad in Trinity’s 1960 pantomime, Sleeping Beauty

Chapel Outings

There were a variety of chapel outings during this period.

Cadbury’s Bournville

The ladies went to Cadbury’s Bournville in May 1960. Mum had visited this factory in 1952, see Chapter 52.

Willersley Castle

The ladies went to Willersley Castle in May 1961. Trinity ladies had been there in 1959 for a missionary meeting, see Chapter 69.


The ladies went to Epworth in May 1961. Given the strong links to Methodism, this was a common place for family to visit, for example, see Chapter 52.

Postcard from Epworth labelled “went here 20th May 1961”

CWS Biscuit Factory

The ladies went to the CWS biscuit factory in Manchester in August 1961. Crumpsall Biscuit Works opened in around 1873. It produced a number of products in addition to biscuits, including cakes, sweets, toffees, drugs and sundries. The name CWS seems to originate from Co-operative Wholesale Society. The building was demolished in the early 1980s and the iconic clock tower was restored and put up for sale.

CWS biscuit tin featuring the works in Manchester

Pantomime in Nottingham

The ladies went to a pantomime in Nottingham in March 1962. Grandad did not say what the pantomime was but I found details elsewhere which showed it was “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” featuring Ronnie Hilton. It was at the Theatre Royal.

Frears Biscuit Factory

The ladies went to the Frears biscuit factory in Leicester in April 1962 although grandma did not go as she was unwell. Frears Biscuits was established in 1926 and operated until 1963 when the business was sold to Nabisco. The factory closed in 1983.

Examples of Frears biscuit tins


The ladies went to Cleethorpes in June 1962. The photo below shows grandma with “Edna”. I am not entirely sure who this was. I am grateful to members of the Cleethorpes Memories Facebook Group for identifying the location as the southern end of the Central Promenade in Cleethorpes although most, if not all, of the buildings have been replaced. Apparently, there was a roving photographer in the area with a collection booth on the prom. I don’t know if this picture was taken by the photographer or someone who was on the chapel trip.

Grandma and “Edna” in Cleethorpes in 1962.

Birds Factory

The ladies went round the Birds factory in June 1962. There is a photograph of this in the book “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs” by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee (p84).

Portland College

The ladies went to Portland College in October 1962.

Main building Portland College © Richard Vince and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Lin Can Factory

The ladies went to the Lin Can factory in King’s Lynn in August 1963. This was a food canning factory that opened in the 1930s. The buildings were demolished sometime after 2008. Prior to that, Lin Can was taken over by Cerebos and then Del Monte.

Advert for Lin Can

Grandma Went on These Trips

Grandma went on all these trips with the exception of the trip to the Frears Biscuit factory. She should have gone but was unwell. 

Mum Went on Some of the Trips

Mum went on the trips to Willersley Castle and Epworth.

Sunday School Trip to Markeaton Park

In addition, the Sunday School went to Markeaton Park in Derby in both May 1960 and 1961. On the latter occasion, mum, dad, Tricia and I all went as we were visiting Kirkby at the time. Mum noted that Tricia and I really enjoyed it.

Tricia and me in swings in Markeaton Park
Tricia, dad and me in a boat at Markeaton Park
Me in swing in Markeaton Park

Sunday School Trip to Chesterfield Park

In July 1962, the Sunday School outing was to Chesterfield Park. There are a number of parks in Chesterfield but perhaps this is referring to Queen’s Park.

Postcard of Queen’s Park, Chesterfield

Colman’s Mustard Factory

In October 1961, the Trinity ladies went on an outing to visit the Colman’s Mustard Factory in Norwich. My brother-in-law, Gary Tidy, worked there for many years. The ladies called at ours for a cup of tea and mum and grandma swapped over. Mum went with the ladies to the factory and grandma stayed and looked after us.

Colman’s Carrow Works, Norwich © Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Advert for Colman’s from the Royal Norfolk Show catalogue in 1970

Highlights of the Chapel Calendar

During this period, highlights of the chapel calendar remained the Sunday School Anniversaries and the Whit processions.

Anniversaries in 1960

We were still living in Kirkby for the main anniversary in May 1960 and the Primary Anniversary in July 1960.

Venue for the Anniversaries in 1960

I am not entirely sure in which building these anniversaries were held as this was the period when Bourne and Diamond Avenue chapels had combined under the name of Trinity and both buildings were potentially available.  Based on Bill Clay-Dove’s book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield: An Interesting Township” (p60), it seems that at this time Bourne’s buildings were being used while the Diamond Avenue chapel was being refurbished.

Speakers at the Anniversaries in 1960

The preachers at the main anniversary were Derrick Leach one week and Rev H Salmon the next. At the Primary Anniversary, the preacher was Rev Verrinder. The main anniversary raised a total of £94.

Recording the Anniversaries in 1960

Mum recorded parts of the main anniversary and, a few days later, dad took the recording of the anniversary to a Mrs Fleet. I assume she was someone who had been involved in the Sunday School and was too unwell or frail to attend. She would have been about 79 as she died in 1963 aged 82.

Tricia and the Anniversaries in 1960

Tricia was on the platform for all three services of the Primary Anniversary and mum noted that she enjoyed it. She was just over two years old at this point.

Anniversaries in 1961

We were also in Kirkby for the anniversaries the next year, in 1961. These were held in the Diamond Avenue Sunday School as Bourne had closed by this point and the Diamond Avenue chapel was being refurbished. The first week, Derrick Leach was the preacher. That year, the anniversaries raised £75.

Order of service for Trinity Sunday School Anniversary 1961

Anniversaries in 1962

Grandad did not go to the anniversaries in 1962 but grandma did with Eva on the first Sunday and with Auntie Bertha, Jim, Renie and Vera on the second.

Anniversaries in 1963

In September 1963, just before they moved to Norfolk, both grandma and grandad went to the Sunday School Anniversary, along with Auntie Bertha, Jim, Renie and Mrs Merry. I am not sure why the anniversary was held in September that year.

Whit Processions in the Early Sixties

We were still living in Kirkby for Whit 1960 and we were visiting at Whit in both 1961 and 1963 so took part in the processions those years.

Whit Procession 1960

Whit Monday 1960, fell on 6 June, just two days after I had been born. Grandma and dad walked round with Tricia in the pushchair. Mum watched from our house at 41 Diamond Avenue and both Auntie Bertha and grandad sat with her.

Whit Processions 1961 and 1962

In both 1961 and 1962, grandad took photos of the procession passing their house in Welbeck Street. We did not come in 1962 as that coincided with when my brother Alan was born.

Whit Procession 1963

By 1964, grandma and grandad had moved to Norfolk. So, I think the last Whit procession we attended in Kirkby was in 1963.

Whit procession in 1960 – this photo is taken from our house, 41 Diamond Avenue, and shows the procession turning from Crocus Street into Diamond Avenue. It seems to focus on the Trinity banner with Derrick Leach the middle of the three men in front of the banner
This photo, of the 1960 Whit procession as well, is also taken from our house, 41 Diamond Avenue, and shows the procession turning from Crocus Street into Diamond Avenue. It shows grandma, Tricia (in pushchair) and dad (all circled)
Grandma and Tricia in the 1960 Whit procession
Photo of the 1961 Whit walk taken by grandad as the procession passed their house, 96 Welbeck Street. It shows mum and dad with me in the pushchair. Tricia is just visible on mum’s right
Dad and me (in pushchair) on the 1961 Whit walk. I assume mum took this photo which explains why she is not in it. The photo does capture the Trinity banner with Derrick Leach on the extreme left
Whit walk 1961
Dad with me on Whit walk 1961
Whit Walk 1963. Tricia and me walking in the procession. It looks like a back-up pushchair on the left
Derrick Leach ahead of the Trinity banner on the Whit walk in 1963
Kathryn Leach on the Whit procession in 1963 in her pram. She was born on 21 May 1962 so would have been around one at this point
Tricia (circled) on the Whit walk in 1963

The Church Calendar

During this period, there was the usual calendar of church services including covenant services, communion services, Harvest Thanksgiving, carol and other services in the run up to Christmas, and watchnight services, although watchnight services do not appear to have been held every New Year’s Eve.

A Christmas Tree

On 18 December 1961, grandad noted that the council put up a Christmas tree on the forecourt of Trinity church. Grandma and Florrie Booth went for the light up.

Weddings and Funerals

There were also various weddings (see Chapter 77) and funerals (see Chapter 78).

Leadership and Other Roles

Mum and dad were involved in various leadership roles. Mum did some secretarial-type work for the chapel. For example, in March 1960, she typed out questions for a Bible Quiz held at Brook Street in April.

I think dad was a church steward. He is probably the Roy D identified as a steward by Edith Searson in her book “I Remember” (p72). Dad may also have been a Trustee. He certainly attended Trustee meetings as did grandad. On 19 December 1960, grandad attended a Trustees’ meeting and noted that Meridian had offered £5,750 for the Bourne chapel.

Grandma may also have been involved in church leadership. In May 1962, she went to the District Synod in Derby with Derrick Leach and John Lamb.

Taking Services

Dad still took some services, e.g. at the old people’s home in Kirklands (see Chapter 69) in January 1960.

Attending Services and Meetings at Other Chapels

During this period, grandma especially attended services and meetings at a range of Methodist chapels across the circuit and district.

The Hill

For details of this chapel in Kirkby, see Chapter 54.

Kirkby Park

Details of this chapel are provided in Chapter 17. There is a great picture of their Sunday School banner on the My Primitive Methodists website.

Outram Street, Sutton in Ashfield

Interestingly, grandad refers to it as church and mum as chapel. For details of the church/chapel, see Chapter 69.

Brook Street, Sutton in Ashfield

For details of this chapel, see Chapter 54.

New Cross, Sutton in Ashfield

For details of this chapel, see Chapter 54.


For details of this chapel, see Chapter 69.

Forest Road, Annesley Woodhouse

For details of this chapel, see Chapter 54.

Eakring Road, Mansfield

In grandad’s diary, the name of the road is not very legible. The first two letters look like Ea. It appears there was a Primitive Methodist Chapel in Eakring Road in Mansfield.

Nottingham Road, Mansfield

For details of this chapel, see Chapter 17.

Bridge Street, Mansfield

For details of this chapel, see Chapter 54.


For details of this chapel, see Chapter 54.

Stanton Hill

For details of this chapel, see Chapter 54.


The current church is in Chilwell Road and there is an excellent history of Methodist churches in Beeston on their website. The Chilwell Road chapel was originally Wesleyan and opened in 1902. In 2014, all the Methodist churches in Beeston joined together as one church. This included the Wollaton Road chapel which had originally been Primitive Methodist. A final service was held there on 19 May 2019 and the building was sold.

Beeston Methodist Church formerly Chilwell Road Methodist Church © Andrewrabbott and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Woolaton Road Primitive Methodist Chapel in Beeston © David Lally and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence


There appear to be two places called Pilsley. Both are in Derbyshire. One is to the west of Chesterfield while the other is to the south. I have assumed it was the latter as this was much closer to Kirkby. This church was part of the Ashfield Methodist circuit in 1959. According to Barrie Smith’s book “A Brief Record of the Ashfield Circuit (22/13) 1959-2010”, it was originally Wesleyan. The chapel was built in 1868 and the Sunday School in 1900. The chapel became unsafe and was demolished in 1996. Services were held in the Sunday School until 2009. 

 Pilsley chapel, schools and burial ground. Photo reproduced with permission from Barrie Smith’s book “A Brief Record of the Ashfield Circuit (22/13) 1959-2010”

South Normanton

The chapel in South Normanton was originally a Primitive Methodist chapel and the original entrance still has the words Primitive Methodist Zion Church. A new entrance was added in 2019. However, the church closed in October 2021 and the building was put up for sale.

South Normanton Zion Primitive Methodist Chapel showing old entrance © Dave Bevis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence


The original building in Southwell dates to 1839 and is a listed building. An extension and new entrance were added in 1996.

Southwell Methodist Church showing original entrance © Ian Taylor and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Southwell Methodist Church showing new entrance constructed in 1996 © Alan Murray-Rust and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence


It appears that they may have two sites in Ilkeston, one on Bath/Wilmot Street, called St Andrews, and one on Nottingham Road. There is a very detailed history of Primitive Methodist chapels in Ilkeston on the My Primitive Methodists website. Apparently, Bath Street had both a Primitive Methodist and a Wesleyan chapel. Both were demolished in the 1970s with a new church – St Andrew’s – being formed. It appears there might have been quite a number of Methodist chapels in Ilkeston.

Reasons to Visit Other Chapels

There were various reasons for going to other chapels including quarterly meetings; anniversaries; conferences; Wesley Day services; ladies’ meetings and rallies; youth meetings, festivals and rallies; home and overseas missions meetings; weddings; funerals; and Bible quizzes.

To Hear a Specific Speaker

Grandma also went sometimes specifically to hear particular preachers.

John Rand’s Trial Sermon

In February 1962, grandma went to Annesley Woodhouse to hear John Rand’s trial sermon. This is part of the process of becoming a Methodist local preacher. As part of their training, a local preacher needs to complete two such services in which they are assessed by two preachers and a steward.

Conference President

In December 1961, grandma went to Mansfield Bridge Street to hear the President of the Methodist Conference. Based on a list of Presidents of the Methodist conference, I think this was Maldwyn Edwards.

Services and Events of Other Denominations

Grandma also went to services and events of other denominations.

Mansfield Baptist Church

She particularly attended activities at Mansfield Baptist Church, see Chapter 54, as that was the church that Jim and Renie attended. Such activities included Easter services, anniversaries and special musical performances, such as “The Messiah” in November 1962. In June 1960, mum noted attending a Summer Fair at the Baptist Church in Mansfield for Grosvenor House girls.

Grosvenor House

I think this was a mother and baby home in Mansfield in Grove Street. From Google Streetview, Grove Street seems to be all car parks now except for one building which seems to belong to CRUSE and the Samaritans and which seems to be numbered 1 and 1A.  Grosvenor House was open by 1949 and had places for nine mothers and five babies.

Inter-denominational Women’s Events

Grandma attended inter-denominational women’s events such as a Ladies’ Day of Prayer at St Thomas’s, see Chapter 54, in March 1960 and at St Wilfrid’s, see Chapter 62, in March 1962.

Ministers’ Fraternal

In February 1960, the Ministers’ Fraternal organised a concert by the Nottingham Salvation Army Band at the Festival Hall, see Chapter 59, in aid of Sue Ryder’s fund for displaced persons. Grandma went with mum and Mary and Derrick Leach. There are some details of the Ministers’ Fraternal in the Kirkby Directory of 1969 (p27).

Other Events at the Festival Hall

There were a number of other events at the Festival Hall including carol services.

Other Ministers’ Fraternal Events

Grandma also attended other ministers’ fraternal events, such as one at Kirkby church in May 1962. I assume this church was one of the Anglican churches, presumably St Wilfrid’s. In his book, Kirkby-in-Ashfield: Yesterday Remembered (Chapter 19, p97), Gerald Lee refers to this as “the mother church”.

Other Denominations

Other denominations grandma attended include the Salvation Army and the Full Gospel chapel. Grandma attended the latter with Annie Holmes in October 1961, see Chapter 78.

Dedication of Coventry Cathedral

In 1962, grandad noted that the new Coventry Cathedral had been dedicated in the presence of the queen. He noted that it was on television and he saw part of it, see Chapter 84.

On 29 November 1962, grandma went to Forest Street Baptist Church to see a film show on Coventry Cathedral.

Coventry Cathedral in 2008 © Steve Cadman and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Friendship with Mary and Derrick Leach

Mum and dad’s friendship with Mary and Derrick Leach was maintained even after we moved to Norwich. Before that, they often came to our house, particularly on a Sunday evening after service. For example, they came over on 28 February after they got back from Ashover. After we had moved, we often went to see them when we were back in Kirkby.

Mum and Mary Leach in 1960

Amalgamation of Bourne and Diamond Avenue Chapels

In 1957, the decision had been taken to amalgamate the Bourne and Diamond Avenue chapels under the name of Trinity, closing Bourne if necessary, see Chapter 69.

Various joint activities were held in 1959 and grandad first referred to the church as Trinity in October of that year. A brief history of the Diamond Avenue building was given on the Trinity website but, when I last checked in May 2023, this was no longer available. The history referred to improvement in 1959 from when the Trinity name was used. It did not refer to the merger with Bourne at all. It mentioned that the old church was “torn down” and replaced with a new church between 1999 and 2001.

Diamond Avenue Methodist Church in June 1959

Both Buildings Were Used for a While

Although the churches and circuits merged in 1959, the two buildings both operated for a while. Initially, Bourne chapel was used while renovations were carried out on the Diamond Avenue chapel. When Bourne was sold, the Sunday School buildings in Diamond Avenue were used until the renovations were complete. For more details of this, see Chapter 69 (p26 and footnote 131). The refurbished Trinity Methodist Church was officially opened and dedicated in May 1962. However, this date was not mentioned on the Trinity website (although, as mentioned above, this site was not active when I last checked).

Opening and Dedication Service

The opening and dedication service was held on a Saturday afternoon followed by a tea and then an evening rally. Mrs Bower of Mansfield carried out the opening with the service of dedication conducted by Rev Swarbrick, the Chairman of Nottingham and Derby District. The preacher was Herbert Simpson. Mrs Richard Ward, formerly Hazel Munns, was the organist and the choirmaster was Arthur Cross. Derrick Leach was still the Minister at this time.

Order of service for the opening and dedication of Trinity Methodist Church in May 1962

We Were Living in Norwich at This Time

By this time, we were living in Norwich and mum’s diary does not mention this service at all. However, grandad noted the basic facts, as captured in the order of service, and that grandma was there all day. Grandad also noted that grandma, Jim, Renie and Vera went to the evening service the next day. The newspaper article mentioned that that service was packed with additional chairs having to be placed in the aisles. Presumably, grandma kept the order of service and either gave it to mum or it passed to mum when grandma died.

Newspaper article from 1 June 1962 concerning the opening of Trinity Church

A Contrast to the Pomp of the Opening of Coventry Cathedral

The newspaper article in the Notts Free Press contrasts the opening with the pomp and ceremony of the opening of Coventry Cathedral which had taken place the previous day.

Structural Changes

The article noted some of the structural changes including installation of modern windows and a vestibule entrance, covering of the front of the church with grey-green cement and removal of the front wall.

Changes Inside

There were significant changes inside including bringing in the old pulpit from Bourne and the organ from Diamond Avenue.

The Bourne Pulpit

Edith Searson refers to this in her book “I Remember” (p51). This pulpit formed part of a suite of furniture which the E A Bird family presented to Bourne in 1932 in memory of William and Mary Bird. Bill Clay-Dove also noted this in his book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield: An Interesting Township” (p61) although he refers to the pulpit being donated in memory of Mr B Bird (perhaps Bill?).

The People Involved

Apparently, the minister, Derrick Leach, and Mr J Hibbert were the driving forces behind the changes, see Chapter 69. The photograph in the newspaper article shows (left to right) Rev Herbert Simpson, Rev J V Dibben (circuit minister), Rev J W Swarbrick, Mrs Bower and Rev Derrick Leach. The article also notes that dignitaries and leaders from other churches attended, including the Chairman and Clerk of Kirkby Council and Pastor Pinchbeck. Pastor Pinchbeck wasfrom the Full Gospel Chapel. He had recorded mum’s wedding for grandad so he could hear it, see Chapter 62.

A Later Article

Mum also had, among her papers, another newspaper cutting from the Notts Free Press from August 1973. This documented the final demolition of Bourne chapel. This article noted that the church closed around ten years previously.

Newspaper article from August 1973 concerning the demolition of Bourne chapel

Date of Bourne’s Closure

I wonder if the journalist struggled to get a definitive date for when Bourne closed. As explained in Chapter 69, there were two possible dates. The first was in 1959 when Bourne and Diamond Avenue chapels merged and this is the date given by Edith Searson in her book(let) “I Remember” (p62). This was the date when Bourne ceased to function as a separate entity. Another option is when the building was last used and, according to grandad, this was January 1961.

Meridian Factory

Following closure, the chapel was used by a firm called Meridian for sewing and make-up work. This firm is mentioned by Edith Searson in her book “I Remember” (p62). Also, according to grandad, Meridian paid the church £5,750 for the building.


The article is annotated by mum to say that Derrick Leach christened Tricia, me and Alan there. However, I do not think this is correct. Tricia’s christening took place in August 1958, a year before Derrick and Mary Leach came to Kirkby. Rev Howells, the previous minister, christened her.

In Alan’s case, his christening took place in August 1962. That was more than eighteen months after the last service at Bourne, according to grandad, and the building had been sold. The church had reverted to meeting at the premises on Diamond Avenue. Those refurbished premises had been officially opened some three months earlier. It seems highly unlikely that Alan was christened at Bourne. In my view, it is more likely this was at the Diamond Avenue chapel.

Why Did the Chapels Merge and Bourne Close?

The article gives some idea as to why the merger took place and why Bourne closed. Essentially, numbers declined both before and after the merger. While the numbers present in the 1950s seem large by today’s standards, they were much lower than the hundreds who attended in the early part of the 20th century.

Other Considerations

However, I also found an earlier cutting among mum’s papers, from November 1958. This emphasised that the church and its mineral rights were for sale. It also noted that Bourne, built in 1876, was Kirkby’s oldest Methodist church and that Rev Howells was still the Minister but he was leaving. Rev Howells justified the decision “from the economic point of view and in the best interests of Methodism in the district”. He also commented that the merger with the Diamond Avenue church would result in a “more virile and powerful church”. Also, that article described the merger of the two Sunday Schools as the “greatest headache” facing the amalgamation of the two churches.

The article also states that the “new” Sunday School building was added in 1907. This may explain why photos of the side/back of the chapel that were among mum’s photos have a building at the back which is labelled Centenary 1907 Schools. The centenary referred to appears to be the founding of the Primitive Methodist Church in 1807.

Newspaper article from November 1958 concerning the proposed sale of Bourne chapel

Viewing the Alterations to Trinity Church on Diamond Avenue

In January 1962, grandma and grandad had a walk through Trinity to see the alterations. Grandad went there again to have another look in April 1962.

Using Other Churches While Trinity Was Out of Use

The church was still not ready for use so, on 23 April 1962, John Overfield got married at Hill Methodist Church instead, see Chapter 77. However, the reception was held in Trinity Sunday School.

A Fire

The following year, in April 1963, while visiting us in Norwich, grandma and grandad received a letter from Florrie Booth saying that there had been a fire at Trinity. From the diaries, it seems the fire was on Saturday 6 April 1963. It is briefly described in Bill Clay-Dove’s book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield: An Interesting Township” (p61). Mum phoned Mary Leach for more details as Florrie had not known the extent of the damage when she wrote. It seems that the choir stalls were completely destroyed but, according to Bill Clay-Dove, the organ was unharmed.

Using the Sunday School Building

Later that month, when they were back in Kirkby, grandma went to services at chapel but these were held in the Sunday School building because of the damage caused to the church by the fire.

Another Reopening

On 20 July 1963, grandad noted that mum and dad attended the re-opening of Trinity following the fire. Mum noted this too, However, Bill Clay-Dove reports that this reopening service was in August 1963.

Inside of Trinity Methodist Church in August 1963 just after reopening after the fire. I am grateful to Helen Jay for this photograph and for permission to use it

Issues Related to Methodist Beliefs

There were a number of issues, live at the time, that related to the family’s Methodist beliefs, and which were commented on in the diaries.

Cinemas Opening on Sunday

The first related to whether cinemas should be allowed to open on a Sunday. Apparently, they had been allowed to open during the second world war as an emergency measure. In March 1961, there was a local vote on this in Kirkby with 1,992 votes for and 683 against. This is mentioned in Mark Ashfield’s book “Horses, Herbs and a Cockatoo” (pp19-20). There had been a similar vote in Liverpool in 1947 with 73,926 for and 47,025 against. 

Grandma and grandad were among those who voted against! Reasons given for voting against in a leaflet circulated at the time included that Sunday opening of cinemas was a breach of good faith (apparently when Sunday opening was allowed during the war, it was proposed as an emergency measure only), was not necessary, was undesirable, was a labour question, was a charity farce (this seemed to be a counter to the argument that money made from Sunday opening would be donated to charity), would be bad for children, would not solve social problems, was loose propaganda and was a flouting of God’s word. All sentiments I suspect my grandparents would have agreed with! 

Wallpaper and Wine Bottles

Another example came in February 1962 when mum and dad were selecting wallpaper for the kitchen in Hellesdon. One they had chosen had wine bottles on so mum decided that they would have to choose another one!

Possible Merger of Church of England and Methodist Church

Another issue, which continues to be a live one, related to whether the Church of England and the Methodist Church should join together.

While it seemed, in 2017, that resolution of this issue was close it seems that this issue is once again on the back burner. These articles cover some of the issues on which the two churches may differ or may have differed including political leanings, how Ministers are appointed, the role of women and the nature of marriage. The main driver for joining together appears to be declining congregations. There are many local examples where individual churches have merged.

In February 1963, grandad noted that he had read in the Daily Mail that there was thought of the Church of England and Methodist churches joining. In January 1964, dad and grandma went to a meeting about this at Chapelfield Road Methodist Church in Norwich. Brief historical details are provided on the site. A further meeting was held on this on 23 November 1964 and grandma attended

Chapelfield Road Methodist Church in Norwich circa 2005 © Graham Hardy and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Park Lane Methodist Church

In 1960, when we first moved to Norwich and were living in Newmarket Road, we briefly attended Park Lane Methodist Church. This is the church we attended when we lived in College Road in the 1970s.

St Peter’s Park Lane in the 1970s showing the outside of the building with the church hall in the distance
St Peter’s Park Lane in the 1970s showing the inside of the main church

History of St Peter’s

Originally, from 1824, St Peter’s Wesleyan chapel had been in the centre of Norwich in St Peter Mancroft parish where the Forum is now. In 1894, a second Wesleyan chapel opened on Park Lane. In September 1939, a new larger chapel was built adjacent to the Wesleyan chapel on Park Lane with the older chapel becoming the church hall and being largely rebuilt in the 1960s. However, in 2020, building work uncovered some of the old chapel. When the church closed, it merged with the United Reformed Church in Jessop Road. Mum briefly attended here in around 2016 when she lived at Dell Rose Court. The building on Park Lane has been used by other churches, including the Rivers of Life church. It appears that St Peter’s Park Lane will be demolished to make way for more housing.

St Peter’s Park Lane in January 2022 – the old Wesleyan chapel, that was converted to a church hall, is clearly visible. When we attended in the seventies, this was a church hall and I had no idea that it had been built on the shell of the old chapel. The hall as I remember it is visible in the photograph above. It appears that the old entrance was removed but then additional walls were added in front of the original wall
Postcard of original Wesleyan chapel in Park Lane Norwich

Attending Park Lane

On 24 July 1960, mum noted that dad and Tricia went there to service and Sunday School. Mum and I met them in the afternoon and we went for a walk. The following week, grandma and grandad were with us and mum, grandma and Tricia went to the service and Sunday School. Through August and September 1960, mum, dad and Tricia went there regularly for both services and Sunday School.  

Mile Cross Methodist Church

The first mention of Mile Cross Methodist Church was on 11 September 1960, two days after we had moved to Hellesdon. It was built in 1933. A more detailed history of the church is provided in the conference programme from 1961.

Mile Cross Methodist Church in December 2021 with sign inset

Grandma, dad and Tricia went to service in the morning and Sunday School in the afternoon. During the time we lived in Hellesdon, we attended this church regularly. When friends and family visited us, they often accompanied us to services. These included Ron, Barbara and Sharon Rowe, Minnie, Eva and Doris.

Two Sunday Schools

As children, our main involvement was in Sunday School and we attended two of these, one at the chapel and another at Hellesdon Community Centre. This was close to where we lived. My impression is that this was run from Mile Cross chapel.

Hellesdon Community Centre undergoing renovations in January 2022

Experiences of Sunday School

Initially, just Tricia went and most of her trips there were uneventful. However, on 23 April 1961, she was accused of “showing off” so she and dad came home early! The following year, in May, I did something similar. Mum noted that I had been noisy so we had all come out early. Alan achieved this feat at a much younger age! In May 1963, mum noted taking Alan to Sunday School at the Community Centre in the afternoon but he was too restless so they had to come home. I note that Tricia was showing off, I was noisy and Alan was restless!!

As far as I can work out, I first went to Sunday School when I was around 18 months old, in January 1962, when dad took me to Sunday School prizegiving in the afternoon. By March 1962, I was attending Sunday School regularly.

Times of Sunday School

Initially, the Sunday School in Hellesdon was in the morning with the one at Mile Cross in the afternoon but this changed in April 1962 when the Mile Cross Sunday School moved to the morning. So, the Hellesdon one moved to the afternoon.

Other Children

Other children who attended Sunday School with us in those early days included Timothy (Timmy) Sell and Janette Smith.

Sunday School Parties

In December or January each year, the Sunday Schools held parties which, it seems, we particularly enjoyed.

Other Sunday School Activities

Other Sunday School activities included prizegiving at the end of the year, a carol service in December and anniversaries for both Sunday Schools in the summer with the Mile Cross anniversary in May and the community centre one later in June/July.

Anniversary Performances

Tricia performed recitations at the Community Centre anniversary from the age of three in 1961, 1962 and 1963. However, mum noted that in 1962, when I was two, I would not sit on the platform! In May 1962, at the Mile Cross Sunday School anniversary, the juniors were in the morning, the beginners and primary in the afternoon and the seniors in the evening. Mum considered the first two services very good but she thought the evening service was poor as she was unable to hear.

Comparisons to Bourne Anniversaries

My impression is that the anniversaries at Mile Cross did not quite live up to those that had been held at Bourne in the 1950s, at least as far as mum was concerned. This might have been because of differences between the two chapels or potentially between the two time periods. Attendances at most Methodist churches had declined over this period. It may also have been that mum thought the Bourne anniversaries were better because she was centrally involved in them.

Dad the Sunday School Teacher

Dad was involved as a Sunday School teacher from quite soon after we moved. In addition to teaching, he attended regular teachers’ meetings.

Mum Was Involved in Sunday School and Creche

In April 1961, mum was asked by Mrs George if she would help in the beginners’ department. She initially said no but, by June, had changed her mind. After Alan was born, mum was also involved in creche for church services although sometimes no-one came. People who did creche with mum included Vera Frost and Janet Wright.

Other Chapel Activities

As well as Sunday School, mum and dad got very involved in a range of chapel activities. Dad attended men’s meetings and mum went to some ladies’ meetings but the group mum got most involved in was the Young Wives.  

Young Wives’ Talks

The Young Wives group often had a speaker and they covered a variety of topics. Many were focused on children, family or home life, such as Accidents in the Home, approved schools and the NSPCC. Approved schools operated in the UK from 1933 to 1969 as institutions to which young people could be sent by a court. The talks at Young Wives often had a religious tone, for example, Bringing up Children in the Christian Home. There was a visit from a marriage guidance counsellor and there were also speakers on topics, such as house plants and embroidery.

But, there were also talks on much broader topics, such as the World Health Organization, including quite political issues, such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. In November 1964, they also had a talk from a man on weights and measures.

Selection of CND badges

Other Activities at Young Wives

There were also other types of activities including a cooking demonstration, fashion shows, a demonstration of beauty products, a demonstration of sewing machines, beetle drives, a quiz, parties, a barbecue, discussions and question and answer sessions. They saw films, including from Hovis and Unilever, and one about Children of Kelling Sanatorium, which apparently was a sanatorium for children in Norfolk.

Front cover of 1950s Hovis booklet
Illustration from “Looking at Wheat… the Hovis Way” showing a Hovis loaf and also including a sample of Hovis flour
Postcard of Kelling Sanatorium circa First World War

There were also sometimes films and slide shows about different countries including the Leeward Islands, the Holy Land, the United States and Nigeria. The Leeward Islands include Antigua and Barbuda, Guadeloupe, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Martin and the Virgin Islands.

Young Wives Local Trips

There were also local trips out including to the Norfolk News Company works, the telephone exchange, Curat House and Norwich Synagogue.

Norfolk News Company

The Norfolk News was a local newspaper but apparently it ceased production in 1961. As this visit was in March 1962, might this works relate to something else?

Curat House

I confess I did not know about this building on the Walk although I have seen it many times.

Norwich Synagogue

Mum noted that the trip to Norwich Synagogue was poorly attended. There is a detailed history on the synagogue’s website. The 19th century synagogue was destroyed in the second world war and they were then accommodated for six years in the Spiritualist Church on Chapelfield North. The synagogue moved to the present site on Earlham Road in 1948 but the present building was not completed until 1968/9. A communal hall was completed in 1951 and this must have been what the Young Wives visited in 1962.

Norwich Synagogue in Earlham Road circa 2017 © Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Services and Other Overtly Religious Activities

Occasionally, there were overtly religious activities, such as devotionals, carol services, communion and the Young Wives’ anniversary celebrations. In October 1964, there was a joint meeting between the Young Wives and the sisterhood at which Rev Phillips spoke on life after death.

Joint Activities with Other Young Wives’ Groups

Sometimes, the group joined up with other Young Wives groups, e.g. from Sprowston, Bowthorpe Road and Thorpe Road. There is still a Methodist Church in Sprowston and it is sometimes referred to as Wroxham Road Methodist Church.

Sprowston Methodist Church – it is also known as Wroxham Road Methodist Church which is what mum always called it © Ian Robertson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

In April 1962, there was a joint Young Wives party with Bowthorpe Road and St Paul’s.

Sessions on Roles of Women

Sometimes, the sessions looked at roles of or work carried out by women. Such sessions included talks from a policewoman, a welfare worker, a health visitor, a Hospital Almoner and from Anne Morton on her work in the library.

1961 book about hospital almoners

A speaker came to talk about the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS). This was the name of the organisation from 1938 to 1966. It then became the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service and is now known as the Royal Voluntary Service. In her book(let) “I Remember”, Edith Searson noted that her mother joined the WVS during the second world war.

Selection of WVS and WRVS badges

Mum Gave a Talk on Elizabeth Fry

In June 1963, mum gave a talk on Elizabeth Fry, the prison reformer.

Portrait of Elizabeth Fry – the prison reformer who came from Norwich. From 2002 to 2017, her image was on the back of £5 notes © Wellcome Trust and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Frequency of Young Wives’ Meetings

The group appears to have met every two weeks. Initially, meetings were on a Tuesday night but, in the summer of 1961, they switched to Thursday.

Mum Was Involved in Young Wives in Various Ways

Mum was involved in a variety of ways including making refreshments, looking after children, leading meetings and activities and as a speaker.

Running the Young Wives Group

Mum also became involved in running the group. From May 1961, she attended the AGM and, in 1962, she was elected to the committee as General Secretary. Many of her friends were also active committee members including Betty Colver, Rosemary Howlett, Barbara Sell and Vera Frost.

The Young Wives Were Active in Chapel Life

The Young Wives were active in chapel life in a number of ways.

Young Wives’ Plays

They put on a number of plays including “Peace at Bethany” in March 1961, “Seaside Trippers” at a Harvest Supper in September 1961, a nativity play, entitled “The Star and the Cross” in December 1961 and an unnamed play in April 1962.

Peace at Bethany” is a Wyvern play printed by The Epworth Press. Epworth Press was a Methodist publisher. However, by 2010, it was losing large amounts of money. Apparently, it operated from the 17th century to the 21st century but the peak of its output was in the mid-twentieth century. Little has been published since 2008. I am unclear if it still exists but it does not seem to be active and it does not seem to have a website, for example. Wyvern plays seek to “present the Biblical and religious message sincerely, arrestingly and in a way that proves convincing to modern audiences”. It was published in 1954 and reprinted in 1958. The play was intended for a group of young women to perform in Easter week. In addition to the cost of 1/6 for the book, anyone wishing to put on the play needed to pay the publisher a fee of 2/6.
Seaside Trippers” is a play by Richard Tydeman from 1957. It appears with 12 other Richard Tydeman plays in a book entitled “A Baker’s Dozen”. Richard Tydeman died in 2011 at the age of 94. He was an Anglican clergyman and prominent Freemason. He compiled crosswords for the Church Times, wrote verses and plays and wrote a column for Freemasonry Today entitled “Reflection”. Interestingly, he was born in Stowmarket.

Mum and the Plays

Mum played a wise man in the nativity play and she noted that Tricia went to see it. On 27 November 1961, mum went with Barbara Sell to Anne Roberts’ to fix the Young Wives costumes for Wise Men up. Initially, I misread this and thought “Wise Men Up” was the title of the play but I think mum meant fix up the costumes for the wise men in the Young Wives’ nativity play!

Problems with the Plays

During January 1963, there were multiple practices for another play. However, on 4 February 1963, only five people came for the practice. So, a few days later, the Young Wives decided not to proceed with the play.

The Conqueror

Nevertheless, the following year, the Young Wives practiced a play from January to March and they performed the play “The Conqueror” in March 1964. I have not found details of this play.

Young Wives’ Concerts

In January 1963, the Young Wives gave a concert to the sisterhood. Mum performed a duet with Rosemary Howlett for that. In October 1963, the Young Wives gave a concert for the old people at St Catherine’s.

Young Wives Were Involved in Chapel Fundraising

The Young Wives were also active in chapel fundraising events.

Stalls at Chapel Events

They ran stalls in larger chapel events. These included a “Space Fair” in November 1960, a Summer Fair in June 1961, a Quality Street Fair in November 1961, Autumn Fairs in November 1962 and 1963 and a Bazaar/Christmas Fair in November 1964.

I am not sure if the “Space Fair” was related to space exploration in some way. The first artificial satellite had been launched in 1957 but no human had yet orbited the earth.

During this period, it appears that the chapel held a fair every November but the name of this changed over time being variously called a Space Fair, a Quality Street Fair, an Autumn Fair, a Bazaar and a Christmas Fair.

Stand-alone Fundraising Events

There were also stand-alone events, such as a coffee evening in September 1962 and an afternoon tea in July 1963. These events were not only intended to raise funds but they also provided church members with entertainment and an opportunity to socialise.

1962 Garden Party

In June 1962, there was a garden party at chapel. There was a fancy dress competition for children and I won second prize dressed as Andy Pandy. This was a popular children’s TV show. 26 episodes were produced in 1950 with a further 13 produced in 1970. There was a revival of the show in 2002. Tricia went as the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland presumably.

Children watching Andy Pandy in 1950 © BBC and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Mile Cross Garden Party in June 1962 – me and Tricia attending the garden party. In this picture I am holding a doll. In April 1961, mum noted that Mary Howard, a Methodist deaconess who stayed with us, gave me “a Kelly”. I confess I did not know what this was but apparently it was a popular doll in the 1960s that you got by collecting vouchers from Kellogg’s cereal packets. Apparently, there was a set of knitting patterns with the book to allow you to knit clothes for the doll. I am not sure that this is that doll (as this photo is taken over a year later) but it might be. While I was surprised to see that I was allowed to play with a doll (and to be photographed holding one), it appears that toys are more divided by gender now than they were then.
Fancy Dress parade at Mile Cross Garden Party in June 1962
Tricia as Queen of Hearts
Me as Andy Pandy

Other Parties

Other parties included a chapel anniversary party in May 1962, a tea party in April 1964 and another garden party in July 1964.

Friends at Mile Cross

Both dad and especially mum made new friends through Mile Cross chapel. In September 1960, when we first attended, mum noted that people were friendly and many people spoke to them. Many of mum’s friends were from Young Wives and she sometimes went to services and events with them. These friends included Joyce Smith, Barbara Sell, Ann Lee and Betty Colver.

Other Chapel Activities

Mum and dad were also involved in other chapel activities.

Fellowship Group and House Meeting

They were involved in a fellowship group in 1960 and 1961 and, from November 1964, they were involved in a house meeting. Mum led it on 16 November and she noted that dad said she had done it well.

Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade

Mum attended a display from the Boys’ Brigade in April 1962. For more details of the Boys’ Brigade see Chapter 90.

She also attended a display from the Girls’ Life Brigade in May 1962 and a Girls’ Life Brigade rally in April 1964. Mum recorded this as GLB and, initially, I could not work out what it was as I thought it was GCB. Anyway, the Girls’ Brigade was known as the Girls’ Life Brigade until 1964 when three organisations merged to form the Girls’ Brigade. One of them was the Girls’ Life Brigade of England. There is a history of the Girls’ Brigade on the Girls’ Brigade worldwide website.  Somewhat confusingly, there is a Girls’ Association that is part of the Boys’ Brigade. I am not sure what relationship this has with the Girls’ Brigade.


Both mum and dad were involved in the choir although perhaps dad more than mum. In March 1961 and April 1962, the choir gave “Olivet to Calvary”, a cantata by John Henry Maunder which mum considered very good.

The choir also visited other churches including Heartsease Lane in April 1961 and Reepham in February 1964. 

Heartsease Lane Methodist Church © Keith Evans and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Reepham Methodist Church © Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Practical Activities

Mum and dad were involved in practical activities at chapel including painting and gardening. In 1963, mum and Vera Frost cut and then fitted a cover for the church piano.

Other Performances

Apart from the Young Wives’ plays and concerts, there were other performances at Mile Cross.

Harvest Concert in September 1962

In September 1962, dad was involved in a Harvest Concert. In 1963, there was also a Harvest Concert but I am not sure if dad was involved that year. He did attend. That year, as part of Harvest Festival, dad organised a cake competition. He won the fruitcake competition!

Concert in Drayton in October 1962

In October 1962, dad was also involved in giving a concert at Drayton.


In January 1962, 1963 and 1964, the chapel put on a pantomime over three to four nights. Dad was involved as a performer and mum in other ways, e.g. making costumes, doing typing and duplicating. In 1962, mum took Tricia and grandma took her in 1963 with Angela Keeble. In 1964, grandma and mum took me but Tricia could not go as she had a cough.

Mile Cross pantomime 1963 with dad (far right)
Dad (far left) in Mile Cross pantomime 1963
Mile Cross pantomime 1963 – dad is second from right at the back and is circled

Chapel Outings

There were also chapel outings.

Sunday School Outings to Lowestoft

Every year, in June/July, the Sunday School went on an outing to Lowestoft. In 1961, we went by train and mum noted that Tricia took to the water well and that I really enjoyed it. The following year, in 1962, Tricia went with Joyce Smith on the outing while mum, dad and I took Alan with us in our van. In 1964, the outing fell on Alan’s birthday and we all went with grandma and Eva.

I do not have any photos of the Sunday School outings to Lowestoft. However, we did take a family holiday in Lowestoft in September 1962 and this photograph is from then. It shows Tricia, dad and me on the beach.

Young Wives Outing to Oulton Broad

In August 1962, mum went on a Young Wives outing to Oulton Broad and Gorleston. They had a meal at Margaret’s mother’s Valmar restaurant at 3 Pier Gardens in Gorleston. Mum noted that it was very nice.

Initially, I could not find any details of this restaurant. However, I am grateful to people on the Great Yarmouth Remembers Facebook Group for explaining that this was a restaurant owned by Doris and Robert/Bob Cole. It was named after their two children, their son Val(entine) and their daughter Margaret, who was mum’s friend, Margaret White.

This is now a private house next to a Chinese takeaway.

Mile Cross Ladies’ Outings

In 1964, grandma went on two outings with Mile Cross ladies. The first was in June and went through Sussex villages. The second was in September 1964 and was to “Oulton etc.” I think it is likely that grandad is referring to Oulton Broad.

Annual Society Meetings

Annual society meetings were held in February and at least one of mum and dad attended.

Chapel Missionary Secretary

In March 1961, dad took on the role of chapel missionary secretary. Mum referred to this in her diary as Miss Secretary but I presume this is what she meant. It appears that he may have done this for two years and handed over to Yvonne Platten in 1963. In April 1963, mum noted that dad took the missionary “stuff” to Yvonne Platten. However, mum, dad and grandma continued to be involved in missionary activities subsequently.


Mum attended various committees including a Special Efforts Committee and one related to an organ fund.

Leaders’ Meetings

From 1961, both mum and dad attended leaders’ meetings.

Steward, Magazine Secretary and Class Leader

From December 1961, dad was a society (church) steward and mum was magazine secretary. Dad’s role as steward saw him involved in a range of other meetings.

This included meetings for chapel publicity. In 1963, the church undertook a programme of “visitation”. Mum and dad were involved in this for Hellesdon and this involved them delivering leaflets in Woodview Road, Reepham Road, Neyland Crescent and Middletons Lane.

Dad also attended invitation committee meetings which were concerned with the invitation of new Ministers to the church.

From 1964, dad was also attending circuit finance and youth council meetings, Trustee meetings and class leader meetings. At the end of 1964, dad agreed to be Senior Society Steward for one more year while mum became a Class Leader.

Mary Howard

In April 1961, we hosted the visit of a Methodist Deaconess, Mary Howard. It appears that a number of Deaconesses had gathered for an ordination service that was held at Chapelfield Road on 18 April 1961 and which mum attended. Perhaps the ordination service was for them or for other deaconesses. While the Primitive Methodist church did ordain women, the (unified) Methodist Church of Great Britain did not until 1974. 

Tricia and me with Mary Howard in 1961

Types of Service

One of the first services that mum and dad attended at Mile Cross, in September 1960, was Harvest Festival. The types of service were similar to what they were used to, including periodic communion services, various anniversaries, LPMA Sunday, christening services, covenant services, Mothering Sunday, Easter services and carol and other Christmas services.


LPMA stood for Local Preachers Mutual Aid Association, now the Leaders of Worship and Preachers Trust (LWPT).

Special Events

There were also special events.

Home Missions Day

For example, in March 1961, there was a Home Missions Day and there was a film after the service entitled “Simmer Dim”. Sadly, I have not been able to locate this film although I found reference to it. It appears that there is a copy in the Moving Image Archive of the National Library of Scotland in Glasgow but this can only be viewed on site. There is quite a detailed description of the film on the Moving Image Archive website. It covers the story of modern Methodism in Shetland.

Missionary Speakers

There were also visiting missionary speakers, including, in April 1961, a nurse from South Africa and India.

My Flowers” Service

In March 1962, there was a “My Flowers” service.

Artists’ Festival

In March 1963, there was an artists’ festival at Mile Cross.

Friendship Service

In June 1963, there was a friendship service.


In March 1964, there was a campaign at Mile Cross led by Rev David Wheeler. This is described in some detail in Chapter 74.

Mile Cross Conference

In February 1961, there was a special conference at Mile Cross. Mum noted that she and the other Young Wives did the tea. She described it as a “very nice do”.  Among mum’s papers was the original conference programme.

Mile Cross conference 1961 – front cover of programme
First page of programme which includes a short history of Mile Cross Methodist Church

The programmes gives some details of the church including key personnel (Minister, Superintendent Minister, Chairman of the District, Society Stewards, Poor Stewards, Trust Secretary, Secretary to Leaders’ Meeting, Chapel Stewards) and a “brief” history of the church.

History of Mile Cross Methodist Church

Although it is called a brief history, it is quite detailed and runs to two pages. Although the church opened in 1934 to serve the new Mile Cross Estate, its early years were difficult with small congregations and frequent changes in Ministers.

As of 1961, the Minister, Rev Odell, had been there for six years and the church had benefited from this stability. The programme noted that the church had welcomed several new families who had come to live in the district.

The Programme for the Conference

The latter part of the programme presented the objects of the conference, the timetable and agenda and names of the conference committee, group leaders and group scribes. Dad was listed as a group scribe.

Essentially the conference seemed to be intended to inform people about the church and to then discuss issues faced. The conference was structured around two group discussion sessions. These sessions were on the themes of church membership and church relationships. For each session, there were seven questions to answer on the topic.

Activities at Other Methodist Churches

Mum, dad and grandma also attended activities at other Methodist churches including Chapelfield Road, Heartsease Lane, Bowthorpe Road, Rosebery Road, Thorpe Road, Taverham and Calvert Street.

Rosebery Road Methodist Church

Bowthorpe Road Methodist Church

This is now the base for the Chinese Methodist church in Norwich. A new extension was built in 2018 but it was built out of position so there was a possibility that it would need to be demolished. However, it seems that that fate was averted in 2020. But, as of August 2021, the site was fenced off.

Bowthorpe Road Methodist Church in 2022 showing new extension

Thorpe Road Methodist Church

The church closed in 1985 but the building is still standing.

Thorpe Road Methodist Chapel – although this closed as a church in 1985, the building is still standing and is currently used as offices © Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Taverham Methodist Church

It appears that there was a Methodist church in Taverham but this appears to have closed. A joint Anglican and Methodist church was founded in Thorpe Marriott in 1991.

Calvert Street Methodist Church

Calvert Street Chapel was demolished to make way for the Inner Ring Road including the Magdalene Street flyover.  

Reasons for Visiting Other Churches

Reasons for these visits included quarterly meetings, circuit quiet days, circuit fellowship meetings, choir visits, musicals, fairs, anniversaries, joint Young Wives’ activities, men’s meetings, ladies’ meetings, meetings concerning the church magazine, invitation committee meetings, meetings to welcome Ministers, missionary meetings, Bible Society meetings and meetings to discuss potential merger with the Anglicans. At that time the Bible Society was still known as the British and Foreign Bible Society.

To Hear Particular Speakers

Sometimes, the visits were to hear a particular speaker.

Maldwyn Edwards

In October 1961, mum went with Joyce Smith to hear the President of the Methodist Conference speak at Chapelfield Road. I think this was perhaps Maldwyn Edwards. Mum thought it was good.

Reg Bedford

In January 1964, grandma went to Rosebery Road to hear Reg Bedford speak. He was Secretary of MAYC. Also, he was a Minister at Muswell Hill Methodist Church. He was the preacher at the MAYC weekend in 1959 and this was shown on TV. His photo appears in the MAYC programme for 1964 and also in a more recent magazine.

Churches of Other Denominations

In addition, mum, dad and grandma sometimes went to services and activities at churches of other denominations. These included a number of Anglican churches in addition to Cromer Parish Church and Norwich Cathedral..

Cromer Parish Church © Sebastiandoe5 and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Norwich Cathedral © Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

St Catherine’s

This is an Anglican church in Mile Cross.

St Catherine’s Church, Mile Cross, Norwich © John Salmon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

St Paul’s

This is an Anglican church in Hellesdon. It is a very unusual building with a brick façade on a green corrugated iron nissen hut.

Photograph of St Paul’s Church, Hellesdon, Norwich © John Salmon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

St Luke’s

St Luke’s on Aylsham Road was built just before the first world war, the original building was demolished in 1985 and replaced with a new building.

Reasons for These Visits

Reasons for these visits included as part of the choir, for the Ladies National Day of Prayer and to attend special events, such as carol services.

Billy Graham

In June 1961, mum went to Norwood Rooms, see Chapter 81, with Joyce Smith to hear a relay of the Billy Graham Crusade from Manchester. She considered it very good.

Wikipedia has an overview of Billy Graham. He held his first crusade outside the US in London in 1954 and mum heard this on the radio (see Chapters 53 and 54). He held further crusades in Scotland and in London in 1955 but then only returned to the UK in 1961 when he held crusades in Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast.

Song book used at the Billy Graham crusade in Manchester in 1961
Photograph of Billy Graham from inside cover of the song book

St John Passion at St Andrew’s Hall

On Good Friday 1963, mum and dad went to St Andrew’s Hall in the afternoon to hear the Philharmonic Society give St John Passion which was very good.

Although St Andrew’s Hall has religious origins, it has been a secular venue for as long as I can remember. I recall attending a concert by The Stranglers here in May 1977. I believe the hall is currently run by the council.

St Andrew’s Hall in Norwich

Attending Chapel on Holiday

We also attended chapel when we were on holiday. For example, in September 1962, when we were on holiday in Lowestoft, dad, Tricia and I attended morning service and mum went to service and communion at night.

Mum did not specify which Methodist church we attended in Lowestoft. It would not have been the current Trinity church as that only opened in 1970.  It may have been the chapel that was on High Street at that time that was originally Wesleyan. However, there was another former Wesleyan chapel also open at that time in Tonning Street.

Ministers at Mile Cross Methodist Church

Rev Odell

When we first moved to Norwich, the Minister at Mile Cross was Rev Odell. He left Mile Cross in July 1961. There was a farewell do for Rev and Mrs Odell on the 27th and both mum and dad attended. Rev Odell’s last service at Mile Cross was held on 30 July 1961 with a Circuit farewell service afterwards. There were about 200 there at the first service and around 300 at the later Circuit service.

Rev Arnold Clough

He was replaced by Rev Arnold Clough and mum noted hearing Rev Clough preach on 3 September 1961. Mum babysat for him and his wife on the 7th so that they could attend the Circuit Welcome Meeting. On the 14th, there was a welcome meeting for the Cloughs at Mile Cross.

Rev Still

In July 1963, dad went to a welcome meeting at Chapelfield Road for Rev and Mrs Still who had come from America presumably to join the circuit. On the 29th, mum went to a circuit meeting at Chapelfield Road to meet Rev and Mrs Still.

Planning for Rev Clough Leaving

In February 1964, dad went to an invitation committee meeting at Chapelfield Road as Rev Clough was to leave in September 1964.

Grandma Went to Mile Cross When She Visited Us in Norwich

Between when we moved to Norwich and when grandma and grandad did, grandma often attended services at Mile Cross chapel and their ladies’ Bright Hour whenever she visited us.

Grandma Attended Mile Cross When They First Moved to Norwich

Initially, after grandma and grandad had moved to Norwich in October 1963, when they were living in the flat in Lilburne Avenue, see Chapter 76, grandma attended services at Mile Cross.

Visitors Also Went to Mile Cross

When family members and friends visited grandma they also attended. This included Eva, Auntie Dolly, Doris, Mrs Deakin, Auntie Bertha and Amy and Tom Wilson.

Involved in Ladies’ Meetings and Sunday School

Grandma got particularly involved with the ladies’ meeting and also had some involvement in Sunday School.

Tradition of Sunday Tea

Once grandma and grandad had moved to Norwich, the tradition of having Sunday tea together, which I remember as a child, quickly started. While they were living at the flat, they sometimes came to us but we also went there. After grandma and grandad moved to Drayton, we usually went there for tea on a Sunday. The first mention of doing this was on 2 August 1964. Occasionally, they still came to us.

Drayton Methodist Church

The first mention of Drayton Methodist church was in April 1962 when dad was quizmaster there for a Bible Quiz between Drayton and Horsford.

The first mention of grandma going there was in October 1962 when she, Eva, dad, Tricia, Alan and I went to a tea there. After they had moved to Norwich, grandma first went there in May 1964 ten days before they moved into their bungalow. Following that, she attended services there regularly.

Starting a Ladies’ Meeting

In October 1964, she started a ladies’ meeting at Drayton Methodist Church. The first meeting was supported by Rev Warren and three ladies from Mile Cross.

Sunday School

Occasionally, grandma took us to Sunday School in Drayton. For example, in November 1964, grandma took Tricia.

Grandad and Drayton Methodist Church

As far as I know, grandad never attended services there but he was familiar with the building and sometimes took visitors there.

Drayton Methodist Church © Jeremy Osborne and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence