A Moravian settlement since 1700s

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Lower Wyke is tucked away between Bailiff Bridge and Wyke and is one of four Moravian settlements that were established in Yorkshire in the early 18th century.

The chapel was built in 1753 but it wasn’t until 1755 that it was officially recognised as a Moravian congregation. The original chapel of 1755 was replaced by the present building.

In 1759 John Wesley preached in the chapel with the noted Vicar of Haworth, the Reverend William Grimshaw read the prayers.

The older of our two featured photographs shows the present Sunday school building in 1910. The school was built in 1881, although work among the children had been going on since 1802 and a men’s institute was added to the Sunday school building in 1908.

Our second photograph shows members of the chapel during one of its many fundraising activities the annual Bring and Buy Sale Coffee Morning taken almost 25 years ago.

I have happy memories at this Sunday school during the early 1970s when I was one of the local police constables working in the Wyke and Low Moor areas which in those days also included Lower Wyke.

Those were the days when police officers did not receive payment for any overtime they carried out. It was always time off in lieu plus an extra 15 minutes for each hour worked over.

You can imagine when it came round to the local and national elections working up to 15 hours on the day there was lots of over time available. Back in those days it was one police officer on duty at each polling station and whilst I could think of many places I’d rather not be Lower Wyke was not one of those.

Thinking back if everyone did turn up the total number would be about 134 but with at least one third living at the residential home from the remaining residents it was a case of ‘who will be the one that does not turn up’.

I was posted to the Sunday school polling station for at least three elections. The caretaker supplying endless cups of tea, one local resident bringing me my dinner on a tray and others providing the cakes puddings for not just myself but the polling station officials as well, this was heaven. It was then all repeated at tea time.

When the Duty Inspector visited the Polling Station he was keen to know how it was going. Well you can imagine how tough it was particularly with all the trouble the locals caused.

‘I’ll have to stick it out sir it will get worse when the early evening voters all turn up…’

‘Do your best PC Helme and call in if you need any assistance’.

I gave the required salute and off he went.

I managed just three elections until the penny dropped with a new Inspector after that I had to cover a number of polling stations. Those were happy days for me at Lower Wyke.