Calling the faithful city back to the faithful God

Let’s go on now to mention the various groups within the church together with points of interest generally as the years go by. First of all, the Young Men’s Bible Class. This was started in August 1893 with six members and the meeting was held in the kitchen underground (the lower part of the cellar, which also contained the boiler used to heat the premises). This was the only available space in the already crowded building but apparently it was made more homely by hanging some curtains. It was obviously a great success because the numbers grew so much that its leader, Miss James, proposed that £100 be raised in order to build a larger classroom on to the back of the chapel. At first the members thought this a quite impossible task, with the result that Miss James, clearly a very determined lady, worked all alone to raise the first £40. At that point, realising perhaps that it wasn’t quite so impossible after all, they all set to work in earnest and £95 was in the kitty by January 1896. What a testimony to the example of Miss James. At the time the group had 42 members but only room to seat 24! Anyway, thanks to this effort, the new classroom, known for many years, fittingly, as Miss James’ room but more familiar to succeeding generations simply as ‘the back room’, was opened on 13 October 1896.

Meanwhile, the April edition of the Banner reports that on 15 March 1892 the Pastor and other friends conducted a Temperance Meeting, which filled the schoolroom at Red Hill. ‘The interest of the listeners from Red Hill homes gave happy proof of their sympathy with our work there and said unmistakably “We appreciate your work; we shall be glad to have such gatherings repeated” ‘. It seems that a Band of Hope [Temperance meeting] had been established as we read of the Bands of Hope from Sansome Walk, Red Hill and Cherry Orchard having their annual picnic in July of that year.

In 1893 a Red Hill Mothers meeting was formed. On 3 February Mr T. Hilton gave them what’s described as a lecture on Love, Courtship and Marriage, which no doubt they found very helpful. The Mothers Meeting held their first anniversary on 29 January 1894 and two years later we are told they went on their third annual outing to British Camp. Also in 1894 Red Hill Mutual Improvement Society had their first Social Tea when a Lantern Exhibition was given. It’s not quite clear whether this was also their last tea as no more is heard of them in the records!

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