Thursday 5 December 2013

One of those happy moments - evidence from a vanished church

Today, during my trawl of the digitised Barnsley Chronicle in Barnsley Archives I found the newspaper report of the unveiling of a memorial tablet in St John's church in the Barebones area of Barnsley.  This was one of those *ahhhh* moments for me as this church was demolished in the late 1960s.  A few months ago I found an appeal in the Chronicle from February 1919 asking for names to be submitted for a memorial, so I did hope it was only a matter of time until I found the actual report of the unveiling.  I have had my fingers crossed ever since that when it did appear it would include a list of names.
Grayscale photo of a church in the background and a half built structure with scaffolding surrounding it in the foreground.
St John's Church on Joseph Street, Barnsley in the 1960s
The building in front is one of blocks of flats on Union Street
(picture from Yococo)

And it does ... 140 of them.  I have added them to the Barnsley War Memorials Project on their own page, so I won't reproduce them here. 

Newspaper cutting reporting the unveiling of a brass tablet in Buckley Street Church.
Barnsley Chronicle 22 Oct 1921
(thanks to Barnsley Archives)
I have just cross checked the names against a query run on the OH's family tree to see if any of the men are related to him.  Two names match, George Stathers (lived on Copper Street) and Joseph Woodcock (lived on Wood Street) both related by marriage. 

Oddly the names I had been expecting, Walter Clarke Priestley (lived on Duke Street) and Frank Armitage (lived on Blucher Street) who are much closer relatives, did not appear, however I also found a mention of a brass tablet being unveiled at Buckley Street Primitive Methodist Church, which is nearby.  On his service records Frank's religion is given as Wesleyan so maybe I'll find him there.  Unfortunately there are no names mentioned in this cutting (left) so we will have to see if we can get access to the church to have a look around. 

I have noticed that the number of memorials is proliferating.  I searched from August to December 1921 today and found memorials unveiled by the Barnsley Swimming Club, the Barnsley Cordwainers Society, the Barnsley Branch of the Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers (one of the forerunners of the British Legion) and at Wortley Golf Club.  This is in addition to memorials in Darfield, Hoylandswaine, Wortley, Hoyle Mill, Mapplewell, Wentworth, Worsbro' Common, Wombwell, and Penistone.  I wonder if the tardiness of Barnsley Council in erecting the main town memorial had anything to do with this dispersal of memory around the area.  The feeling seems to be that people wanted something tangible to commemorate the fallen men, and if one big memorial was not provided then they would do their own! 

Next week I move onto the 1922 newspapers, but I know that the main Barnsley War Memorial wasn't unveiled until 1925 (according to the War Memorials Archive).  I look forward to reading more about its planning and erection in the Chronicle - estimates of its likely cost in the newspaper reports so far are in the region £10,000, which, as you can imagine has caused a certain amount of complaint from people who were of the opinion that the money would be better spent elsewhere. Hopefully when it does materialise all differences will be put aside, at least for a while.

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