A full copy of this original 20 page 1958 souvenir programme was kindly donated by Mr Malcolm Clarkson. This extract separately covers pages offering their own historically given account which established in Huthwaite their Sutton Road Methodist Church. I present a full accurate transcription, simply adding more of Macs personally held related church memorabilia
The noble cause of Methodism was started in Hucknall Huthwaite in 1807 by a man called Eleazer Boot,who had recently been converted, and who turned his attention to Huthwaite after successfully launching a case at Hardstoft. Later on in the same year the cause at Huthwaite was made part of the Mansfield Methodist Circuit, and Mr Boot was appointed as acting trustee, a position which he held from 1807 to 1859 - over half a century!
The first preaching place in the village was in ”Royal Oak” yard, Blackwell Road, but the first actual Chapel was built in 1815, and cost £262-1-2! It was situated at the corner of the ”Pool” - now known as the Market Place. The first sermon was preached by a local preacher, Daniel Taylor, of Mansfield, and the last sermon in the old Chapel was preached there in 1890 by another local preacher Mr. D.C. Evans, of Huthwaite.
By this year the new Chapel was ready on the present Sutton Road site, and was opened on June 6th. by the then President of the Conference, Rev. C.H. Kelly. In 1892 a Sunday School was built at the rear, opening on to Old Fall Street. It consisted of a hall, a vestry with a gallery for the infant girls, and four more vestries. The infant boy's class met in the wings of the Chapel. The aggregate cost of the building was £2,500.
It is impossible in the space allowed to mention members by name, but each one is counted in the fact that both Church and Sunday School prospered, and the list of members and workers grew. The Sunday afternoon and evening services were well attended. The ministers gave good leadership, and were well supported by a very good band of local preachers - ordinary men from all walks of life who became ”extra ordinary” in their dedicated service as preachers, men who continued to pray and to study to become workmen worthy of their high calling.
Preachers (both ministerial and lay) had to face serious difficulties in those days, including atrocious weather at times, and long distances to be travelled, but tribute should be made to their faithfulness in keeping their appointments. Journeys in those early days were mostly made on foot or by means of a horse lent by a kindly friend, or perhaps by the horse and trap of the Circuit ”Horse Hire Fund ”.
In the early days of the Church, afternoon and evening were the times for public worship. This suited the preachers for travelling. Later the times were changed to morning and evening, which made a longer day for the preacher. During the 1914-18 war, morning and afternoon sessions were held, as Zeppelins might be expected, and the Chapel was not blacked out, but after the war, there was a return to the morning and evening times of worship again.
The Sunday School met in the morning and afternoon, and grew in numbers both of scholars and teachers. The afternoon session for many years included an address to the combined school from one of the Staff, each teacher being supposed to take a turn. This gave variety for the listeners, and experience for budding preachers and speakers.
In 1904 the Church needed enlarging to accommodate the growing congregation, so an extension was made, and a hand-operated pipe organ installed. The pulpit was moved from behind the Communion Rail to the corner of the wing, and the choir seats were moved from the square in front of the rail into the extension between the Communion rail and the organ.
The cause continued to grow, and the School premises were the next to need enlarging. Steps were taken to get the necessary funds, but the 1914-18 war held up the alterations. The money, however, was invested, and so was ready for use when building operations could be started. August 23rd 1932 was the date of the stone-laying ceremony for the alteration and enlargement of the School building. Three side vestries were pulled down, and the large top vestry and the small adjoining one were made into the Primary. The vacant ground space between the Chapel and the old School Hall was then built on to make the new hall, with two vestries at the back and one at the front. This, with three vestries complete with sliding screens, and a new kitchen at the back of the old hall, made a useful addition for all sections of the Church.
At the Jubilee Services of the present Chapel in 1939 a reconstructed organ with an electric blower was opened and dedicated. During the second World War the old hall and the Primary were taken over by military personnel, and the new hall was opened as a Rest Room for members of the Forces. This needless to say, was much appreciated by the men stationed here.
After the war the premises were released, and the big task began of rebuilding the membership and the full life of the Church. The faithful body of devoted workers, sometimes few in number, but great in faith and work, still carried on, and the result of their labour is becoming more apparent. Methods like building and workers, change, but the same spirit continues and permeates the whole.
Society Classes for both sexes and all ages again began to meet weekly on Sunday afternoons, and on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Each Thursday the Mutual Improvement Class, open to all adults, and with open discussion on varied topics, was a valuable all-round education.
Throughout the years our Church has been noted for the quality of its music, and Tuesday night has always been ”Choir Practice” night. The Church owes much to its Choir for its regular weekly contribution in leading the singing and several worthy conductor and organists have consecrated their gifts, and made the musical side of our worship something to be remembered.
Later on, the Wesley Guild took the place of the preaching service and the Mutual Improvement Society in midweek, and some of the adult workers of today are living proof of its lasting work.
Preachers in earlier days always used to find a written message of welcome in the pulpit to greet them, usually supplied by the Guild, and more than one preacher found his heart ”strangely warmed” as he read it before taking the day's services. The introduction of the practice of taking the flowers from the Communion Table to sick and aged people, and the regular visitation of such people, also began a much-appreciated service. During the war, a depleted Guild met, as the early Christians and early Methodists had done, in each other's homes, to carry on the work.
Our Church in these days is still a hive of activity, both on Sundays and weekdays and there are few evenings when the premises have deserted air. The Married Ladies Class, the Family Circle, the Choir, the Youth Club (with its three sections), the Young Ladies' Group, the Men's Fellowship, all meet each week to 'keep the Christian flag flying'.
Huthwaite has always been a good 'Missionary Church' too, and has raised considerable sums over the years, for Foreign Missions. The Monday 'Annual Meetings' will be remembered as the Collecting Boxes were opened, and then the excitement as the missionary, home on holiday, told tales of the people 'across the sea'.
There are still two 'special days' which mean a lot to the younger members of our Church (and to a good many older ones as well). These are the Sunday School Anniversary Sundays, and the 'Walk-round' on Whit Monday. The route for this 'Walk' has changed only slightly ever since it was inaugurated, and it is still the one occasion in the year when Huthwaite market place is crowded and the 'walk' is halted while a short service takes place.
Written 27 Oct 11 Revised 27 Oct 11 © by Gary Elliott