Echoes of the past: Memories of centenary are remembered

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Here is a special date for your diary - Saturday, November 28 at St John the Divine Church, Gooder Lane, Rastrick.

The church is celebrating its centenary (November 27, 1915) and will be opening on Saturday as part of its celebrations with a Heritage Day. Visitors will be given the full guided tour around the church. The church was originally built to meet the growing local community around the Brick and Tile Company. At the turn of the century there was an increase in local house building in the lower Rastrick area particularly around Gooder Lane, Brooke Street and many other small terraced streets.

With the increasing population in and around these new streets it soon became evident that a new church would be needed. The old church and school, which had opened in 1874, was just not big enough.

In 1913 plans were drawn and in no time at all the foundation stone with the inscription ‘To Glory of God 1913’ was laid by William Brook, of Honley, in Huddersfield. With the foundations cut it was on Christmas Day 1914 when a dedication service was held. The big day arrived on November 27, 1915. The new church of St John the Divine was complete and was consecrated by Bishop George Rodney Eden, the Bishop of Wakefield.

Also in attendance were six priests. Interestingly at the consecration service there was a collection of £74 3s 4d which at the time would have been a considerable sum bearing in mind the then difficulties and hard times of the First World War. The first minister at the new church who served for one year was Rev E.J de Bishop

The congregation had to wait until 1931 to have electricity installed at a cost of £98.

Whilst taking care of the congregation’s spiritual needs, from when it was first opened the church has also shared in some of the congregation’s social needs as well.

In the photograph above we have members of the church quiz team of June 1980. Back row (left to right): Kenneth Marshall; Mr Yates; Joe Coop and Reverend Michael Storey.

Front row: Unknown; Eric Lord; Muriel Coop; Robert Beaumont; Roy Hewitt and Roger Ellis.

Robert Beaumont had the difficult task of writing and preparing the questions for each quiz over the ten rounds, which was over eight weeks.

The quiz started in the early 1980s as an inter church quiz on a knockout basis and lasted over several Sunday evenings at St John’s. Robert had to devise sufficient questions for ten rounds of ten questions with both team and individual questions asked each night and mostly based on general knowledge.

The churches that took part in these evenings at St John’s included: St Matthew’s, Upper Edge Baptist, New Road Sunday School and Crowtrees Methodist. There was also for a number of years a junior quiz as well. 

Before Robert took on the role of quiz master, it was Muriel Coop who had the task of setting and asking the questions, with Roy Hewitt acting as time keeper and scorer.

Our second photograph shows the church in 1916 from a panoramic view and highlights its newness with the clean stone work compared to the older surrounding properties.

On Saturday, November 28, come along and share in the centenary celebrations of St John the Divine Church, Gooder Lane, Rastrick at its Heritage Day.