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Main Street Community Church, Frodsham

Loving God
Loving Frodsham

Mystery Slot 2003

May 2003

Family Recipes

Frodsham Parish Magazine 1882

For repairing family jars: mutual love, well stirred with forbearance, mixed with readiness to forgive and general good temper is an admirable element. It is well to let all family jars to be shelved at once.

To cure a cold and heart burn: do all the good you can, aim to live nearer to God and to love your neighbour as yourself.

Sauce: never to be tolerated in children, a vulgar and evil thing in anyone, generally found to go with goose.

Today’s thoughts (The Times daily newspaper) We find something worth knowing in a woman who can think of God amid her groceries and praise him in her scullery.

July 2003

Recently, Andrew and I spent an afternoon studying more documents, searching for any information on M.S.C., or rather “The Iron Church.” We weren’t disappointed. You know, it really is amazing what you can learn by leafing through old journals, census records and books.

I also visited “Lady Heyes”, with Barry and Anita. Barry discovered an April 1954 issue of the Frodsham Parish Magazine. Amongst the information I read through recently in old Parish magazines, there was some rather interesting material for December 1879. Unfortunately, it is too long for me to include in this article.

The chief advantage of the 1879 magazine is that it is a wealth of information, recording all that goes on within the Parish, notices of meetings and sermons, the local train timetable and lists of births, marriages and deaths (the latter still continues to this day). It also contains pleasing accounts of Missionary work and teaches us that we belong not only to a parish, but to a church which is ever spreading the great truths of the gospel throughout the habitable world.

There follows a couple of separate sections relating to Bible questions for children and one of facts relating to intemperance, helping us to understand just how hideous the evil is, the misery it causes. The final paragraph relates that the magazine costs 1d. per copy. All communications intended for the magazine to be sent to the Vicarage before the 15th of the month for insertion in the following month.

By 1954, the cost of the magazine was 4d. The information it contains makes for interesting reading. Unfortunately, it is too long for me to relate in this article, BUT, the train timetable would make very interesting reading, especially to commuters to Liverpool. Oh, how easy it used to be to travel to Liverpool, a journey I made countless times.

By now, commercialism played an active role: four pages of local trades people, almost a local trade directory in itself.

Today, each Church has its own magazine, but how many people know just where the Parish of Frodsham is?

Although the magazines have somewhat altered in format, the over-riding factor is that God’s love for us all exceeds all boundaries, it knows no limits. God’s love for us is limitless in its many tongues. A fact we have learnt during Pentecost.

Judith S.Shore on behalf of the “The Mystery Slot.”.

September 2003

A Young Ladies Group of 100 Years Ago

Who used to attend the Iron Church, as our chapel was known years ago, and where did they live? Here is an extract from the Frodsham Parish Magazine of October 1895:

The annual harvest festival was held in the Iron Church on Thursday evening September 26th. The church was beautifully decorated for the occasion. The ladies who cheerfully undertook the labour of love are to be congratulated on the painstaking way in which the work was done. The decorations were the work of the following ladies:-
Miss Ashley, Miss Lewis, Miss Terry, Miss Jenkinson, the Misses Barrow, the Misses Wilkinson, the Misses Robinson, Miss Travis, Miss Smith, Miss Nellie Andrews and Miss Lily Holland.

This item contains a list of names of people obviously associated with the Iron Church. To try and discover more about them we have looked in the 1891 Census for Frodsham. We can be pretty sure who Miss Ashley was. For the others the identification is not certain, but the ones listed below are the only people with that name living in Frodsham.

Table of names and addresses of the decorators From 1891 Census

The Miss Ashley and her sister who lived at 7 Main Street were very much associated with the Iron Church and its construction. They lived in Ashley House (the “vet’s house”) next door to the chapel. They owned the chapel and the land around it. In the accounts for the Iron Church for 1899 is an item of 1 penny received from Miss Ashley. Is that the peppercorn rent she received being given back to the church? There is also in the accounts a ground rent of 2s 6d paid every year.

Of the other ladies who helped with the harvest decorations that we have tentatively identified, most would appear to have lived close to the chapel. (There is a John Robinson, surgeon and medical officer to Runcorn Workhouse listed as living in Main Street in Kelly’s directory of 1892. Maybe the Misses Robinson were connected to him and also lived in Main Street.) They would all have been teenage to mid twenties in age by 1895 and would seem to be a typical young females group, led by a fifty something Miss Ashley and Miss Lewis (who was a widow?). From their addresses they were probably mainly middle class.

The Wooden Huts where Ellen Andrews lived were at the end of Marsh Lane. They were built to house the families of the workmen engaged in construction of the Manchester Ship Canal. (The canal was opened in 1894.) In the census there are around 420 people listed as living in these huts. It would be nice to think that this is indeed the Miss Andrews of the list and she was able to be part of the fellowship despite her different background.

According to the census a James Reynolds and his family lived at 8 Main Street. He is described as a nurseryman and seedsman. Did he live in or next to the old Frodsham Kitchens building and operate a nursery behind the chapel?

Andrew Faraday, on behalf of the Mystery Slot

November 2003

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, …

We sometimes think of times past as better than these, sometimes as worse. In fact, there is often some truth in both. In many ways times were harder, but there was more time to do things together.

These two extracts from the Frodsham Parish magazines of 1880 remind us that they too celebrated Christmas, as we will do soon. Their decorations at the Iron Church, known to us as Main Street Community Church, were perhaps more lavish than ours, perhaps more focused on the true meaning of Christmas. Yet most would have far less money than us to spend on presents and food, even allowing for inflation. These were also days without a National Health Service, without Social Security, without electricity, gas, telephones. A time when a sickness and burial club for the scholars was a useful service to the families with children in the Sunday School.

Frodsham Sunday Schools Sick and Burial Club

This club is open to all children attending Sunday School in Overton, and that in Church Street, Frodsham.

Each child pays a half penny every Sunday. When sick, his or her parents or guardians receive 2s. and 6d. per week.

On the death of any child assured in the society, there shall be paid to the parents or guardians of the deceased, if a member for the first year, £1 0s 0d, if after the second year, £1 5s. and if of the third year, £1 10s.

The half pennies will be collected at the morning Sunday School, which begins at 9.15am.

Copies of the rules can be had from the Superintendent of either Sunday School.

Christmas decorations

No pains have been spared to make our Iron Church compete favourably with many of its more elaborate neighbours, and it is no mere figure of speech to say that a result has been arrived at and the decorations are quite up to their usual standards of excellence.

A large crimson scroll high up in on the chancel walls runs the inscription:

There shall come a Star out of Jacob.

Either side of the chancel window, on rich flowing streamers are the words:

The Word was flesh and dwelt amongst us.

On the aisle wall, the text:

The Son of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings

attracts attention by the extreme delicacy of the letters which are all wrought with consummate skill in a mist of evergreens. At the west end, on a large scroll is inscribed the words of the angels:

Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy.

The church was further adorned with bannerettes suspended from the ceiling.

Literary footnote: the title used for this article “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, …” are, of course, the opening words from Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities”. He wrote it in 1859, only 21 years before these Parish Magazine extracts were written.

Existential footnote: most of the world still lives without effective free medical services, free primary and secondary education and would still find a children’s sick and burial club of great benefit.

Martin Ansdell-Smith, on behalf of the Mystery Slot