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THE BLACK COUNTRY MEMORIES CLUB

St. Leonard's Church

Memories of our meeting, 29th November 2003
at St. Leonard's Church

St. Leonard's Church

We returned to St. Leonard's for our last meeting of the year.  In fact we seem to have spent quite a bit of time there during the week and what we were doing is worth recording.  It arose from the members of the church taking down some old bookshelves in the foyer of the church and suddenly finding the writing on the wall.

In the photo you can see the alcove and the dark patch where the bookshelves were.  The writing appeared when some of the pink paint flaked off.  It says "Restoration and Improvement of St. Leonard's church". 

The interpretation of that does not seem difficult: it must refer to the extensive restoration - a rebuild almost - which took place in 1826.
The problem is:  what does the rest of the inscription say?  Probably it gives a list of the donors and the other people involved. The church would like to know.  And, as it is part of the town's history, so would we.
We also helped to get some publicity and the resulting newspaper reports can be seen in the top photo, in the middle of the wall in question.
n the photo you can see the alcove and the dark patch where the bookshelves were.  On the other side of the main entrance is this sign, giving a list of the curates, vicars and churchwardens of St. Leonard's.  It looks as if both alcoves are blocked off doors and as if both inscriptions were painted at the same time. The newly found inscription needs proper restoration to make sure that it is all revealed with minimal damage.  This will cost.  The church is trying to raise funds to meet the cost. So on the Tuesday one of our founding fathers, Tom Larkin, have a talk in St. Leonard's about life in Bilston in the past, with the 60p entry fee going towards the fund.  The talk was very well attended and very well received. On the other side of the main entrance is this sign, giving a list of the curates, vicars and churchwardens of St. Leonard's. 
The ladies are: Audrey McDougall, Lila Langford, Dorothy Reaney, Janet Rogers, Hazel Robinson. Like to rest of us, Tom was very impressed by the flower arrangements which are always to be seen in St. Leonard's and he thought we ought to record those responsible. Here they are, with our Chairman, Alan Bickley. The ladies are:¬†Audrey McDougall, Lila Langford, Dorothy Reaney, Janet Rogers, Hazel Robinson. Flowers And here are just two examples of their work which were in the church when our meeting was held there.Flowers
The foyer of the church is smaller than the usual halls we meet in and it provided a very cosy atmosphere.  Despite the weather - which must have been the worst we have ever experienced on the day of a meeting - a lot of members and friends attended. 

Luckily some photos of the displays were taken before it became too crowded!  And somewhere in the crowd, and lost to our photographer was the vicar, Chris Thorpe. 
We are grateful to him for his interest and to everyone at the church for their help .

Reg Aston seems to have acquired even more display boards and even more old photos and pictures to go with them.
The foyer of the church is smaller than the usual halls we meet in And Sandra Aston (who we never seem to get a photograph of, so we got her to pose for this one) also had some new display stands and an amazing collection of wedding photos to go on them. 

A lot of people were able to have a happy time seeing who they could recognise.  
Sandra Aston
Wolverhampton Photographic Society's display.  Photos of the Molineux Over the heads of members you can see the Wolverhampton Photographic Society's display.  Photos of the Molineux (with which Gerald Hanrahan was associated professionally as well as a fan) attracted particular interest.

The people whose faces you can see here are John Elwall (in support, as always, all the way from Yorkshire), John Roberts from the WPS, Gerald himself and Kathy Keily.

This rather scruffy looking display was thrown up by Frank Sharman This rather scruffy looking display was thrown up by Frank Sharman and recorded information about Bilston's history recently obtained by the Club, mainly through its web site.  So we had photos of Thomas Perry from Belgium, of a Phoenix casserole from Seattle, of some Bilston Knights type hearth furniture from Wigan and of Thompson Bros' refuellers from the Brooklands Museum.

From nearer to home we recorded David Squire's magnificent loan of numerous photos of Sankeys, Reg Aston's acquisition of an artistic ceramic piece by Myatt of Bilston, and Frank's own acquisition of yet more Phoenix ware and a Cannon catalogue.

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