Category Archives: Uncaterised

Great anticipation

With great anticipation we were looking forward to celebrate our 100th anniversary.

The clubs that used Wesley Hall and ‘Tideway’ gave a demonstration of what they did. So many activities were laid on for the children.

It was great meeting so many ex-members of the church. Some of them had made long journeys to be there, and were happy to do so.

The refreshments were ‘retro’ which took me back to the a Second War years, and were beautifully presented.

You could feel the spirit of the Lord was with us. We had come through a disastrous time with the fire, but now have a lovely light decorated church.

I would like to thank the committee and all those involved, as without planning, it would not have been such an excellent anniversary.

Gwen Webber

My generations game at Wesley Hall

When I started to work out my association with Wesley Hall, my timeline continued to go backwards. Right up to the opening. My family has long ties with Plumstead, and it was mainly with my Nan’s cousin Stan Hopgood that I look back at the most. Grandad Stan, as my sister and I called him, as both our natural grandfathers passed away before our parents even met, was a member of the church from the start, as he only lived a few doors away at No.4 Timbercroft Lane.

I remember talking to Stan about Wesley Hall when I was young (about 6/7 – I think), as I had been to a pre-school at the church, and was going to the summer playschemes. He told me stories about the scout troop he started there when he was only about 16, with a couple of friends, and this got my interest heightened. But, it was thanks to my uncle Keith who told me stories of the fun he had as one of Stan’s scouts, that made me want more. It was in October 1985 that my mum (who had also been a Brownie at Wesley Hall) brought me to my first cub meeting. It was then that I met Riki, Baloo, and Raksha (or Paul, Jan, and Karen as you’ll know them) for the first time as my cub leaders. My personal connection with the church had now begun. Twenty nine years later I’m still here, now following in my Grandad Stan’s shoes as the Scout Troop leader!

It’s been an amazing roller coaster in that time. From the many scout evenings, and gang show rehearsal weekends I have spent at Wesley Hall, even to the short time I was in a rock band holding weekly rehearsals in the main hall, the church has been a major part of my life. Both of my daughters, Laurie & Holly, have had Wesley Hall play major parts of life too. They have both had early birthday parties in the hall, and to being part of the scout group as soon as they were old enough to join. Holly was also christened at Wesley Hall, in June 2006.

Holly too, now has a key part in the modern history of Wesley Hall. It was on Friday 17th June 2011, when my wife Claire came down to open up the church for our group night. It was meant to be Claire’s first evening running a Beaver night on her, but it didn’t turn out that way. As Claire was unlocking the scout hut Holly noticed smoke coming from the side of the shed, and from the kitchen window. She quickly alerted her mum, quickly raised the alarm, after she had unwittingly disturbed the arsonist still setting the fire. I arrived on the scene just before the fire brigade, and the scene I found still brings back such vivid memories. Even as I write this now, it brings a tear to my eye. Because the arsonist was disturbed, and the alarm raised, the fire was extinguished before any lasting damage was done. A few days later when we got our first look at the damage it was seeing the christening’s role board all melted, with Holly’s name still just visible, it made me think that it was someone blessed at the church, that helped save the church. I still feel that it wasWesley Hall herself sending us a clear message, she wasn’t going anywhere.

But, like the legendary Phoenix, Wesley Hall rose out of the ashes and is now more healthier than ever. I think that people that came here years ago would be shocked at the changes. After all, radiators and comfy chairs! I certainly remember my early church parade days of drafty hall and wooden benches.

My family is now on its sixth generation of links to the church, and there is no sign that it won’t move on to following generations. It’s amazing to see that the church is still here, after all it has seen, and still going after 100 years!

Happy birthday Wesley Hall!

 Simon Emmett, Scout Leader

My thoughts of Wesley Hall – By one of the “youngsters”

I was far too young to remember my first encounter with Wesley Hall, probably because I was still in the womb!

When your parents are as involved in the Church as mine were (and still are), you don’t have a lot of choice about whether or not you get drawn in yourself…and as a youngster I didn’t know any different! (a sentiment felt by a number of us “children” over the years). All I knew back then is that I had (and still do have) a lot of fun and laughs at Wesley Hall in the community that thrives there – particularly the friends that have become like family over the years.

I have so many fond memories of my childhood at Wesley Hall, whether it be at the annual Christmas Bazaars (aptly named if you ask me, after looking through some of the items donated to sell that we used to receive!); monthly Church Parades as a Beaver, Cub, Scout, Explorer and now Leader; early mornings helping Mum serve up communion breakfast to the Church circuit (trying not to burn the toast in the toaster); workdays to give the place a spring clean every now and then; Sunday School with audience participation hymns (“If I were a Butterfly” was/is a particular favourite!); Carol Services and Christmas Mornings with interesting sketches, choirs and musical arrangements (it’s all about the kazoos); rehearsals every Sunday for 7+ years for Showtime the Woolwich Scout Gang Show (they were only the years I was participating in the show, but I suspect I was there every Sunday for many years before then too and remember raiding the tuck-shop fairly regularly); and all the events in between that I haven’t forgotten but quite frankly are too extensive to list here!!

When I heard the news that Wesley Hall had been set on fire there were many feelings that went through my mind, as I’m sure they did many others who have benefitted from the church over the years. First shock (had I read that Facebook message right?), and then guilt over the fact that I wasn’t there that night at Scouts. Panic followed, at the thought of the Church being destroyed, and many happy memories with it. Then more guilt, because an event like that makes you realise how much you can take things for granted, often not appreciating what you’ve got until it’s gone… But, I was absolutely sure that whatever happened to the building that night, there would be no question that people would rally round and things would get back to normal again at some point. And I was right.
If anything, I felt that the shock from the fire acted as a catalyst to renew people’s energy and enthusiasm for Wesley Hall, and I think we have been stronger for it ever since. Plus, the Church has never looked so good due to the deep cleaning, repainting and renovations it had to get it back into operation after the fire! It’s true what they say, there is always a silver-lining if you look for it.

For me, Wesley Hall is far more than a building – it’s a second home – and I know that many other people feel this way about it too. Wesley Hall has a special feeling about “it” that is hard to describe. There is a sense of family about it, one that I haven’t found in many other places I go to. Having read some of the other interesting blogs with both recent (and less recent!) accounts of Wesley Hall’s history, I have got the impression that this sense of family has been the same for many people over the past 100 years, and I hope it will continue for the next 100+ years too.

As part of the “next Generation” I feel partly responsible for ensuring this happens – quite a daunting prospect but one that I think will happen naturally as Wesley Hall attracts people through its doors very easily these days with a thriving Scout Group (which I am still part of as an Assistant Cub Leader on Friday evenings), and many other clubs and groups using the hall. It’s always great when past Scouters or Church members bring their children, (or even children’s children now!) back to Wesley Hall, some don’t even live locally anymore – I think that says a lot about the fun and fond memories they have of their time here – and it makes me proud and happy to be part of “it”.

Amy Gilham

The Prower Family and Wesley Hall

We are members of the Prower family who were active with many aspects of Wesley Hall from its inception until the day war broke out on 3rd December 1939, when we left Woolwich, never to return to live.

The photo of the Rovers’ Reunion after the war was taken in our back garden in Richmond in 1947. Our father, Leslie Prower, was the Rover leader (he received his warrant on 23rd April 1932), and kept in touch with as many members as possible throughout the 2nd war.

We are in the photo: Audrey (aged 15), Colin (5) and Angela (3). Sadly our father died in 1949 (aged 54) and apart from occasional visits, the Prower involvement with Wesley Hall ceased.

In the early years of ‘The Hall’ there was a very active Wesley Guild and we have photos from the ’20s and ’30s showing members playing tennis and rambling. We think our father was the Secretary of the Guild before becoming involved in the Scouts. Audrey’s mother, May Conway, and Leslie met there and were married at Wesley Hall on 8th September 1923. They had a son, Frank, who sadly died aged 5, and whose funeral was held in the Hall on 11th August 1930.

Audrey was born in 1932 and clearly remembers the Rover ‘den’ and gang shows. (Father, Leslie, had a very good singing voice and was often called on to sing solos around the Circuit at Bazaars etc.) She also remembers arriving at morning service and making quite a commotion getting her doll’s pram through the doors!

Our Aunt, Irene Prower, was involved with the Guides at Wesley Hall, not as a uniformed member but keeping the accounts etc. She was awarded the Guides ‘Thanks badge’ in appreciation and appears in ‘mufti’ in one of the guide photos.

Audrey’s mother, May, died in 1938 and her funeral was held in the Hall on 28th May.

Our Grandmother, Caroline Alice Prower, also died in 1938 and her funeral at the Hall was held on 26th March.

Thomas James Prower, our Grandfather, whose diaries are the source of most of our information, died in November 1939, after we had left Plumstead Common.

Our connection with the Hall did not end there because in January 1941 our father, Leslie, married Ivy Rogers, who was also closely associated with the Hall, particularly the Sunday School. She had been a friend of the Prowers for many years and part of a group of young people pictured in the early photos of tennis and rambling.

She and Leslie had 2 children, Colin and Angela. Colin was born in 1942 and Angela in 1944 so their memories of Woolwich and the Hall stem from visits to Ivy’s relatives and Colin’s Godmother, Dorothy Pollard, the latter an active Wesley Hall member.

The Prowers had been Methodists for many years and, on moving to Plumstead Common from Plymouth in 1910, became actively involved in Circuit affairs, especially Wesley Hall.

Our Grandfather’s diaries are full of references to Society meetings etc. and often Sunday services, with references to preachers and sermons. In the early days of the Hall, music was often played by William Prower, one of our Uncles.

Below are some extracts from Grandfather’s diaries about the opening of the Hall. On the back of the postcard showing the opening he writes: ‘the opening was disturbed by Suffragettes who had to be removed by Leslie ( our Father) and Will (Uncle).

We know our family’s association with Wesley Hall was a very happy one and they had many friends there.

All good wishes on your Centenary celebrations and for your continued value to your community.

Extracts from the diary of Thomas James Charles Prower

15th March 1914 (Sunday)
Last service in the Old Sutcliffe Hall in The Slade.

19th March 1914 (Thursday)
Opening of the new Wesley Hall at the Slade by Rev. Ensor Walters at 3.30. Tea and meeting in the evening; addresses by various local ministers & Chairman, Mr Bishop.

(Weather: Rain, Sleet & Snow) !

21st March 1914 (Saturday)
Continuing opening services at Wesley Hall. Sunday Schools opened by the children trained by Will and Gladys (Prower). Tea and concert at 7.30 by (Methodist) Central Hall Male Choir.

Avril Stouse – Guide and author

Avril Stouse (nee Maynard) was a Guide and member of the Sunday School at Wesley Hall from 1953 – 1959.

Avril has been involved in Guiding to this day and has written about her Guiding experiences in a book From Sprites to Dark Horses. See the book flyer here.

Avril has kindly given us permission to include a chapter from the book which describes her early Guiding at Wesley Hall – it makes fascinating reading. Click here.

She has sent us two pictures too:

Avril as a Guide in 1957
Avril as a Guide in 1957
Avril as Lietenant with 6th Plumstead Common Guides (after returning to Plumstead after college)
Avril as Lietenant with 6th Plumstead Common Guides (after returning to Plumstead after college)

 

 

Memories from Alf Gilham

My first foray round to the Hut was with Arthur & Joyce Stevens (Kim & Baloo). They were both Assistant Cub Leaders at the 27th Woolwich and our neighbours in Albatross St. I was around five and a half years old at that time. They introduced me to Miss Daniels (Danny) the Akela of the pack who informed me that I would have to wait until I was a little older before I could become a full member of the Cubs. There was no Beavers back in those days. It was an awful night weather wise, thunder & lightening all around and I thought it would be lucky if the Hut was still standing when I reached Cub age – how wrong can you be!! I did join the Cubs when I was seven or seven and half and the rest as the saying goes is history. It was, unknown to me then, the start of a lifetime of friendships that endure up to this day.

I progressed through the Cubs, ‘leaping’ up into Scouts and wondering what I had let myself in for. Suddenly there were all these older ‘hairy’ Scouts bent on welcoming the newcomers into the Troop via games of Bulldog and High Jimmy Knacker – where was Health and Safety when you really needed it?? I can remember three successive Saturdays being walked down to St. Nicholas Hospital with black eyes and a swollen and bloodied ‘hooter’ (nose) after a ‘quiet night’ at Scouts!! I always thought that the Tenderfoot badge was completely misnamed!  I well remember the early camps at Downe Scout Camp washing in cold water under wooden shelters, in metal bowls, no showers, flushing loos or hot water then. Well it was boys only then! Brian Watling, the Senior Scout Leader along with Graham Hogger, our Scout Leader, arranged a summer camp up at Great Towers campsite on the edge of Lake Windermere. Well if I thought Downe’s facilities where a tad sparten that was nothing compared to what we found in the Lake District, for that is exactly what we found, nothing. No loos, until we had got busy with a shovel; no taps, it was water from the stream that very handily meandered through our allotted site. Great stuff, water being at a premium it couldn’t be wasted on trivial things like washing – anyway I thought my Mum would be well pleased that I had taken great care of the soap. Brian however had other ideas, so we didn’t come home looking like complete rag-a-muffins, we did wash and what a camp it was. Some of us even met the Chief Scout of that time, Sir Charles Maclean, heady days indeed.

I stayed on in Scouting through to Senior Scouts when it was virtually taboo to miss a Friday night at Scouts – that’s how much it meant to all of us. I then went on to become a Cub Leader, Assistant Scout Leader and hopefully put something back into Scouting that it had given me. The older leaders, ‘Skip’ Hogger (Harry), Henry Stock, Les Hogger, Stan Hopgood along with Frank Bryan (Chip) and many more laid  a very special foundation when they set about bringing Scouting to Wesley Hall. How many children have passed through its doors over the years can only be guessed at, many hundreds at least, and lots of them will have memories of ‘their’ time at the youth organisations associated with the Church. I have a lifetime of memories to keep me going. There are things that I have glossed over because other people have mentioned them in their posts on here and I would need to write a book to include everything about my time at Wesley Hall. The important thing is that the Church, despite numerous setbacks over the years, is still going strong, and the Hut is going through yet another restoration in which I have played a small part. I am still able to wield a hammer or paint brush so would be willing to be called upon again soon to help.

I would like to conclude by saying a very big Thank You to all Leaders past and present who have played an enormous part in my life, the friendships made were made for life and that means a heck of a lot to me. Sadly many have passed on now but still live in my memories, you will never be forgotten. To the group of us that still meet up from time to time and our children, most of whom went through the various youth organisations at the church, you still are a huge part of my life, long may that continue. And the people we don’t see that regularly, when we do meet up we pick straight back up from where we left off. Only special friends can do that, so thanks a million ( as Danny often said ).

Alf Gilham

Colin Wright – My Memories of Wesley Hall

My earliest memories of going to Wesley Hall were being taken to Sunday School by my mother (Marjorie Wright), in the early fifties. with my elder sister (Rosemary) and twin sister (Margaret). In 1955 I joined the cubs with Christopher Swadkin and several other boys from Timbercroft School and remember being warmly welcomed by Miss Daniels. During this time I remember lots of events from School School outings, church parades, harvest festivals, bazaars and other social evenings like beetle drives. Our lay preacher at this time was Mr. Priest. He, his wife and their children Luke and Sally lived in the next street to us until they moved to Cuffley.

In 1959 I went into Scouts which was run by Harry Hogger and many a happy evening was spent in the hut. My mother and us children all went to church every week. I will always remember looking forward to Christmas Bazaars so I could buy some of Mrs. Bryan’s  ginger wine (non-alcoholic of course) – it was very good. During the early sixties there was a very popular Saturday evening youth club for Scouts, Guides and their friends. It was very well attended and much fun was had by lots of people.

In the second half of the sixties I went into the Venture Scouts and then into Rovers. Lots of weekends and longer periods of time were spent camping at Downe and other places including a trip to Denmark. Also during this time I became a Sunday School teacher and helped my mother who ran it. In 1971 my twin sister was married at Wesley Hall to Roger Leversuch.

In the early seventies Paul Nichols, Linda Young and Pete Scofield, known as Tideway, founded a folk club for Scouts and Guides. This is where I met my wife (Joy) who was a Guide from Abbey Wood and we were also married at Wesley Hall in 1974.

I always remember my mother doing the National Children Homes fund raising every year and doing the flowers for the church. My dad did his allotment next to the hut.

Wesley Hall played a large part of my early life with friendship and memories that have lasted a lifetime.

Colin Wright

Memories of the Wesley Hall by Brian (Bill) Whitefield

I have no memory of the first visit to Wesley Hall, not surprisingly as I was only a few days old.  When in 1933 on Harvest Festival Sunday I was born in St Nics, now a housing estate, mothers usually carried their babies home and mine took me into the church on the way to home in Alabama Street.  It was to play a large part in my life for the next 28 years.

My first real memory is of being taken regularly to a children’s welfare clinic, either in the Classrooms or Scout Hut, to be weighed, measured, inoculated, obtain subsidised Marmite and be generally monitored.  Modesty was preserved by use of tall, brown, cane roll-up screens with distinctive odour.  There was a milestone when graduating from shop-type scales to a stand-on weighing machine and shame when a nurse insisted on relegating me to the former.

Also in the Classrooms was a weekly Sisterhood meeting to which to which my mother took me.   That was fun as in addition to the fuss from other ladies there was tea and biscuits to enjoy.  While still a babe-in-arms I was taken on a Sisterhood coach outing to Canterbury and during a tour of the cathedral the guide offered to relieve my mother of her weighty bundle but even he tired of carrying me and at one stage dumped me onto the Archbishop’s throne for relief.  Even in school years I was taken to the meetings during holidays until teenage.

Sunday School took place in afternoons at the Scout Hut but I can remember very little about it; certainly none of the teachers.  For lessons we sat in groups on the floor around a teacher seated on a chair.  I do remember being given my first illuminated text, a quotation from Isaiah, “I will not forget thee not forsake thee.” that hung over our fireplace for many years.  It was a comfort during the hard days of the war.  Of church services I remember little during early childhood, the highlights being church parades and Harvest Festivals when the place was packed.

There are memories of Gang Shows that ran for three nights each year with an accompanying band.  Of the musicians only Len Hogger on trumpet and Len Clifton on saxophone come to mind.  There was also an annual bazaar that took place close to Christmas when the body of the hall was full of stalls selling items.  The Sisterhood sold groceries and the Scout Group Cadbury products.  To a little boy it looked next door to Heaven.

With the coming of war in 1939 everything changed radically, never to be quite the same again.  Young men went off to armed forces, older men and some women were directed into war work nearby or in other parts of the country and children were evacuated to what naively were thought safer parts of the country.  Those from Timbercroft went to Tovil near Maidstone.  Quite quickly the congregation had dwindled to little more than a handful.  Only one Sunday service was held, in the morning, in the Classrooms.  The stewards were Messrs Pocknell and Algar, the pianist Miss Rush.  Wesley Hall at that time was part of a circuit additionally comprising Herbert Road, Plumstead Common and Robert Street.  Wesley Hall had been in the care of Pastor Spink but he left presumably for National Service before returning after the war as the Reverend Spink.  Elsewhere in the circuit some ministers remained.  The one at Herbert Road was Harold Eburn who also had a role with Woolwich Borough Council for youth work and at Plumstead Common William Warren. These were supplemented by elderly Local Preachers. Occasionally attendance fell to such a low level that services were suspended for a time.

However things were still going on.  The Cub Pack may have closed, the Rover Crew and Scouters gone off to war but there were boys determined to keep the scout troop going on a do-it-yourself basis.  In this they received great support from the District Commissioner, Ernie Mintern.  The nucleus was my brother Stan, Reg Barratt, Dereck Fairclough and Eddy Clarke.  Despite being on 5-year apprenticeships and involved in evening class studies they found time to erect numerous Morrison steel indoor bomb shelters and participate in many fundraising events for the war effort.  They even managed to go camping on Nightingale Farm at Southborough near Tonbridge, where Reg had been billeted on evacuation, carrying all their kit on bicycles.  That was a useful contact as the farm supplied sheaves of wheat every year for Harvest Festivals, that Reg then fed to hens in his back garden.  As the pointlessness of evacuation became apparent and children returned home there came demand for re-starting the Cub Pack.  Peggy and Barbara Pearson undertook a door-to-door canvass looking for recruits and soon had a waiting list for joining.

Another DIY enterprise was the Youth Club that in the absence of an adult leader but with encouragement of Harold Eburn contained among others Reg Barratt, Jim Watling, John Read, Peter Laming, Eddy Clark, Derek Fairclough, Stan Whitefield, Pat Dolman, Edith Cherry, Vera Algar, Dorothy Smith and the McKelvey sisters.  Among their activities was tennis on the Plumstead Common courts, Bank Holiday rambles around the Darenth valley and concerts at venues in and around London.

At the end of the war the church stood almost undamaged.  Although there was extensive bomb damage in Garland Road, Pendrell Street and Alabama Street there was little more damage than broken windows.  The church was filled for thanksgiving services but soon after congregations began to dwindle and that continued for many years.  There were several reasons for this:  some of the young men who went off to war were killed, National Service conscription continued until 1963 and broke the church habit of most men who were involved, marriage often involved moving away from the area, generally the pattern of work changed from local to more widespread with more moving and for some of those who had remained during the war anno domini took its toll.  Eventually congregations were so sparse that it was decided to convert what had been the Rover Den to a side chapel and that was where I last attended a service on Christmas Day 1963.  Not all was gloom and doom though; other things were happening all the time.

With Harry Hogger returning from Heavy Rescue to resume as GSM, Stan Hopgood returning from war work in Somerset as SM with Frank Bryan as ASM and Arthur Boyce ASM of the Senior Scouts the group became very active again, buoyed up by the success of the Cub Pack and assisted from time to time by the Rover Crew.  The Guide Company was re-formed by Marjorie and Doris Pocknell assisted by Nina Smith.  The Sunday School thrived and the Sisterhood continued for many more years.

The Youth Club, encouraged and supported by Ben Medd, continued with widening activities.  Twice a group went on a MAYC holiday to Guernsey, a very daring thing to do in the late 1940’s.  There they met up with members of other groups and maintained contact with those from Weybridge, Southfields and Walthamstow well into later life.  As they reached the age of 21 members left and eventually the club withered gracefully.  However there were similar clubs later run by Len & Doris Clifton, Frank & Marjorie Bryan and Stan & Cherry Whitefield.

It was sadly ironic that in a new circuit Welling, Bexleyheath and Barnhurst were vibrant church communities while Wesley Hall, despite thriving youth activities, was as a church a pale shadow of what it had once been.

 [Having read some of the blogs it is clear that over time memories may become inaccurate.  If I have misrepresented people or happenings here I apologise.]

Bill Whitefield

Wesley Hall 100 Years – a poem from Mel Temple

100 years have passed so soon
We never thought we’d see
A church so small and yet so grand
For Christ through us to work, could He?!

A great ado goes on here today
When candles are lit and children sing
Look gladly at what you witness and say
He is here!  With love so strong and undying.

Far, far beyond our dreams it seems
The freedom to pray, worship and sing
Between its well shaped pillars, walls and beams
Folk come from far and near, to hear Hosannas ring.

100 years ago upon this south London spot
Charles and John Wesley had long since died
The scented grass and horses braying
To honour their name, these doors were open wide.

Our hopes and dreams still held high
As we tread the roads that lead us here
100 years God stood and watched
O’er this church we hold so dear
Wesley Hall.

Mel Temple

Memories from Pat Guard

I was sitting at home this grey Sunday morning reading the memories of Wesley Hall with a tear in my eye if I’m honest.
I hadn’t thought I had anything to offer as I wasn’t specifically involved with Wesley Hall as I wasn’t a Brownie or Guide and didn’t attend the church there.

But as I read on memories flooded back.  Memories of my friendship with Janet Nichols nee Hogger from when we were at ‘big’ school together, who drew me into her circle of friends linked to Wesley Hall (otherwise I may still be sitting at home, I was rather shy then, no really, I was !). Memories of spending many an evening at ‘The Crypt’ in Woolwich with that same circle of friends, one of whom was to become my husband, Kevin, who was a Scout and Venture Scout at Wesley Hall.  The many parties we used to have with fun and laughter being the name of the game, good clean fun I might add.

Memories of a trip to Germany with them in 1973 (I think), with lots of teasing that I would have to dig my own loo and that I wouldn’t be able to plug in my hair dyer, horror of horrors!!.  Only to find when I got there a beautiful block of flushing loos and shiny showers. Such fun we had.

As Terry Clarke mentioned in his post, as we married and had children our lives took differing paths, but we were always included in functions at Wesley Hall and went to the Gang Show most years.

Over the last 3 years, the friendships forged at that time have really come to the fore when Kevin, my husband, was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Now this is not a tale of woe, I can assure you, as from the moment word got out, ALL of these friends without exception were there to support us and have continued to do so. I could not agree more that the friendships we have, have sustained over the years, it doesn’t matter what gaps there have been, when we meet, it’s as if it was yesterday.

When Karen (Gilham) and I decided to trek a part of the Great Wall of China in aid of our chosen charities, I was somewhat daunted by the thought of how much money I would need to raise in order to go.  Well, I needn’t have worried as once again  – ALL of these friends plus many, many more, were there to support us with their time and money and Karen and I had the time of our lives arranging fundraisers.  I laughed until I cried on occasion, and it was the most amazing experience of a lifetime.

I am very pleased to say our friendships, if anything, are stronger: we meet, remember, laugh, support and share and I feel very privileged to have been, and still be, a part of it all.

Pat Gaurd

Family Connections (from Ann Spray nee Hogger)

Family Connections

My whole family were so very much involved with Wesley Hall as they grew up and then married both on my father’s side – the Hoggers and my mother’s side – the Pollards. They belonged to the church during its early development and the youth organisations where they met their future partners.

William Henry Hogger, known as Harry, married Elsie Langham at Wesley Hall on the day before World War II started in 1939. Harry was a stalwart of the church both as Scoutmaster and as a church steward; he really did keep the place running. I remember trips to the Rover’s den on a Friday night to pay in our instalments to the Christmas Club that Harry organised. It was a way for dad to keep in touch with what was going on. Then there were the indoor campfires that Harry led round the ‘campfire’ lit by a red light bulb. Harry also had an allotment just outside the kitchen door that he spent time on. I think this is where the scouts practised their fire lighting skills. Elsie was Brown Owl for many years and after retiring handed over to her daughter Margaret. Their son Graham was also involved with the Scout group before moving to Dorset.

 Leonard Hogger married Renee Hicks. They met at Wesley Hall. Len was the first of the original Rovers to enlist in the RASC at the beginning of the war when the Rovers started a dairy of the Rovers and their involvement during the war. Several of them of course did not return. Len helped my father with the designing and making of the scenery at Wesley Hall for the Woolwich Boy Scouts Gang Shows during the 1950s. Renee was Tawny Owl alongside Elsie for many years.

Jessie Hogger married Albert Cooper. They did not meet at Wesley Hall but were good supporters. Jessie could be found in the kitchen whenever there was catering to undertake. Their daughter, Audrey Cooper, was my Guide Lieutenant and later in life a regular member of the congregation until she was taken ill in 2010. At our Guide camps she was in charge of the menu and the cooking rota. On one camp she was horrified to find one Sunday morning that a fox had stolen the Sunday roast from the stores tent. It meant knocking up the local butcher to beg another to feed 30 hungry guides. She worked hard to prepare all those meals.

Leslie Hogger married Dora Pollard in 1941 but not at Wesley Hall. Dad was a Scout and later one of the original Rovers. Mum was a Brownie and later a Guide and Sunday School teacher. Mum often accompanied us on our Guide camps with my younger sister, Jan, in tow. She organised the Sunday School outings to Littlehampton and a place could Resort California when it rained all day! We travelled in a double decker London Bus. Dad was involved in organising the Gang Shows at Wesley Hall which I remember well. He was later asked to co-produce The Woolwich Boy Scouts Gang Shows in the 1950s alongside Les Payne, a builder who lived on Plumstead Common Road. Dad took charge of the scenery and props which were built and made with volunteers of the scout group at Wesley Hall. Mum was wardrobe mistress for these events and we spent many weekends at Conway School planning and making costumes during rehearsals. In the late 50s, dad started a youth club on a Saturday night where I learnt to play badminton. I still play now. I was in the Brownies and Guides and a Sunday School teacher for a short while before I left to go to Matlock Teachers Training College in Derbyshire. My sister Jan met and married her husband Paul Nichols at Wesley Hall and are still so very much involved there along with their daughters Helen and Jo.

Marjorie Pollard married Charles Cradduck at Wesley Hall in 1934. They both belonged to the Scouts and Guides. Marjorie was later Brown Owl until the family moved to West Wickham in Kent. Charles was an original Rover and joined the RAF during the war. He later became a Methodist lay preacher. Their son Trevor was also a Cub and Scout.

Dorothy Pollard known as Dolly. Aunt Dolly was my Guide Captain having grown up in the Guides at Wesley Hall. She was also a member of the choir. I remember my guiding years with much affection – the camps, often wet ones but good fun. Dolly, mum and dad made and built the latrine and fire shelters in the back garden when Dolly decided to take her campers certificate. The rubber sheeting roofs used to fill up with rain and when the Guiding official came to inspect the camp someone inside decided to release the water just as she walked past. However Dolly did get her campers certificate. We used a furniture removals van to take us to camp. The stores were loaded first and then the Guides clambered on top. Health and Safety would have a wobbly now! Yearly we used a wooden cart to collect unwanted jam jars to make money for our camping trips. So many happy memories.

With so many of the family involved at Wesley Hall it was inevitable that I should spend so many of my early years there. Growing up in the church and the guide movement I met so many friends some that I still have   contact with but have not seen for many years. It was my life and entertainment then before television and computers. We went to socials, had Christmas parties and of course the fetes and jumble sales and days out.

Well done Wesley Hall on reaching your centenary and to all the people who have been loyal supporters and who have worked hard to keep it going through some difficult times. May it remain a place for people to meet and enjoy especially for the youth of today as it was for the youth of yesterday.

                                                                                  Ann Spray nee Hogger

Paul Nichols remembers

I have been involved with Wesley Hall for a huge amount of my life. I joined the 27th Woolwich Cubs around 1960. Cubs was on a Wednesday, then in the hut, and was led by Akela, affectionately known as ‘Danny’.  Assistants were Joyce and Arthur Stevens.

I moved on to Scouts – into the Owl patrol under Patrol Leader Bill Goad. Graham Hogger and Ben ‘Hoot’ were leaders and I remember all too well the mad games we used to play – British Bulldog and High Jimmy Knacker – the camping trips and pioneering projects. I progressed into the Senior Scout section with Brian Watling as leader. As a young lad I also attended the Wednesday boys’ club run by Danny.

It was in the Senior Scouts that my love of folk music was born.  Peter Scofield , another 27th Senior Scout, and I got together and we learnt folk songs which we sang at Friday meetings in the den. This musical association grew into a lifelong friendship. Later Linda Young joined us to form the Tideway Folk Group. Later, Linda left the group and John Bogg and Mick Bullen joined. In our early twenties we held a Scout and Guide Folk Club in the Scout hut – on Mondays. For three years or so the club was a huge success with folk singers from far and wide singing to a very receptive audience. We held a couple of  folk concerts too in the main hall, called ‘Hi Folk’.

Friendships formed with other 27th Scouts and Senior Scouts in those days have remained to this day. Many of us still meet up from time to time and some still lend a hand when help is needed around the hall. I found my life-long soul mate and wife Jan at Wesley Hall.

I became an Assistant Cub Leader and then Cub Leader at the 27th when Danny had to ‘give up the reigns’, a role which I continue to this day. I did a spell as an Assistant Scout Leader too.

I’m told I was a member of the Wesley Hall Sunday School, but sadly I have little memory of this. I attended church and became a member of the church fairly early on in my life. I remember the jumble sales, when we toured the streets with a trek cart asking for jumble. I remember too the annual Christmas bazaars, which were very popular with the local community. Mum and Dad made huge numbers of Christmas decorations for these and later Dad repaired and renovated toys to sell on the Scouts’ amazing toy stall. The carol services were wonderful with every corner of the main hall lit by hundreds of candles. I remember playing the guitar at services leading the congregation at services, and today I manage the sound system for Church Parade services.

Other writers have mentioned the Gang Shows at Wesley Hall. These originated way back in the 1940s. Gang Shows at Wesley Hall were revived in the mid 1980s, with the Woolwich District Scout show Showtime. I was involved in the production team and ‘trod the boards’.  Showtime later grew into a popular and nationally recognised Gang Show staged at the Woolwich Public Hall.

We have seen memorable but sometime turbulent times at Wesley Hall. Threats of closure, struggles with maintaining the building, even an almost disastrous fire have not shaken the foundations of Wesley Hall. The community at Wesley Hall is as strong today as it was in the beginning. Everyday of the week Wesley Hall is occupied, serving the local community. Over the past 100 years Wesley Hall will be dear to perhaps thousands of people for all sorts of reasons.

It has been a privilege to be part of the story.

Paul Nichols, Treasurer

 

 

Memories of Dawn Barber

As a small child I was taken by my auntie to Sunday School, which was held in the Den at Wesley Hall and as I grew older the class moved into the Hut. As a teenager I joined the choir having having choir practise in the week and singing in church on Sundays.

We had Brownies on Thursdays with the two Mrs. Hoggers and we took part in the Gang Shows held at Wesley Hall, our mums would put make-up on us at home and we’d walk along the streets to the show thinking that we looked so good!

Years passed and then I took my three daughters and son to Sunday School and to Brownies, Guides, Cubs and Scouts.

Life has come full circle and now it is the turn of my granddaughter  to be in the Cubs and grandson to be in the Beavers.

Dawn Barber

Memories of Dot Fairclough

Memories of Wesley Hall are mostly good but a few sad ones too.

War time: one big happy family all caring for each other. Two of our Rovers serving with the RAF were killed in action – Harry Osbourne and Ernie Pocknal – remembered with love and sadness to this day.

Life was never dull at Wesley Hall, always something happening. Gift days were busy, each organisation took part in a display with packed houses so well attended each time.

Gang Shows in those days were held at Wesley Hall – what a great time was had by all. I still vividly remember one young girl front of stage on her own in a top hat and tails with black fishnet tights and high heels. Will she recognise herself I wonder? She is now a married mum of two!

From Novemebr to January each year were Christmas parties by January sandwiches, jelly, cakes and any other party treats were off the menu.

Six out of seven days a week Wesley Hall was our second home, my mum and dad used to say, “why don’t you take your bed down there?”

So many happy memories, far too many to record here but best of all some of us were meeting our life-long partners – time passes so quickly, looking back every minute of every day at Wesley Hall was special.

Sadly my partner and soul mate is no longer with us, but I know he’d have been happy and proud that Wesley Hall is still flourishing in its Centenary Year.

D. Fairclough

Memories of Margaret Leversuch (née Wright)

Margaret write:

I have some lovely memories of Wesley Hall, as it was a big part of most of my childhood.  My mum, (Marjorie Wright), took us to Sunday School at an early age, which was run by Mr. Hogger.   I then progressed to Brownies and then on to Guides.  I helped run the Brownie Pack until my marriage, when I then moved to the New Forest.

I can remember going to the Youth Club, which was fun and going on Good Friday hikes after church and breakfast.  The Church used to be in the Hall and then the Chapel was done I think about 1960 (although I am not sure on the dates).  The Hall was always used for Parade Services once a month and on Mothering Sunday, when children gave their mums a posy of flowers.

Margaret Leversuch

[A picture of Margaret’s wedding is on the Wesley Hall weddings article of the blog.]

The Cherry Sisters

Doris and Edith Cherry grew up in Plumstead, attending Wesley Hall with their parents Amy and William Cherry. Doris was in her teens in the 1930s and met her husband to be, Len Clifton, before the war at Wesley Hall. He was an enthusiastic member of the 27th Woolwich Scout Group both before and after the war.

During the war years Doris worked in Harrogate in the War Ministry and Len joined the army, ending up as a Prisoner of War in the Far East.

After  the war they returned to Plumstead and Wesley Hall. Doris and Len were married in 1946 – for some reason this was at Welling Methodist Church. They continued to attend Wesley Hall until they moved to Eltham in 1952. They can be seen in Edith’s wedding photograph at Wesley Hall in 1951 with their daughter, Gillian, born in 1948.

Edith (known as Cherry) is seven years younger than her sister. She belonged to the church youth club during and after the war and also met her husband to be at Wesley Hall Youth club. Activities included some holidays including some to Guernsey. Stan Whitefield was a member of the scout troop (as was his brother Brian).

Edith and Stan were married at Wesley Hall on 17th March 1951. The certificate is signed by H. E. Eburne, Minister and E. Maynard Wilson. The family group photo shows them standing outside the church.

Edith and Stan moved to Eltham in the 1950’s and continued to worship at Wesley Hall until Stan’s job took them to Yorkshire, and later Scotland.

DorisStan
Doris and Stan Whitefield’s wedding, 17th March 1951

Memories of Edith Hawthorne

Raymond [minister in charge: 1988 to 1994] and I came to Shooters Hill Circuit from overseas and wondered how we would adjust to being back in English Methodism.  The warm, loving welcome that we received made things easier and we were very grateful to you all.

At the beginning, I didn’t travel round the Circuit very much, but always felt at home when I did come to Wesley Hall.  Half way through Raymond’s ministry there he had to go into hospital.  I had just started training as a local preacher, going with Pat Spilsbury to share in services, and on that day I preached my first sermon.  It was at Wesley Hall.

It was the first sermon I had written and being the first time I had tried preaching , I was very nervous and my mind was also on Raymond, so I shudder to think what it was like!  However, you were all very supportive and tried to convince me that it had been fine. That support never faltered and I always knew that your prayers were with me in my studies.  I will always be grateful to you for that.

Your witness in the local neighbourhood is very important and I pray that the Centenary Celebrations will be a witness that is enjoyed by many and that God will continue to bless the work you do for him in the years ahead.

Edith Hawthorne

Memories of Marion Wilson

Although I was christened in St.  Margaret’s Church, at the age of 2 and a half I was taken by my sister to Wesley Hall to join the Sunday School.  (My Mother had been brought up as an Anglican but thought the Methodists were more friendly.)

My sister joined the Brownies in 1943 and I wanted to join as well.   Miss  Austen was the Sunday School Superintendent and Brown Owl and every time I saw her I asked “When can I join the Brownies?”  To shut me up, I was accepted at the age of 6 and half and loved every minute of it.  (My father died when I was 7 and a half in May 1946; he so enjoyed ‘spit and polish night’ when he inspected our uniforms before we left home.)

My first appearance on stage was in 1945 (probably for a concert to celebrate the end of the war).  I was dressed in a borrowed khaki coloured forage cap, battle dress and pleated skirt.  I marched up and down singing ‘Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag’ and the kit bag was so light it was weighted with hymn books!

At the age of 12 I asked Mrs. Dora Hogger if I could be a Sunday School Teacher.  She accepted me and I became a trainee for a year, with the youngest class.  The same year I was accepted into Church Membership.

We had a very good Junior Church Choir, led by Mr. and Mrs. Clifton and most of us were in their Bible Class.  I remember very well going to their house in Flaxton Road to make crackers for the Church Christmas Bazaar.

There was always so much going on in the church.  On Saturday evening we held the Youth Club and at the end of each evening we made a dash to the kitchen for the tea pots.  First ones there threw the wet tea leaves around the floor (to settle the dust) while the others swept the floor.  We then put the communion rail, chairs and carpet back in place before the Sunday services.  Happy memories of indoor camp fires, panto rehearsals, bazaars, Guide meetings and activities.  I thoroughly enjoyed the monthly Church Parade, meeting in Erindale and marching to Church with flags flying.

I left the Guides in 1955 to go into Cubs and was placed in Abbey Wood Methodist Church.  A few years later I went to Woolwich Methodist Church to become the Cub Leader.  As I had to live in Greenwich (for my work), I moved my Membership to Woolwich in about 1960.  (I did 41 years in the Scout Association.)

I spend some of my retirement now cleaning the toilets in Callington Methodist Church and most weeks it reminds me of sweeping Wesley Hall floors.

Wesley Hall leaders played an enormous part in forming my teenage years with their care, love and training.  I have such happy memories of those 18 years.

Marion Wilson

Gwen’s reflections

It was from 1949 that I started going to Wesley Hall. I was married to Dick Webber, and his mother, Mrs. Pollard, and stepsisters Marjorie, Dorothy and Dora attended Wesley Hall. They were fully committed to all activities that happened at the church. I went with them to the evening service, though not regularly.

Wesley Hall was different from what it is now. On the front side of the stage there were steps from which the choir sang. It seemed a darker hall than the lovely  bright one we have now. I do remember there was always a large congregation.

As time went on and we had Margaret and Peter, Dick would look after the children while I went to the evening service. It was lovely to sit quietly, enjoy the singing and sermon and come away feeling that with God’s help I could face whatever the week ahead would bring.

Then as the children got older, I went to the morning services. For all children there was Sunday School run by Mrs. Marjorie Wright and Mrs. Dora Hogger; also bright hour on a Sunday afternoon run by Marjorie and Frank Bryan.

I have happy memories attending Scout and Guide activities which involved Margaret and Peter, and especially Church Parades seeing the young people in church. The 27th Group was popular then, and still is, due I am sure to committed leaders.

So many people seem to think because you go to church you are serious, but they are so wrong. How I enjoyed going to the folk concerts held in the hut, enjoying listening to Tideway; jumble sales, wondering whether people would come; barn dances and Christmas Bazaars. All these things take a lot of organising.

Due to the hard work and dedication of so many people, Wesley Hall is a lovely bright church. There always has been, and will always be, a most friendly and warm welcome to everyone new who comes to Wesley hall.

Compared to other churches, we are a small church, not made of sand but a solid rock, and one where I will always worship

Gwen Webber

 

My first visit to Wesley Hall

I arrived at Wesley Hall one dark Sunday evening in October 1988. I had been raised a Methodist – my Great Grandfather and two friends had raised funds for and built a simple Primitive Methodist Chapel in my home village of Oldcroft in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. I attended Sunday School there until it was forced to close and (much to my Grandfather’s chagrin) started attending the nearest Methodist Chapel, a Bible Christian Chapel with which he would have no truck, preferring to attend the Church Of England. We attended every week (myself and four younger siblings) and I recall the nervous excitement of the Sunday School Anniversary recitals (two services) followed by the Sunday School outing to Barry Island the following week – so exciting I could never manage my breakfast.

At the age of 14 I started helping with Sunday School and when a Christian Union opened at my Secondary School I joined that too. Unfortunately the Christian Union at University put me off and for the next 10 years I did not attend a regular service, although I was married in the Methodist Chapel that I had attended at Yorkley Slade (pronounced slad) when I left London to return to live in the Forest in 1984.

Returning to London in 1987 I found myself in Plumstead knowing no-one but my husband. I wanted to be settled and part of the community. I realised that I missed the routine of Sunday church-going. Furthermore we wanted to start a family and I felt it was important that a child should have a routine and a knowledge of Christianity. I started looking for a church I could attend. Sunfields seemed too far away. I tried Trinity Methodist but it didn’t feel right. Then I discovered there was a funny little building tucked away near the common. I came to that first service feeling rather doubtful. The service was in the main hall, led I believe by a female minister (quite a novelty at the time). The hall itself I recall as being dark – dull paintwork and even duller green curtains on the stage, there were strange banks of folding wooden chairs, a battered floor and hissing gas fires on the wall.  I remember a smart-looking couple (Dorothy and Derek Fairclough) and a dapper little man (Mr Nichols). Mr Bryan was playing the organ and was accompanied by his wife who was wearing turquoise stone earrings.   The place had a familiarity about it – the look and homely feel reminded me of the chapel at Yorkley Slade (and how odd that this building was in the Slade too).

I decided to return the following Sunday evening when the minister, Harvey Richards, put out a notice that “Debby is looking for someone to help her with Sunday School”. Everything seemed to fall into place so I attended the next morning service and volunteered my services. I have helped with Sunday School ever since and much has changed. People have come and gone, two of those original children play the organ for services (Helen and Jo Nichols), my daughter has grown up and I have two grandchildren. However, the special feel of Wesley Hall remains. Recently my grandson exclaimed – “Grandma – I like coming to chapel” – and when I asked why, he said “Because I feel like I’m part of something”. I couldn’t put it better myself.

Christine Anthony, Sunday School Leader

Who built Wesley Hall?

Who built Wesley Hall?

Two stones inside the ‘porch’ provide the answer to that question. One indicates the architects Gordon and Gunton. Josiah Gunton designed a number of Wesleyan chapels and a rather grand building in Portsmouth which served as both the Wesleyan Sailors and Soldiers Home and a church built in 1908. He also designed the Royal Masonic Institution Boy’s School in Bushey, Hertfordshire in the same year and later the Royal Insurance Building, Lombard St.

Wesley Hall seems to have been designed by his son William who went on to become a partner in the practice 2 years later. There are similarities in the shape of the windows of some of Josiah’s buildings with that of Wesley Hall but little else. The builders, also commemorated in stone, were Thomas and Edge, well-known local builders who went on to build several shops in Powis Street, Woolwich and were still operating in the 1960s.

The building is simple in the extreme and designed to maximise its flexibility, being aimed primarily at the youth of this rapidly expanding suburb. There is little to indicate its use as a place of worship (the cross now adorning the front elevation was added in the late 1980s) although upon close inspection it is possible to see that the hall window mullions and transoms are over-engineered and in fact each form a crucifix.

The design consists of a large, simple hall with a high open apex roof with sturdy trusses. There is a ‘porch’ but it serves only to secure the building and minimise heat loss from the hall. The large windows are higher at the rear to accommodate a fixed pulpit and a number of rooms were provided to either side which could be divided by heavy wooden blinds of the type then commonly used by shops to secure the premises at night (an example is still in use today at “The first shop in the world” Nauticalia in Greenwich, on the corner of King William Walk). The current staging to be seen in the hall was built later (probably in the 1930s).  The only other change of note is that regular services were moved to one of the side rooms, now our Chapel, when the size of the congregation and the cost of heating the hall made weekly use of this space uneconomic and the blinds were replaced by permanent walling, some being recycled as benches.

Simple it may be but the building has stood the test of time and stills serves as a centre for a range of youth and children’s activities to this day.

[Sourced and written by Christine Anthony]

Ministers

WOOLWICH CIRCUIT 1890-1946
SHOOTERS HILL CIRCUIT from 1946
LESNES ABBEY CIRCUIT from 2008

Appointed with Pastoral Oversight for Circuit

1888    Revd.* Thomas Chope
1891    Revd.*  Joseph Hewitson
1894    Revd.*  Robert Odery
1897    Revd.*  J. H. Cadman
1899    Revd.*  W. C. Kewish
1900    Revd.*  W. Cornelius Jones
1904    Revd.*  T. E. Westerdale
1906    Revd.*  Dr. Charles Wenyon
1909    Revd.*  David W. Barr
1912    Revd.*  Charles E. Dove

Minsters Appointed for Wesley Hall with Pastoral Oversight

1914     Revd.*   Charles E. Dove
1915    Revd.*  Wesley Woolmer
1919    Revd.*  A. J. Johnson
1923    Revd.*  William H. Phipps
1925    Revd.*  Joseph Reed
1930    Revd.*  William H. Lawson

In Ministerial Charge for Wesley Hall

1931    Revd.    Walter Floyd
1933    Pastor   William Robinson
1935    Revd.    Samuel Westwood Williams
1936    Revd.    Frank W. Hargreaves
1936    Revd.    Ralph Kirby
1939    Revd.    C. Leslie Brewer
1940    Revd.    Eric G Frost
1941    Revd.    Bennison G. Medd
1945    Revd.    Raymond B. Wright
1948    Revd.*  E. Maynard Wilson
1968    Revd.    Leslie E. Day
1973    Revd.*  Michael J. Gilyead
1979    Revd.*  David W. Nicholson
1983    Revd.*  Harvey S. Richardson
1988    Revd.*  Raymond A. Hawthorne
1994    Revd.*  Eric McKenzie
2001    Revd.*  David F. Ashby
2004    Revd.*  Judy Turner-Smith
2010    Revd.    Asif Karam

*= Circuit Superintendent

Memories of a 60s Scout

Our thanks go to Terry Clarke, who was a Scout in the 1960s, for sending us his treasured memories of Wesley Hall.

My experiences of Wesley Hall came via membership of the 27th Woolwich Scouts. After being thrown out of the 10th Woolwich Cubs for fighting with the vicar’s son, I was shown that Scouting still had a lot to offer me and this could be had via the 27th. This was in 1961 and the decade that followed proved to be the most rewarding time of my life.

Scouts was every Friday evening and after learning our scout craft, implanting massive splinters into our arms and legs by playing British Bulldog or some other murderous type of activity (these were the days when Health and Safety were just two words in the dictionary), our friendships were cemented with fish and chips (and yes, they were out of proper newspaper) on the way home. As time passed, we moved into the Senior Scouts and spent our Fridays in the “den” acting as guinea pigs for some of Brian’s experimental “foodstuff” he had brought home from work – only one or two of us actually grew two heads but some others did develop some very strange behaviours.

Solid friendships were formed during that time, friendships that have survived until today, five decades later.

Alas, there came a time when we grew too old for the Scouts but separation from Wesley Hall still proved difficult and our Friday evening rituals turned into a weekly gathering at the local pub – “The Who’d a Thought it”. These gatherings grew; we discovered girls (most of whom were Girl Guides at Wesley Hall – the 6th Plumstead Common) and romances blossomed. Gradually these weekly gatherings diminished as couples paired off and started families. I must say, and I do think this is generally understood, Wesley Hall and all that it meant was never far from my mind.

The next 20 – 25 years saw sporadic gatherings of the group although some did settle into permanent roles at Wesley Hall. Generally, though, if assistance or attendance was required at Wesley Hall, then it was usually and readily provided.

Wesley Hall has been a focus for thousands of people since it was built. No building on its own can create a union of friends – it takes people with will to do that. It can, however, provide the environment for that will to prosper. The strength of that will has been demonstrated many times over the years with Wesley hall as its enabler.

Most recently, we had two members of our particular group embark on a highly personal journey in support of charities that have deep significance to them. They decided that they would do a sponsored walk along parts of the Great Wall of China. Facebook came alive with requests for help in achieving sponsorship goals necessary to enable participation in the trek.

There started a period of pure magic. Fundraising events were held over a period of about 8 months. Suddenly most of the original group from the 1960s and 70s appeared on the scene along with a host of others. Financial targets were met and exceeded very quickly. Old friendships were rekindled and enhanced. It was a remarkable time and the intention is to carry this on.

It was at a recent gathering that the gift of friendship that originated from Wesley Hall half a century ago came, for me, into its sharpest focus. The sight of children playing and laughing – the grand sons and grand daughters of that group of friends who came together at Wesley Hall in the 1960s. Still friends, still sharing and laughing, still living the same values we developed then.

Terry Clarke

Janet’s memories

Janet Nichols (nee Hogger) is a member at Wesley Hall; at one time she ran the Brownies and Beavers at Wesley Hall and she currently helps with the Cub Scout Pack. She has written about her memories and feelings about Wesley Hall:

Throughout my life Wesley Hall has almost been my second home. The furthest I have lived away from it was for 4 years when at Nottingham university and for the first 8 years of married life in Eltham.

My parents, Les and Dora Hogger, met at Wesley Hall through Guiding and Scouting and hence Wesley Hall was to play a very big part in my life.  My first service, apparently, was Harvest Festival 1949 when a month old.

Both sides of my parent’s families, the Pollards and the Hoggers, supported Wesley Hall in many ways, either as Guide leaders, Brownie leaders and Sunday School teachers, so it was only natural that I joined these activities.

My first memories are of beginners Sunday School sitting on various coloured stools in the Rovers den, now the chapel, playing with tin trays filled with sand. If I remember rightly the pianist for us was Betty Hill. I then progressed to Primary Sunday School, which was held in the Hut, run by my mum and the pianist was Joyce Richards. Lastly, came Senior Sunday school in the main hall, run by my uncle Harry Hogger and Mrs Wright.

Church parades in my early days were big affairs and I can remember as a 3 to 5 year old standing proudly with my auntie, Dorothy Pollard, the Guide captain, on the other side of the church in the road at the beginning of the line of Guides and Brownies, waiting for the Scouts, Cubs, etc march past us from Erindale Road where they had congregated earlier on. On entering the church we were witness of a large congregation, so large that the shutters that divided the classrooms from the hall had to be rolled up in order to fit everyone in. On the stage were the church choir, who came down to join the rest of the congregation to listen to the sermon which was delivered from a high round pulpit to the right of the church. I often wondered what went on in the vestry before and after the service as we were never allowed in there at any time!

Many a happy time was had at Wesley Hall as I entered Brownies and then Guides, as well as attending Sunday School most weeks. Other big occasions that come to mind are the bazaars before Christmas, the numerous jumble sales to raise money for good causes and the annual Parents Evenings when the hall heaved with Guides, Brownies, Cubs, Scouts, Senior Scouts and Rovers. It was the youngsters’ opportunity to put on a show for their parents showing them skills and games that they had learnt at their section evenings.

Another one of my memories as a child was being given a book of Sunny Smiles, which were photos of children who lived in the then National Childrens Homes. Our job was to sell these photos to family and friends and bring the money back for this charity. Again if I remember correctly the total amount of money was handed in at a special service in Westminster Central Hall. A different child was selected to be the one to take it up on to the stage during the service, a real honour!

As I became too old for Guides I became a Brownie leader before going off to college. On returning, I was asked by the Akela of the cubs, Miss Daniels, affectionally known as Danny, to help with Cubs, which  I did. This was where I got to know Paul, now my husband. He was also in a folk group which regularly held really good folk nights in the scout hut.

Wesley Hall has changed quite a lot since I was a small girl. The Rovers den became our chapel. The classrooms no longer have shutters that can be raised. The Scout den at the front has appeared. The main hall has had many improvements and modernisations. The allotments round the back of the chuch have disappeared. The entrance to the back of the church, in Garland  Road, has long since gone and even the hut, which has threatened to collapse over the years, has been modernised with central heating and double glazing!

In April 1976, Paul and I were married at Wesley Hall by the Rev Michael Gilyead. At this time the main hall was looking a bit “tired” so the Thursday before our wedding on Saturday we were busy painting the walls as far up as we could reach, sweeping the floors and polishing the chairs, etc. My uncle, Charles Cradduck, a past member of the church, played the organ for us which we had to hire for the day! I still have to giggle at the thought of it as he didn’t know how to turn off the drum rhythm which wasn’t the usual accompaniment for Charles Wesley hymns! However, all this didn’t matter as we were proud that we were being married in the church we had both grown to love.

Our daughters were born in 1978 and 1981 and their first church services were harvest festivals and they both became to know Wesley Hall as their second home by joining Brownies, which by then I was running as well as still helping with cubs.

It was in 1984 that history began to repeat itself for me. Back in the 1950s my parents became involved in the Woolwich Gang Show as stage manager and wardrobe mistress. This show originated at Wesley Hall and involved many of the church’s members. As a young girl I can remember my mum sewing costumes in our kitchen whilst dad made props in the shed.

Paul decided he wanted to start another show, called Showtime, which eventually become the Woolwich Gang Show again. Rehearsals started every Sunday in the main hall and over the years singing from a cast of over 80 could be heard in neighbouring houses! These rehearsals continued annually , then biannually until the early 2000s when Paul decided he would give up his role of producer. Of course I wasn’t to be left out. So I decided to help with the costumes. I also became part of the cast for a number of years and finally took on the role of coordinating the costume section. I often wonder what my parents would have thought or said to Paul and myself becoming so involved in the show as they had done!

Then in 1992, our daughters became Scouts when rules changed in Scouting and girls were allowed in the Scout movement. Wesley Hall started to play a bigger part in their lives too as they became members of the Gang Show as they progressed through the Scout sections and eventually became Beaver leaders.

There have been many times when Wesley Hall has been close to closing because of dwindling congregations and large premises needing maintenance, but it has survived. On several occasions when things aren’t going right, when church services including church parades are poorly attended, when I have really found it hard to summon up enthusiasm to lead a Cub evening on cold winter nights, or when on a “work day” the amount of work to be done seems overwhelming, I have thought that life would be a lot easier if Wesley Hall were to close. Sometimes it has felt like a chain around the neck.

However, on a miserable wet Friday in late June 2011, as I was making my way round to another Cub evening, my feelings about the church changed dramatically and I was to realise how much it meant to me.

I was walking down Garland Road when I heard sirens and could smell smoke. I first thought it was another attempt of youths trying to set the common alight. Then to my dismay as I rounded the corner I could see three or four fire engines outside the church which was billowing smoke.  The feeling inside me was one of horror. Firstly if it had happened two or three minutes later the church would have been full of children. Fortunately no one was physically hurt. Secondly it seemed to be so badly burning that it was not going to survive. Thirdly all my memories of past times, family and friends were being destroyed in front of me.  It dawned on me how much Wesley Hall meant to me.

Fortunately the church refused to lie down and by November through a lot of work and enthusiasm the place was back to itself, better and brighter than it had been before. Members seemed to be given new life and determination from the dreadful act that had befell on that fateful night in June. What is more we were heartened by the amount of well wishers from within the community.

So in this centenary year I am proud to be part of Wesley Hall and hope and pray it continues to serve and support the youth and adults of its community.

Akela

One of Wesley Hall’s people was ‘Danny’ – Florence Daniels.

Danny was Akela to the 27th Woolwich Cub Scout Pack for many many years. She also ran a boys’ club at Wesley Hall on Wednesday evenings.

Danny was unique.  She was amazing in her care and love for ‘her boys’.  Danny loved the simple things in life and was always cheery and chatty. She was one of those people who was difficult to say ‘no’ to. She would often visit the parents of cubs on a Saturday morning, usually to persuade them to help in some way.

Danny’s links with Wesley Hall and 27th Woolwich spanned some 40 years. Her service was incredible and her energy tireless. Such was the love and affection held of her, many of the ‘boys’ helped her in later life, doing jobs around the house and looking after her affairs. Although Danny had no family of her own she regarded her boys and their families as her family.

Akela receiving a presentation from 27th Woolwich Group Scoutleader Brian Watling. This was taken backstage at one of the  District Scout and shows held at Wesley Hall (Showtime), 1984 or 1985
Akela receiving a presentation from 27th Woolwich Group Scoutleader Brian Watling. This was taken backstage at one of the District Scout and shows held at Wesley Hall (Showtime), 1984 or 1985

Danny died in 1986. She was sadly missed by  so many. A thanksgiving service was held for her. A plaque on a wall in the chapel commemorates her life at Wesley Hall and the cross on the front wall of the church was erected in her memory.

Such was the respect that Wesley Hall people had for Danny, nobody since has taken the name ‘Akela’ in the Cub Pack.

dannyDanny his pictured here with Grace Bater who cared for Danny in the last five years of her life.

Do you have memories of Danny? Do please write in to centenary@wesleyhallplumstead.org.uk

Memories from author Bernard Ashley

We were so pleased to receive the following from author Bernard Ashley.

I went to Wesley Hall as a boy in the war and after. With my father Alfred, my mother Vera, and my younger brother Michael we normally went to the Sunday evening services. The church had a circuit minister but we didn’t see him too often; in any case, our favourite minister was the lay preacher Jim Priest. He had great warmth and a good sense of humour. If he’d ever preached hell and damnation he’d have had a twinkle in his eye saying ‘Not really.’ I remeber one Christmas morning service when we talked to Mr Priest before it began about our Christmas presents – and I was wearing one of mine, a yellow short-sleeved pullover. I was so proud when it was mentioned in the prayers of thanks.

The organ was played by Miss Rush, an elderly woman hunched over the keyboard and pedalling away. At some services a young man called Ernest Pocknell played his violin. I belonged to the cubs, and Ernie’s fiancée Barbara was Baloo, assistant to Akela.

Ernie was called up into Bomber Command, and he didn’t return from a raid over Germany. We all hoped he’s been taken prisoner-of-war, but sadly, he’d been killed. I had started to learn the violin on a borrowed instrument, and after a while I was asked if I would like to have Ernie’s. I gratefully accepted, and from time to time played a few scratchy notes at services, but I wasn’t nearly as good as Ernie had been. I kept a violin for years, and eventually gave it to Eaglesfield School for a boy to learn on there.

Having visited our house for tea one Sunday – and noting how brother Michael and I got on together – Ernie wrote in my autograph book, ‘Little birds in their nests should agree,’ He was a dear, gently, man. I would love to know how Barbara fared later.

I went through cubs and scouts – the regular meetings, district competitions, the two-week camps (real camping) and the camp fire nights in Wesley Hall, sitting round a false fire of sticks, crinkly red paper and a light bulb. The highlights of these were the camp fire ‘items’ – recitations, songs, and sketches. from time to time – I’m not sure it is was annually – we performed a Gang Show on the rigged-up stage in the hall. My love of theatre stemmed partly from performing in these.

Wesley Hall and my family gave me a very happy childhood, despite the war. When my father changed his occupation in my early teens we moved to the Medway towns where I tried to pick things up. But it wasn’t the same. There was no skipper like Stan.

I feel so grateful for the spirit and the friendship I had as a child in the Wesley Hall community – and I pay tribute to the people who carry on that precious tradition.

Bernard Ashley

 

27th Woolwich Scout Group

Wesley Hall has been home to the 27th Woolwich Scout Group since its formation.  The group currently comprises a Beaver Colony, Cub Scout Pack and Scout Troop. The Badger Explorer Unit also meets at Wesley Hall.  The group and unit have always been strongly linked with the church, with many group members also members of Wesley Hall. Most months of year include a parade service attended by group members in uniform. The group’s colours are paraded at these services.

Often the group has helped out with maintenance of the building, with much valuable work today still carried out by current group officers and former group members.

Wesley Hall has seen many special events held by the 27th, including dinners, barbecues, group shows, etc.

A badge commemorating Wesley Hall’s centenary has been designed. We hope that it permission will be grated for this to be worn on our uniforms.

Information about the group and its history is available on the Group’s web site at http://the27thwoolwich.org.uk/.

The are perhaps many hundreds of photos taken of the 27th over the years. W e publish just a small selection here, particularly where they feature Wesley Hall. Please if you have any comments, do write in.

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An early pic of 27th Woolwich Cub Scouts meeting outside Greenslade School ready to parade to Wesley Hall

An early pic of 27th Woolwich Cub Scouts meeting outside Greenslade School ready to parade to Wesley Hall
Scouts on parade too!
Scouts on parade too!
parade service sept 1947
Troop parade service, September 1947
The group ready for District St. George's Day, sometime in the  1990s!
The group ready for District St. George’s Day, sometime in the 1990s!

 

Wesley Hall Weddings

Unfortunately, weddings at Wesley Hall have been few and far between.

Charles and Marjorie Cradduck's wedding, June 1934.
Charles and Marjorie Cradduck’s wedding, June 1934.
Elsie and Harry Hogger, September 1939
Elsie and Harry Hogger, September 1939
Doris and Stan Whitefield, 17th March 1951
Doris and Stan Whitefield, 17th March 1951
Roger and Margaret Leversuch (Margaret nee Wright)
Roger and Margaret Leversuch (Margaret nee Wright)
Margaret Wright's wedding.
Margaret and Roger Leversuch (Margaret nee Wright)
Colin and Joyce Wright, 1974
Colin and Joyce Wright, 1974
Janet and Paul Nichols, April 1976.
Debbie and Terry West
Debbie and Terry West

The Rovers

Wesley Hall was home to the 27th Woolwich Rover Crew.

Rovers reunion just after the 1939-1945 world war, Prower House. In the picture are Len and Doris Clifton, Renee Hogger, Len Hogger, Ann Hogger, Graham Hogger, Dora Hogger, Trevor Cradduck, Charles and Marorie Cradduck, Dorothy Pollard, Elsie and Harry Hogger, Henry Stock.
Rovers reunion just after the 1939-1945 world war, Prower House. In the picture are Len and Doris Clifton, Renee Hogger, Len Hogger, Ann Hogger, Graham Hogger, Dora Hogger, Trevor Cradduck, Charles and Marorie Cradduck, Dorothy Pollard, Elsie and Harry Hogger, Henry Stock, Les Hedley.
Fun at the Rover's reunion. Pictured are: Ivy and Leslie Prowers, Charles Cradduck, Ann Hogger, Trevor Cradduck, Brian Hogger, Len Hogger, Graham Hogger.
Fun at the Rover’s reunion. Pictured are: Ivy and Leslie Prowers, Charles Cradduck, Ann Hogger, Trevor Cradduck, Brian Hogger, Len Hogger, Graham Hogger.

 

Later years – a time of regeneration

The early 1980s and late 1990s were difficult times. Lean years in terms of members and threats of closure – not a very easy time for anyone. Some people outside of our Church held the view that the Church was just being kept open for the use of the Scouts and Guides. This was not a view of the fellowship at Wesley Hall who were still working hard in the Church with the Scouts and Guides alongside us. We had to get through periods of soul-searching, self-criticism and working out what our strengths and weaknesses were, of reaching out to others for help and of prayer. However, this was a time of learning, because we realised that we did have strengths and that with the fellowship working together we could still function and we had work to do.

We needed lots of prayer and a Minister who would come in, shake us up and work alongside us. We found this in David Ashby. He encouraged us to identify our strengths, to use them to the Church’s benefit and to work together, to believe in ourselves as a Church and that we could achieve things together with God alongside us. The Church together with the Scouts was actually one of our main strengths.

So began a period of years when the fellowship transformed the building, commencing in the summer of 2002 with Group Scout Leader Barry Munden taking up the first board of the old hall floor. With about 20 other volunteers, old scouts, parents of children in scouts and church members, the whole floor was taken up in a couple of hours. Then the real hard work began with the laying of the new floor, the redecoration of the hall, and refurbishment of the Chapel and Vestry. Over the period 2002 – 2005 the building was brought back into good order.

Volunteers start work on replacing the wooden floor in the main hall, 2002
Volunteers start work on replacing the wooden floor in the main hall, 2002

On 6th June 2004, we celebrated our 90th Anniversary with a fun afternoon involving all organisations and groups who used the hall, including folk singing from Tideway, line dancing, jazz dancing, scouting skills and competitions. It was a very enjoyable afternoon. The day after, on the Sunday, a special service was held led by David Ashby, featuring a sketch “Wesley Hall This is Your Life” and followed by a barbecue.

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By the Church’s 93rd Anniversary we had new chairs, new carpet and new faces. The premises was being used more and more by the local community: numerous one-off lettings, a Line Dancing Group on Wednesday evenings, Karate on Monday evenings, the Child Health Clinic on Wednesday mornings and on Friday evenings the whole place was full with young people and leaders in Scouting.

June 2011 was a dark time for Wesley Hall. One Friday evening the Church was damaged badly by fire, allegedly the result of an arson attack. The Chapel was very badly damaged, as was the chair store and kitchen, and the building was badly smoke damaged. We were heart-broken as in just a short half hour or so much of the work that had been achieved was destroyed. But the fellowship was as resilient as ever. With the assistance of the insurance company and hard work by numerous contractors, the Church was gradually repaired over the following few months. We were soon back on our feet and well and truly back in business!photo 1-57

Karen Gilham (Secretary) and Paul Nichols (Treasurer)

Early years

We begin our potted history of Wesley Hall with an extract from the Methodist Recorder on Woolwich Methodism, 28th December 1911.

“The newest development in this old Circuit is at the Slade where a new area of people is springing up. Until the last weeks there has resided at the Slade a lady of means who deliberately moved into the area to devote time, personal service and money to religious and good works. She has bought and presented to Methodism a large site of freehold land most suitably situated. She has also given the use of her own house rent free for 3 years for the future use of a Pastor who wil develop the scheme and carry out Christian and temperance work.”

That pastor was Mr. George Dempster and that was how Wesley Hall Methodist Church began: through the generosity of a friend of the church who was not a Methodist but believed that such a building was necessary in the area. The Scheme was later launched at a special service to commemorate 125 years of Methodism in Woolwich on 4th January 1912. After a lot of work in the local community of the Slade and fund-raising, the building was eventually opened on 10th March 1914 and the building was packed with people.

In October 1938, there was another great effort to raise funds for Wesley Hall’s continued work amongst young people. From a special Souvenir Booklet produced at the time, Rev. Arthur Summerfield writes:

“Dear Friends,

The work at Wesley Hall is mainly among young people. The premises are not sufficient to cope with the many organisations for the youth of the neighbourhood. Situated on the verge of a large new building area the scope of the work has increased considerably, with encouraging results. We have a loyal band of young men and women ably led by Pastor Spink who are facing up to these new opportunities but whose efforts are somewhat hampered by lack of funds.

“We believe that great days are before us and we trust that the success of these celebrations will be but the beginning of a new era for this Church. We are full of hope and trust that the confidence of our friends will inspire them to give us all the help they can.”

Pastor Chas Young writes in the booklet about progress during the years 1929 – 1933, which, he writes, was confined chiefly to youth organisation:

“The Girls’ Club was drafted into a Guide Company under Captain Tebbutt. The Boys’ Club gave place to a Scout troop, with Mr. H. Hogger as Scoutmaster. Later the Rovers transformed the Club room into a Rover Den. The Sunday School was graded and needed more room. The Junior Guild was growing and needed more room, as sid the Scouts and Guides, so a hut was purchased and erected under the guidance of Mr. A. J. Parker, and with the help of the Rovers; the Guides furnished the hut, which was opened by Mrs. Bartlett Lang. At the close of my ministry, there was promise of a bright future arising out of these organisations.”

Some other notable dates:

16th November 1946 – A concert was held by the Brownies, Guides and Scouts to raise funds for the church.

16th September 1950 – Wesley Hall was reopened following renovation and restoration works. This when the Rover Den became our Chapel.

11th April 1964 – Wesley Hall celebrated its Golden Jubilee Anniversary.  During the afternoon, there was a chance to meet old friends and a tea for which a charge of 2/6d was mad (12.5p). An evening Thanksgiving Service was held conducted by Rev. Maynard Wilson, with Rev. W. J. R. Nash and Rev. R. J. Billington as speakers. The order of service notably states that one of the bible readings was read by a Master Paul Nichols, who is now the church’s treasurer.

8th May 1971 – Re-opening and Dedication of Wesley Hall – now a modernised and dual purpose hall. Notably the organist for that special service was a Mr. Frank Bryan and our minister was Rev. Leslie Day.

Karen Gilham, Church Secretary

Snaps

Here is a selection of early photos.

This group are pictured outside the main doors of Wesley Hall. But who are they? When was this picture taken?
This group are pictured outside the main doors of Wesley Hall. But who are they? When was this picture taken?
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An early image, but what was the event; when was it?
An early image of the frontage. Note the houses in the background, which are now flats, and the garden on the right of the picture, which is now "The Den".
An early image of the frontage. Note the houses in the background, which are now flats, and the garden on the right of the picture, which is now “The Den”.
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We think this group was taken outside the church in about 1938. In the picture are Dorothy Pollard, Dora Pollard, Len Hogger, Audrey Cooper (aged about 5/6) Len Clifton, Doris Clifton, Doris Pocknell (King), Marjorie Pocknell (Bryan), Elsie Langham (Hogger). But what was the occasion? What is the group?
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We are indebted to Colin Prower for sending this amazing picture taken 1929/30. Says Colin: “I am sending this first scan of a photo my sister Audrey Prower sent me.
The comments were written on it by my aunt, Irene Prower, and added to by Audrey.
Frank, Audrey’s brother and my half brother, died soon after this aged 5. I can’t positively identify any of the other trippers although a woman 7 from the right reminds me of my maternal grandmother.”
Was this the cast from an early production at Wesley Hall?
Was this the cast from an early production at Wesley Hall?

Another early group pictured in the courtyard of Wesley Hall

 

Another early group pictured in the courtyard of Wesley Hall
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An early production ata Wesley Hall. Here the stage is at 90 degrees to its current location
An early production ata Wesley Hall. Here the stage is at 90 degrees to its current location

The Hut

hut 2013The hut at the rear of Wesley Hall was built with the help of 27th Woolwich Scouters in 1930 and has been home to the 27th Woolwich Scout Group and the 6th Plumstead Common Guides.

Over the years the hut has been lovingly maintained by generations of volunteers. It has to be said that the building is well worn. Miraculously the hut is still in use today.

A couple of years ago the Scout Group tried to launch a project to replace the building but sadly they were not able to raise the funds. However, a legacy from a past Scout leader Stan Hopgood enabled the Group to carry out some modernisation while retaining the basic structure. The electrical services were upgraded, lighting upgraded, windows replaced, the inside cladding renewed and central heating installed.  There is still much to be done, but the Group has managed to keep the building usable – it is even now warm in winter!

hut1This photo shows some of the very early restoration work, many years ago!

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For several weeks the hut was used for services while the chapel was refurbished after the fire in June 2011.

Opening

Opening 19th March 1914
Opening 19th March 1914

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This picture was taken at an opening ceremony by the children in March 1914. Note the organ in the background, now long gone. The table in the centre is still in use as an alter table in the chapel and is brought into the main hall for Parade and Family services.

Extracts from the diary of Thomas James Charles Prower:

“15 March 2014 (Sunday)
Last service in the old Sutcliffe Hall in the Slade.

“19 March 2014 (Thusday)
Opening of the new Wesley Hall at the Slade by Rev. Ensor Walters at 3.30. Tea and meeting in the evening, addresses by various local ministers and Chairman – Mr. Bishop.
(weather: rain, sleet and snow)

“21 March 1914 (Saturday)
Continuing opening services at Wesley Hall. Sunday Schools opened by the children trained by Will and Gladys (Prower). Tea and concert at 7:30 by Central Hall Male Choir.”

6th Plumstead Common Guides

The 6th Plumstead Common Brownies and Guides met at Wesley Hall for many years until the early 1990s.

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Above is the 6th Plumstead Common Guides outside Wesley Hall in 1956. On the left is Guide Captain Dorothy Pollard. Also in the picture are Guide Lieutenant Audrey Cooper, Anne Stannard, Shirley Bentley, Rita Taylor, Ann Hogger (now Spray).

brownies circa 1963

This picture shows the Brownie Pack around 1963. Here they are pictured in the old hut at the rear of the church. In the centre is Rosemary Wright (some sort of ‘owl’!), Margaret Hogger, Linda and Beverley Young, Brown Owl Elsie Hogger, Tawny Owl Renee Hogger, Margaret Wright, Margaret McDonagh, Margaret Webber.

Brownies circa 1966This picture shows some of the Brownies in about 1966. In the background  is the old church pulpit. The lady in blue guide uniform is Barn Owl Janet Hogger, now Janet Nichols. Janet is a current member of Wesley Hall and helps to run the Cub Scout Pack.

6th Plumstead Common Brownies pack holiday, Limpsfield, 1972
6th Plumstead Common Brownies pack holiday, Limpsfield, 1972
6th Plumstead Common Guides, late 50s
6th Plumstead Common Guides, late 50s