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Sunday School

Rushden Echo, Friday, March 29, 1901, transcribed by Greville Watson

Remarkable attendances are shown by the register of the Park-road Wesleyan Sunday school.  Over 30 of the scholars have never been late for 5 years; one has never been late for 12 years; and several have made every possible attendance for 8 years.

Rushden Argus, Friday, April 11, 1902, transcribed by Greville Watson


In connection with a united mission for young people, arranged for this week by the teachers of the Park-road Baptist and Wesleyan Sunday Schools, a united gathering of teachers and scholars took place at seven o’clock on Sunday morning in the Wesleyan Chapel.  A large number attended.  On Monday evening a largely attended meeting of scholars, especially senior ones, was held in the Assembly Room of the old Baptist Sunday Schools.  The service was conducted by the Rev.W.F.Harris.  The meeting on Tuesday was held in the Park-road Wesleyan Church, an address to a large audience being given by the Rev.A.E.Phillips, of Wellingborough.  On Wednesday the meeting was again in the Baptist Assembly Room, the Rev.R.Shorten, of the Independent Wesleyan Church, being the speaker.  The concluding gathering of the series took place last (Thursday) evening, and like those preceding it, proved of the deepest interest.  A large audience assembled in the Park-road Wesleyan Church, an impressive address being given by the Rev.T.E.Thompson.

Rushden Argus, Friday, June 6, 1902, transcribed by Greville Watson


Special services were held on Sunday in celebration of the anniversary of the Sunday school connected with the Park-road Wesleyan Church.  Seeing that there are over four hundred scholars and nearly sixty teachers in the school, the event roused considerable interest, and large congregations assembled during the day, the movable partitions separating the vestries being removed and the whole space being utilised for the accommodation of those present.  The Rev.T.Edwards Thompson (resident minister) preached morning and evening, and an address was given at a children’s service in the afternoon by the Rev.W.F.Harris.  special hymns were rendered, under the conductorship of Mr.Betts, Mr.C.Wooding presiding at the organ.  Collections were taken on behalf of the Sunday School, and realised a total of £35.  The anniversary was continued on Monday, when the annual scholars’ treat took place.  Tea was served to the scholars in the schoolroom, after which an adjournment was made to Mr.Denton’s field at the top of Queen-street.  A public tea followed, at which a large number attended.  A large company afterwards proceeded to the field, where games of various kinds were heartily indulged in.  The Independent Wesleyan Mission Band enlivened the proceedings with selections of music.

Rushden Argus, Friday, January 9, 1903, transcribed by Greville Watson


On Saturday evening the annual tea and meeting of the teachers connected with the Park-road Wesleyan Sunday School was held in the schoolroom.  Tea was first partaken of by nearly fifty teachers, arrangements having been made by a committee of lady teachers, and the following presiding at the tables:- Miss Waring, Miss Deighton, Miss Stapleton, and Miss Causebrook.  The Rev.R.B.Woodward presided over the meeting which followed.  It was reported that the school was ingood working order, and that the year had been a most successful one.  There was an increase of fifteen in the total number of scholars, and there was a financial balance in hand of £8 18s. 11d.  The election of officers resulted in the choosing of Messrs. A.Gadsby, C.W.Horrell, and J.Streeton as superintendents; Mr.C.Wagstaffe as treasurer; Mr.A.E.Bates secretary; and Mr.G.A.Wooding assistant secretary.  Several matters affecting the working and welfare of the school were discussed.

Rushden Echo, Friday, February 5, 1904, transcribed by Greville Watson


The senior class of girls in the Park-road Wesleyan Sunday School arranged a social gathering on Monday night in the school-room in aid of their contribution to the building fundof the new church.  There was a very large attendance.  An excellent programme was given under the presidency of the Rev.R.B.Woodward, comprising pianoforte solos by Miss Rose Knight, two recitations by Miss Nash, and one by Mr.C.Wagstaff, and songs by Miss Annie Cunnington (2), Mrs.Arthur Taylor, and Mr.T.C.Clarke (2).  Refreshments were served, and games were also entered into with heartiness.

Rushden Echo, Friday, March 4, 1904, transcribed by Greville Watson


The scholars who sat for the scripture examination last year received their certificates and prizes on Sunday afternoon.  Books were awarded to Florrie Partridge, who made 94 marks out of a possible 100, and Arthur Osborne who made 92 marks.

Rushden Echo, Friday, July 1, 1904, transcribed by Greville Watson


The Rev.R.Culley, of London, the secretary of the Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School Union, was the preacher at the Park-road Wesleyan Church on Sunday morning and evening last, the occasion being the Sunday school anniversary.  In the afternoon a young people’s service was held, Mr.Culley giving an address.  There were large congregations, the chapel being crowded.  As usual, a special feature of the services was the singing of the anniversary hymns by the choir and the scholars, whose efforts were thoroughly appreciated.  Mr.Waring presided at the organ.  Mr.F.Betts conducted the singing in the morning and evening, and Mr.C.Wooding wielded the baton in the afternoon.  In the morning the choir sang “Gloria,” from “Twelfth Mass” (Mozart), and in the evening “Sing unto God” (Chaloner), on each occasion acquitting themselves admirably.  The collections amounted to £18.  The scholars’ treat took place on Monday, when to the number of about 450, they partook of tea in the schoolroom and chapel.  Subsequently a public tea was held, about 200 being present.  The tea committee comprised Misses Austin, Ball, Jones, and Maxted, and Messrs. Austin, Bates, Gadsby, Hawkins, Wagstaff, and G.Wooding, jun.  The ladies in charge of the tables were Mesdames Bates, Capon, Hensman, and C.Wooding, and Misses S.Atkinson, Ball, Austin, A.Causebrook, L.Causebrook, F.Darnell, Deighton, Gibbs, Jones, Maxted, Scott, Stapleton, and Rose Wooding.  The waiters were Messrs. W.E.Capon, Hawkins, Hensman, Holmes, Lawman, H.W.Wooding, G.Wooding jun., &c.  Mr.R.Marriott kindly placed his field at the disposal of the committee, and here the usual outdoor games were indulged in.  Under the conductorship of Mr.H.Sharpe, the Mission Silver Band gave a capital selection of music, and the delightful weather helped to make the day a thoroughly enjoyable one.

Rushden Echo, Friday, February 3, 1905, transcribed by Greville Watson

The annual distribution of prizes to the scholars at Park-road Wesleyan Sunday School took place on Sunday and Monday. On Sunday afternoon those who had gained second and third prizes for not less than 100 and 90 marks respectively, received their books, the distribution being made by the Rev.H.J.Atkinson, assisted by the Superintendent, Mr.Gadsby, and the secretary, Mr.Bates. The annual parents' tea was held on Monday in the school-room, about 150 sitting down. The scholars and friends afterwards assembled in the chapel. Mr.Gadsby and Mr.Atkinson distributed prizes to those scholars who had gained the record of "never absent never late." Out of the 420 scholars in the school, no fewer than 121 had made a perfect attendance.

Rushden Echo, Friday, July 28, 1905, transcribed by Greville Watson


A Record Sunday School Anniversary

Former Rushden Minister on 'Environment.'

With its 520 scholars, including the Adult Bible Class, and its 52 teachers, the Park-road Wesleyan Sunday School, Rushden, is doing an excellent work in the town. The anniversary services on Sunday last were a conspicuous success, the collections, £26, being the highest on record. The preacher was the Rev.W.Newby, of Birmingham, who was the first Wesleyan minister stationed at Rushden, removing from the town nine years ago. In the morning he preached on the responsibility of parents, and incidently stated that it gave him great pleasure to come to Rushden again, and especially to see the beautiful chapel which they had built.

In the afternoon Mr.Newby addressed a young people's service and presented Bibles to the senior scholars.


was Mr.Newby's subject in the evening. He spoke of King Josiah, who, he said, resisted the lower environment and yielded to the higher. There was a serious flaw in that modern doctrine which said that a man could not be a good man if he lived in the slums or worked with men who were ungodly. Josiah was living in the midst of moral degradation where the devil seemed to have his fling, and yet in this foul den of moral disease Josiah conceived the idea which totally changed the religious aspect of the whole country. It was a shame that people should be forced to live in tiny little places; the Socialist had a right to be heard in demanding better housing for the working classes, and the churches were prepared to assist in propagating some of his views; but a man would not necessarily be better if he was taken from a cottage and put into a palace, neither was his case hopeless if he remained in the cottage or in the slums. God Himself could go into the slums and make saints of men who were vile in sin. As

Sir Oliver Lodge

recently said, "There is no reason for any man to be mastered by his environment." It must be an exceedingly difficult task for some people to live a Christian life in some homes and workshops and surroundings, he would grant that; but still, without the slightest reserve, he would flatly contradict the Socialists or anybody else who said that under such circumstances the Christian life was absolutely impossible. The vilest surroundings could not prevent a man from being a Christian, and, on the other hand, the holiest surroundings could not make a man a Christian until he himself consented. Certainly environment would modify a man's responsibilities, but would never entirely removed it from his life and soul.

After the sermon Mr.Newby said it filled one's heart with delight to see so many young people in that church. He prayed that they would resist their lowest surroundings and would open their souls to that environment which elevated and saved, and then they would prove that men could be

Master of Their Surroundings.

He had heard with delight that many of the scholars in the school were also church members, and that so large a proportion of the young people attended the week-night meetings and the weekly open-air service. He believed that school was one of the best in the whole county.

The children, carefully trained by Mr.F.Betts, the choir-master, sang special hymns during the day, acquitting themselves most creditably. The anthem in the morning was "Brightly gleams our banner." At night the choir and children gave a praiseworthy rendering of an appropriately descriptive anthem, "The blessing of the children" (Thomas Facer), with separate choruses for the scholars and for the choir. Mr.C.Wooding ably presided at the organ throughout the services.

The congregation as well as the collections proved to be a record, the spacious new church being crowded for the evening service.

Delightful weather prevailed on Monday, when

The Annual Treat

was given to the scholars. Tea was provided in the school-room, excellent arrangements having been made by the officers and teachers, and subsequently a public tea was held at which about 200 adults were present. The usual games were played in a field lent by Mr.Geo.Denton, C.C. The Mission Silver Band played some excellent music, and the proceedings were most enjoyable.,

Rushden Echo, Friday, February 16, 1906, transcribed by Greville Watson


The annual distribution of prizes to the children attending the Sunday-school connected with this church took place on Sunday afternoon and Monday night. The prizes were awarded for regular attendance and good conduct. The second and third prizes were distributed on Sunday afternoon by the Rev.J.W.Eacott, and the first prizes on Monday night. There was a large attendance of parents on the Monday night and considerable interest taken in the proceedings. Addresses were given by Mr. Gadsby (superintendent) and the Rev.H.J.Atkinson, the latter also making the distribution. The prize-giving on Monday was preceded by the usual parents' tea which was largely attended.

Rushden Echo, Friday, May 11, 1906, transcribed by Greville Watson


The teachers of the Sunday school have decided to form a cricket club, football club, tennis club, cycling club, and gymnasium for the use of the scholars.

Rushden Echo, Friday, May 18, 1906, transcribed by Greville Watson



The Rev.A.L.Fillingham, B.Litt., superintendent of the Hull Wesleyan Mission, and formerly of Rushden, had consented to preach in the Park-road Wesleyan Church, Rushden, on Sunday last, the special occasion being the anniversary of the Sunday school. Mr.Fillingham's visit to Rushden, where he is so well-known, was eagerly anticipated by his old friends. Unfortunately, however, a somewhat serious illness prevented Mr.Fillingham from carrying out his engagement. The Rev. David Pughe, of Willington, Durham, was asked to take Mr.Fillingham's place, and consented to do so. The services on Sunday were well attended, especially at night, when the spacious church was crowded to excess. Special hymns were sung by the scholars, who had been carefully trained by Mr.F.Betts, the choir-master, and he efficiently acted as conductor during the day. Mr.Chas.Wooding was the organist. In the morning the choir and the scholars gave a splendid rendering of the anthem, "The blessing of the children" (T.Facer), and this was so highly appreciated that its repetition in the evening was requested and acceded to. The anthem, "The Lord is my shepherd" (Montgomery), was also given in the evening.

Mr.Pughe's address in the morning was based on the words, "Feed My lambs." He spoke of the beautiful figure which Christ used to describe the children, "My lambs," and pointed out that the essential qualification for a teacher was love to God, as shown by Christ's question to Peter, "Lovest thou Me?" In speaking to the parents Mr.Pughe said it was of the utmost importance that they should take a deep interest in the training of their children. The responsibility of the parents was very great, and the home influence would have an effect not only upon their own children but upon future generations.

In the evening Mr.Pughe spoke on the words, "We took sweet counsel together, and walked into the house of God in company," Psalm iv.14.

A service for young people was held in the afternoon, when Mr.Pughe distributed Bibles to the elder scholars and gave some personal reminiscences of his boyhood, speaking particularly of the good influence exerted upon him by the superintendent of the Sunday school.

The collections during the day amounted to £19.

The annual treat was held on Monday. Tea was served in the school-room to about 440 scholars. Afterwards about 200 adults partook of tea. The usual games and sports were held in Mr.Geo.Denton's field off Queen-street, and, besides the children, there was a large gathering of spectators. The Mission Band played an excellent selection of music.  The games were entered into with great heartiness, and the presence of Mr.Pughe in the field was greatly appreciated by the youngsters.

Rushden Echo, 5th July 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Veterans—Long-service certificates were presented, at the close of the evening service at the Park-road Wesleyan Church on Sunday last, to the following veteran Sunday school workers Mr. John Dickens, 30 years; Mr. Abraham Gadsby, 29 years; Mr. George Streeton, 29 years; Mr. Geo. Mitchell, 26 years. The Rev. H. Shaw made the presentations, and referred to the length of service of the recipients of the certificates and of the value of Sunday school work, expressing the hope that the four gentlemen would long be spared to continue their labours. Mr. Gadsby acknowledged the presentation on behalf of the recipients, and said that, if anything, Sunday school work was more interesting to him now than at any other period in his history.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 25th June 1920, transcribed by Kay Collins

Teachers’ OutingRushden Park-road Wesleyan Sunday School teachers held their quarterly social on Sunday in the form of a picnic at Bozeat. Upwards of 80 members and friends journeyed by motor char-a-banc and bicycles. The party were entertained at the Grange by Mr. and Mrs. F. Skeeles, who kindly provided tea on the lawn. Tables and crockery were lent by Bozeat Independent Wesleyan friends. A vote of thanks to the host and hostess was accorded on the motion of Mr. A. Gadsby (senior superintendent), seconded by Mr. J. Dickens and supported by the Rev. C. Evans, F.R.A.S. An enjoyable evening was spent at games, competitions, etc. A cricket match, ladies v gentlemen was played and many amusing races were run. The company returned home at 9p.m.

Rushden Echo, 3rd April 1925, transcribed by Kay Collins

Successes—Ten candidates belonging to the Park-road Wesleyan Sunday School entered for the Bedford and Northampton District Wesleyan Sunday School Scripture examination, and all passed. In the First Division all had first class certificates, viz.: Ernest Edwards, 86 marks; Violet King, 82; Connie Houghton, 79; Reginald Noble, 76; Jean Wilmott, 75. In Division 2 two had first class and two had second class certificates, viz.: Freda Chambers 92 (special prize), Bessie Byford 75 (both first class), Edward Alderman 55, Ethel Smith 50 (both second class). In Division3 Marjorie Nichols, with 60 marks, gained the second class certificate. The children were all prepared by the teachers in the junior department.

The Rushden Echo July 6th 1928, transcribed by Susan Manton

A Garden Party was held in “The Laurels” Wellingborough Road, the residence of Alderman and Mrs. C.W. Horrell, on Saturday afternoon in connection with the Sunday School Anniversary of the Park Road Wesleyan Church. Unsettled weather interfered with the attendance, but there were long bright intervals and the whole programme was gone through. The tea was arranged by Mesdames S.E. Lawman, C.S. Wooding, J. Perkins, A.E. Bates, J. Dickens, E. miller, G. Parker and J. Nix. Miss F. Buttling’s pupils of the Intermediate School gave a most attractive display of Morris Dancing and Mr. J. Nix conducted community singing, the Aristo Band supplying the music. Other attractions included clock-golf, tennis and novelty games and competitions organised by Miss A.O. Capon and the junior department. The secretary for the general arrangements was Mr. S.E. Lawman.

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