THE BEGINNING by Wyn Papfield
In the 1930's Ideal Homesteads were popping up in
all directions in what is now All Saints' Parish. Those of us who
came to live in Hanworth about that time, walked across the park to
the old church of St. George. For a time the chapel adjoining Butts
Cottages, belonging to Whiteleys Jam Factory and built for the use
of their employees, was taken over by the parish but was found to be
inadequate. The walk to this little chapel in the early morning was
a delight in the Spring, as almost the whole length of Hampton Road
West on that side was orchards.
In 1935 the then Bishop of Norwich Dr Pollock and
the Rev'd Parry Okedon the Rector of St. George's saw the situation.
Dr Pollock was born in Woodlawn and, the house know as Woodlawn was
altered so that part could be used as a hall during the week and for
services on Sunday. Before alterations were in hand, the Guild of
Youth and Service had a lot of fun, as some of their meetings were
held in this large empty house. It was on November 2nd 1935 that the
church hall was dedicated by Bishop Pollock.
Leading up to 1939 our church family grew and
most of the one hundred and twenty seats set out for Sunday Service
were in use. During the bombing, many folk who had to leave their
homes were cared for in Woodlawn, but, come what may, the 8 a.m.
Communion Service was always offered on Sunday morning, with dogs,
cats and babies around. Evensong was said at 3 p.m. Members of the
congregation invited whole families to share their Sunday lunch,
some even stayed for weeks, until they could return to their homes.
When the Rev'd Norman Hester came to Woodlawn in
1940, he soon made it clear that it was his hope for a permanent
church to be built. It was obvious that nothing could be done until
the war was over but we could plan, try to raise some funds and
above all pray. In 1941 the Rev'd Norman Hester approached the
Bishop for his permission to open a special building fund, to build
a permanent church. Socials were held to support the building fund
also whist drives. The money raised by Old Time Dances was divided
between the building fund and general expenses.
In 1946 the caretaker's salary for keeping the
hall clean and dusting one room upstairs was increased to 2s. 6d.
per week! Fetes were held in the church grounds and it is
interesting to know that in one of the competitions the prize was 1
cwt. of coal.
During the war most of the railings around
property were needed by the Salvage Campaign but they spared those
at Woodlawn. In 1946 bricks were sold for the Building Fund. When
the war was over, choir boy's cassocks were made from blackout
material which had previously been used to make curtains to keep in
In 1947 it was planned to erect a Nissen hut, but
when the architect Mr. Cachemaille-Day was approached, he made an
unusual suggestion, to build the church in two parts, not a Nissen
hut but a brick built church. In this way the first part could be
completed and in use, while the main part was still under
construction. Plans were drawn up but it was three years before they
were accepted. Then with grateful thanks we heard that money was
available from St. Mary's Haggerston, which had been destroyed by
bombs during the war.
In 1949 the Rev'd Norman Hester left to go to St.
Michael and All Angels, Mill Hill. The Rev'd W.F. Shergold came to
take charge of the parish, and Miss Winifred Kingston was our first
Sunday Schools flourished, large classes in the
hall and upstairs. At one time there were so many children that five
coaches were needed to take them and their mothers or aunts to
Littlehampton for an outing. At this time a small room upstairs was
furnished as a Chapel, where Mass was celebrated every morning at
around 6 a.m. or 7 a.m.
It was on October 9th 1950 that we became known
as the Parish of All Saints Hanworth and in March 1951 that work
started on the site. The laying of the Foundation Stone was on July
14th 1951. The formal request to lay the Stone was made by Lord
Latham, Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex, to the Rt. Rev'd H.C.
Montgomery Campbell, Bishop of Guildford.
It was a very exciting time watching the church
being built. There was much to do in preparation, but also many
willing hands. Some ladies in our congregation will remember the
mammoth task making the huge red curtain which hangs behind the
Altar in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. It was cut and stitched in
one of the rooms upstairs in Woodlawn and then when it was hung in
position several ladies sat in a row and hemmed by hand many yards
July 14th 1951. This was a day not likely to be
forgotten by those present. It was a lovely sunny day. Until late on
Friday night and during the whole of Saturday morning, members of
the congregation were tidying the site and arranging chairs and
forms for the service.
Others were baking cakes and goodies for the
refreshments afterwards. The little harmonium was brought out from
the hall and with sound equipment supplied by Messrs. Grampian
(Reproductions) Reproducers Ltd., we were told that the music could
be heard as far away as Ellerman Avenue.
Before the stone was laid, one very interesting
thing must be mentioned. A small lead casket containing a complete
set of Festival Coins, a copy of the Parish Magazine and a Service
Paper signed by all members of the P.C.C. was placed in a recess
beneath the stone. This very beautiful casket was the work of our
sacristan Mr. Stanley Billington.
The collection which amounted to £26 was used to
defray the expense of the ceremony and the balance was added to the
Sanctuary Fund. It was a very exciting time and on Saturday May 17th
1952 the service of Dedication of the first part of All Saints
Hanworth took place. The Lord Bishop of London, Dr. Wand, performed
the Act of Dedication, supported by the Bishop of Guildford.
Now at last the congregation had a permanent and
purpose-built home. Woodlawn had been our spiritual home for 17
years; when we moved from it, it was with a sense of loss of the
familiar and many of us missed it considerably. However, the bright
new building was a splendid compensation with its increased space
and extra facilities.
During the next five years, as we settled into
our new home, work was going on outside - the main church was
gradually taking shape. Although a lot of money for the building did
come from another church destroyed during the war, the parish still
had to raise the rest. We had been given a loan by the Diocese of
London, and for some years to come we were busy trying to raise the
repayments for this.
The building of a new church is a great event in
the life of a parish. The Consecration of the completed building on
Saturday, September 28th, 1957 was a splendid occasion. The
consecration was performed by the Rt Rev'd Henry Montgomery
Campbell, the Bishop of London in the presence of a great crowd of
parishioners and visitors, and the first Eucharist in the new Church
was celebrated by the Bishop of Kensington.
In the years that have followed the compl'etion
of the Church we have tried to make the best possible use of our
splendid Church and we have sought to proclaim the gospel of Jesus
Christ to the people of our parish with the continuing worship of
Almighty God, with an active social life and with care and love for
all those who have come into contact with us.
We give thanks to God for the blessings we have
received and we pray that we may continue to serve faithfully Christ
and his people in this parish.