I have struggled to find a definitive list of the locations of Methodist conference, so I have constructed one as best as I am able. I am interested in this because of various references to the Conference in the diaries and related documents. The list covers the period from 1932 to 2022.
|1932||Royal Albert Hall, London||26|
|2007||Details not yet identified|
|2013||Westminster Central Hall, London||10|
|2016||Westminster Central Hall, London||7|
|2020||Online (scheduled for Telford)||3 4|
The Conference meets, usually in late June or early July, and traditionally this was in different parts of the connexion each year, with the representatives being offered hospitality in the homes of members in the host District(s). Latterly, for reasons of practicality and availability, many representatives began to use hotel accommodation. In 2004 the Conference met for the first time fully residentially, at Loughborough University, and in 2006 met for the first time in Scotland. (The Primitive Methodist Conference had met in Edinburgh in 1895.) Recent practice is to choose a venue with appropriate conference facilities and to use centrally organized accommodation, and circulation around the connexion and links with host Districts have thus been significantly reduced.
In her book(let) “I Remember” (p55), Edith Searson recalled that the 1947 Methodist Conference was held in Nottingham. “In 1947 the Methodist Conference was held at Nottingham. We were privileged to entertain a delegate, the Rev. D. Edward Langton, from Nantwich, Cheshire. He had to go to the Albert Hall each day, involving either a bus or train journey. What I remember about Rev. Langton was his great concern about his son who was a prisoner of war in Japan. He told me something of the terrible conditions his son was living under. Shortly after Rev. Langton had returned home after the conference had ended he wrote to tell me that his son had died, as did many prisoners of war in Japan, from lack of food and disease. It must have been difficult for him to attend the conference knowing his son was suffering in this way. My admiration for two heroes.” Given this story, I had some doubts that the conference she was describing was in 1947 as I don’t think there were still Allied prisoners in Japan then. I checked and it seems she may have been mistaken about dates and may have been referring to the 1945 conference which was held in Nottingham.
The son was called James Willis Langton. Willis was the maiden name of his mother, Helen Mary. He had been born in 1922 and was a gunner with the Royal Artillery. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese in 1942 and he died in June 1945. He is buried in Yokohama War Cemetery.