Monday 10 July 2023

Tough Assignment - Do You Remember?

In the story of any society there are numerous incidents too trivial or fleeting to fit into the more formal history. Yet they too are part of the rich tapestry of events and deserve to be recorded, if only because we still sometimes think back and laugh once again.

... the services of not so very long ago when every woman wore a hat - and the children who loved to try and fill the hat brim of the lady in front with matchsticks?

... Eli Carter and Charlie Wilkins and other local preachers who made the journey to Eton Wick on cycles in all weathers.

... Mr Clifton, a Baptist preacher, who visited the Sisterhood in the 1930s? He had a fantastic imagination and kept his audience in fits of laughter, much to the consternation of Mrs Chew - though just before the end of his talk he would remember to include the requisite spiritual message.

... the local preacher whose false teeth used to chatter, or the occasion when one local preacher pulled a handkerchief from his pocket - and also his false teeth which clattered down the pulpit steps?

... the speaker who came to talk to the Band of Hope bringing with him a piece of diseased liver in a glass tube?

... Mr Frank Styles who played the organ for services, but who could also make it sound like a hurdy gurdy?

... Ken Clifton and the hilarious times enjoyed by all at the fund-raising socials when he was fed blind-folded with cold custard?

... the gas lamps on either side of the pulpit and the disastrous effect of those preachers who tried to make a point by flinging wide their arms?

... the morning when torrential rain kept us all from going home and the spout of water that gushed through the wall near the spot where the present pulpit stands?

... the 1947 floods and how Eton Wick was cut off from the outside world for almost a week, except for one phone in Chantler's Stores? The Salvation Army Concert arranged to be held at the chapel had to be cancelled. ... the oil stoves which were used to supplement the heating during the 2nd World War, and how, on at least two occasions, clouds of thick, smelly smoke billowed out of the chapel front door when it was opened for morning service? The services were held up until the smoke had cleared.

... the time when one young lady came to preach and entered the pulpit clothed in a scarf, balaclava, mittens and a coat. A voice from the back of the congregation asked in a stage whisper " Is she stopping? "

... the long serving Sunday School official (who does not gamble) who bet one his scholars that he couldn't get his father to come to chapel .... and lost!!

... when the fusebox began to smoke last year and how the organ had to be replaced by the piano until the offending fuse had been replaced.

... when Moore's Lane was so narrow that coaches could not turn the corner from Alma Road. This meant that the coaches had to reverse into Inkerman Road and then back towards the chapel.

... that just after World War II when funds were low the Sunday School children had to choose between prizes and a Summer Outing?

... the old negro penny savings bank which belongs to the Sunday School and is still loved by the youngest children?

Ladies Club Cowboy Supper 1967 

The Eton Wick History Group is most grateful for the kind permission given by the Eton Wick Methodist Chapel to republish this history, Tough Assignment on this website.

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