Echoes of the past: Centenary of The Church on the Crossroads

Hipperholme Church at Cross Roads

Hipperholme Church at Cross Roads

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As an avid collector of anything that is about Brighouse and its surrounding communities, I often think there cannot be that much left I have not seen.

Just now and again I do see something that I have not seen before, ‘could it possibly be the only one left’, I ask myself.

Recently a little booklet appeared for sale on the internet, ‘The Church at the Crossroads 1870 - 1970’. A centenary booklet about the church now known as Christ Church at the Hipperholme crossroads. I put in my bid and surprisingly there were no other people bidding and in no time it was mine.

What sometimes happens when I say that it could be the only one left I start to receive e-mails and telephone calls from readers who have also got copies.

The book contains many congratulatory messages from familiar names in Hipperholme: Reverend. Gordon Smailes, Lightcliffe Congregational Church on Leeds Road and W. Knowlson the church secretary. Little did they know at that time both churches would come together as one in 2003 at the crossroads and renamed Christ Church. Other messages are from Reverend Hugh Birch at Coley; Reverend Canon Frank White vicar at St Matthew’s Church Lightcliffe; Reverend Ernest and his wife Mrs Ethel Hardy who was the minister in 1937 and a number of other ministers who spent their time also serving the Hipperholme Methodists.

To celebrate this special occasion the church held a week of special events. On Saturday November 28 this was a Church Gift Day when the minister Reverend George Hesling would be at the church throughout the day to receive gifts for the church. On the Saturday evening there was a special concert given by the members of the Highlands School Concert Band with conductor J.G.Turner. The following day special services were held with Preacher Reverend Doctor Percy Scott, who was later to be the last Principal of the Hartley-Victoria Methodist College, Manchester, an important person in the methodist movement.

On Saturday, 5 December the programme indicates this was to be a special centenary celebration night, but gives no clue what form that was to take. There were special services throughout the following day delivered by Reverend Harold Marsden of Hebden Bridge. The final Thanksgiving Rally was Monday evening when the special speakers were Dr. Eric Treacy, Lord Bishop of Wakefield and Reverend Thomas Morrow, Chairman of the West Yorkshire District.

This is a fascinating little book and well worth the few pounds I paid for it. For those who may also have one tucked away in the dark corner of a cupboard somewhere, even now 47 years since its publication. My advice would be to hang on to it. Originally there may have been many of these printed, but apart from mine we will never really know how many have stood the test of time.

This week’s photograph shows the church on the crossroads and judging from the style of the men’s clothing it could be dated c: early 1920s. For further information about Christ Church please look at its website: www.christchurchhalifax.co.uk