Blaenavon, Park Street

Blaenavon

In 1847 the turnpike road was made from Pontypool through Abersychan and over the Varteg Hill to Blaenavon. Then the Cwmavon parish road and the parish road from Blaenavon to Brynmawr were made. Between 1816 and 1850 Blaenavon’s population grew from 2000 to 7500.

The presence of both iron and coal in South Wales led to industrial development there from the second half of the 18th century. Contracts during the Napoleonic wars gave a stimulus to the growth of mines and foundries, and by 1815 South Wales was producing a third of Britain’s iron output. By Victoria’s time the emphasis was switching to “steam coal” for steam engines and shipping, and South Wales came to provide the biggest coal exports in the world. This considerable industrialisation required labour.

The south-western counties of England are frequently referred to as the region of greatest agrarian poverty in the early 19th century, with average wages (7/- per week) half those earned in Yorkshire. Agricultural workers had a miserable diet and appalling housing conditions. The Poor Law (Speenhamland outdoor relief, Poor Law Commission, 1834 Act and its workhouses) reflected a rural poverty that was particularly serious in the south of England. The Tolpuddle Martyrs, early trade unionists in Dorset in 1834 suggest an experience of hardship and discontent in the region.

One reason for this poverty in the SW was that there was no industrial area nearby to give a spur to wage rates. Also, prices were high during the era of the Corn Laws (1815-1846). Agricultural workers had supplemented their income with a cottage woollen industry, but this went into decline as it could not compete with the industrialisation in Yorkshire and Lancashire and the cheap cottons of Lancashire.

Meanwhile, population was growing throughout the UK because of declining infant mortality, vaccination, etc., and this led to surplus labour at a time when labour was needed in South Wales.

The following give further information on these trends:

P. Mathias, The First Industrial Nation (1969)
J.H. Clapham, Economic History of Modern Britain (1933)
J.L and B. Hammond, The Village Labourer and The Town Labourer
Richard Jefferies, The Toilers of the Field (1892, 1981)

The Great Western Railway Company opened their line from Newport to Blaenavon in 1852. This enabled iron, coal and other heavy goods to be imported and exported more cheaply.

A good impression of the society in which all these people lived may be gained from two novels: Alexander Cordell’s Rape of the Fair Country and Richard Llewellyn’s How Green was my Valley. (The latter is said to be set in Gilfach Goch, though it is not named and the story evokes the life of the South Wales coal valleys of the period.)

My Family in Blaenavon

Against this background occurred a far-reaching change in my family’s way of life. In or about 1852 they left Somerset and moved to Blaenavon in Monmouthshire. One wonders with what mixed emotions of hope and regret they left the homeland of many ancestors and generations, and what belongings they took with them! Doubtless it was these trends which also prompted the moves that took other ancestors, William Miles and William Watkins, from the Bristol area to Monmouthshire.

Samuel Young, my great-grandfather, continued to live with his grandparents George and Martha James in Pitcombe at least until 1861. Soon after he too moved to South Wales and worked as a blacksmith. He became acquainted with Martha Miles; indeed he “knew” her in the biblical sense, and they were married on 23rd April 1864 at Llanfoist parish church.

The Wesleyan influence

Three months after the wedding, on 16th July 1864, their first child was born, William, and was christened on 8th September by Rev. John Lewis at the Wesleyan Chapel, Chapel Row, situated very close to Quick Building, where a flourishing congregation met. In the 1851 religious census this chapel drew 200 worshippers in the morning, plus more than 180 scholars, 200 scholars in the afternoon, and in the evening 40 worshippers plus over 50 scholars. I was told that the Youngs attended Chapel Row. This was called “Wesley Chapel”; it closed in 1920 and the congregation united with Park Street. (Some time in the period in 1865-1872 Horeb became a Wesleyan chapel, the purchase being completed in 1866 or 1867. This gave Blaenavon two Wesleyan chapels, namely Chapel Row and James Street. James Street’s congregation moved in 1885 to the new building in Park Street, shown in the above photograph.)

Martha’s father gained a name as a Wesleyan. The christening of William Young in 1864 is the first record I have found of Methodism among the Youngs themselves. Perhaps this influence came at least partly from the Miles family.

It was largely through the influence of Thomas Deakin, a coal and mine manager, who was a Wesleyan, that the Chapel at Chapel Row was built. It was a custom in days gone by for workers at the mines to worship at their boss’s chapel, and perhaps this was another influence which pointed Samuel to the Wesleyans.

Life in Monmouthshire continued for the Youngs till about 1874; but then came a major upheaval when the family moved to Quebec, a mining village in County Durham. Then, after some years in Quebec, Samuel and Martha moved back to Blaenavon, where in 1880 on February 10th my grandmother Alice Maud Gameson was born. Concerning Samuel Young, my father recalled in 1990 that “he was a little bit religious, but he had a strong character – I’ll tell you that! He wasn’t a local preacher, but he loved his church. So did my grandmother. I think he got that from his Durham experiences.” Willie Aston writes of him: “I can only just vaguely remember Samuel Young… he was not a local preacher, I understand that he took services occasionally.” Park Street centenary booklet tells us that he was a class leader, and the circuit plans for 1898-1912 record his weekly class meetings as taking place at 7.30 on Monday evenings. The first mention of him as a class leader (in the quarterly schedule book) is for the last quarter of 1894, when he was leading a class of 26 members. It increased to 28, by June 1904 decreased to 12, and rose again to 18 by September 1905.

My father said his grandmother Martha was a very strong-minded person. She died on 15th March 1910, and her mortal remains also lie in St Peter’s churchyard, awaiting the call of the last trumpet.

My family and other Wesleyans in Blaenavon

Also in 1871 we find two families living in the small terraced house at 10, Lower Waun (also spelled Wain) Street, Blaenavon:

(1) Thomas Gameson, aged 64 and now unable to work, with his wife Susannah, and two unmarried sons William (38) and Henry (18). Why is his wife now called Susannah? I assume she was the same lady who appears earlier as Hannah, and who later died in 1883 aged 69.
(2) Thomas Gameson aged 28, a stoker, his wife Prudence, their two sons Thomas and William (aged 3 and 1).

Also living with them was William Watkins, Prudence’s father, now a widower aged 70 and unable to work.

William and Margaret Miles were living with their sons Aaron and Henry (17, 15). William, now aged 65, and Aaron were both labourers in the iron works, and Henry was already a coal miner.

My grandfather Philip Young, born in County Durham in February 1876, wrote the story of his conversion to Christ in verse. He tells us that his parents did their best to train him in the fear of God, but in vain. They were “forced to use the rod”. He used to play the fool and disturb the others at Sunday School. In time he came to feel he was too old to continue going to Sunday School, or indeed to “tread the paths of good.” But he sensed that it was also dangerous to “drift out into the world”, and so joined the International Order of Grand Templars, which was a temperance movement.

His enthusiastic nature soon showed itself as he brought more recruits to the movement than others did. They started a children’s lodge to warn them of the curses of wine. He became the Chief Templar.

Then he started to play football. The game itself carried no harm, but he came to feel later, as he looked back, that it had drawn him into bad company. Previously he had never even liked beer, but now he began to drink it.

In 1894 he “had a spree”, as he puts it, whilst his mother was back in County Durham for a week’s holiday. His money ran out, and a friend suggested they should become soldiers. So, the following morning, along with three others, he went to Brynmawr and “got sworn in”. The sergeant gave them each a shilling, and they were told to return the following morning on the 10 o’clock train.

When he arrived home, his father Samuel fell into a dreadful rage: he had wanted his help in the garden for the day, which Philip had been well aware of, and Samuel told him he should be ashamed of his escapade. When he told Samuel he had enlisted and would be away for three months, it caused Samuel to feel that his cares, and his hopes, in Philip’s upbringing had been wasted.

The following morning he went off to Brecon, but he soon found out that army life was not what he had hoped for. He even had to pay for his tea! He also knew that his course of action would bring heartache to his parents – but also that they would be praying for him.

He began to compare army life with home, “where all is bright and free” – where he could be his own boss once the day’s work was done. He wrote home, requesting £1 to buy himself out, and promising to mend his ways.

He received the money on a Sunday morning, with joy to know that he would soon be back home with family, and with freedom. His friends were pleased to see him back too. He determined to try to make amends.

But he did not leave those whom he later came to see as bad company; he seemed to have no will-power to do so. “I drank and drank with all my might… a craving had begun.” The family began to experience a creeping dismay about him.

His craving (he tells us) did not stop at drink, but he “went further into sin, vile passions… lust of the flesh… a low, licentious life.” In the course of time, his way of life wrecked his health. Yet the more he drank, the more he felt the fire fanned within him.
His parents prayed for him daily, asking God that their son would give up drink and sin and follow Christ. They tried to persuade him – and he promised to start a better life. But he made the attempt only on the strength of his own willpower, without seeking the help of Jesus Christ. A glass of stout one night led to this temptation: I’ve broken my vow anyway now, so I may as well drink on. He drank worse than previously; his parents’ pleas were in vain.

He decided to try his hand at gambling, to win money for more ale. Sometimes he spent all Sunday at cards, and in the evening went to “the tap-room” with his friends. Sometimes he lost all his money, but he thought he would attempt to borrow more. He went to the pawn shop, putting in his watch and chain. He lost the fear of God’s just wrath.

His parents persuaded him to join a band of Templars, and again he formed the intention of making amends for all he had done. For a time things went well. But then: “suddenly I fell. I thought that I could be like some who take a glass and stop.” Very soon, the old craving worked within him again. He would try to stop, but was powerless to do so.

During the six-month South Wales strike, which lasted from 1st April till 1st September 1898, he never took his strike pay home. Ale was twopence a pint, and that is what the money was spent on. He tried to gather and sell coal during the strike, to get money for beer. When this failed, he decided to steal one load from his parents’ cellar – after all, he reckoned, it was coal which his father helped to dig out. He knew Samuel would be very angry when he discovered the theft, especially as the money would be spent on beer. He got home drunk that night, and a major row ensued. Samuel told him to leave. But his mother soothed Samuel’s anger.

Philip himself now felt that Christ was wrestling with his conscience. Once again he vowed to be a better son when the strike was over and work started again. But though he tried to mend his ways, again it was in vain. Within two months he was worse than he had been before, and he even freely cursed his parents.

They did not turn him out of the home, but they felt they were trying in vain to bring him to see sense. They continued to pray that he would come to recognise his folly.
He felt helpless. Even his wardrobe was suffering from his expenditure on drink. Christmas was spent in a drunken haze. His new year’s resolution for 1899 was to be a total abstainer – but he broke it on New Year’s Day! He felt all hope of improvement had gone, that he would never be good.

Nonetheless, he had been aware for some time that the Spirit of God was striving with him – that Jesus Christ was, as it were, “knocking at the door” of his life, ready and willing for Philip to receive him.

He changed his place of work from Dodd’s Slope to Milfraen Pit, which seemed to offer an opportunity to earn more. He started on a Friday morning, worked till Saturday afternoon, then “started on the spree. I drank all day that Sunday.” On the Monday, there was danger at the pit, so he was not working. He went straight to the pub, stayed all day, got drunk, squandered his pay. His mother came to the pub and asked him to come home, but he said he would stay a little longer. In fact he did not leave till closing time, all his money spent.

Martha was waiting for him; Samuel was in bed. He was too drunk to wash and go to bed, and lay down on the floor. “If only I could quench my thirst, I would never have any more beer!”

When he did go to bed, he was unable to sleep, and his brain was in a whirl. At midday he came downstairs, wanted nothing to eat, and went back to the pub. But he knew he had to stop. He sat, thinking of his likely fate.

His drinking partners were making fun of him and whispering. He vowed he would have no more: his boozing was over; from now on he would be a different man. Wednesday found him back at the pit, but his mind was in such a state that he could not work. When he was hoisted up from the pit that night, he remembered all his sins, and knew that if he were to die, he was unprepared to pass through death. One of his workmates felt the same.

He resolved not to go out that night. The temptation pulled at him, but he felt the Holy Spirit “strive mightily”, and he sensed that the time for decision had indeed come. Feeling very weary he went to bed, but thoughts of dying filled his mind and sleep would not come. Yet he seemed to hear the Lord’s whisper: “Cast your burden on me!”
He asked Samuel to come and pray with him, but Samuel, having prayed for him all those years, was too full to do it. So Philip sent for William Bower, who lived close by. Despite the late hour, William came.

He found Philip with his face in his hands. He felt he had been too sinful, that God would not forgive, cleanse and accept him. But William pointed out that Jesus had said that “whosoever” may come and he would give rest to those who do come. We need only to believe, no other work of merit is required, for God’s peace to come to the heart. Philip could hardly grasp the fact that salvation is that free – that Christ’s blood was shed at Calvary for just such wretches as he felt himself now to be.

He got down on his knees; William prayed; Philip asked God for forgiveness. God heard and accepted his prayer: he always hears and accepts the prayers of truly repentant sinners.  Soon Philip knew that he had truly found the Saviour, and he was filled with a new joy. Assured of God’s favour, he knew his sins were forgiven, and death would be followed with eternal life.

Next morning he went to work feeling a different man – his heart happy and light, a new life within him, his burden gone. His workmates could see the joy on his face; he felt full up with God, born again, a new creation, washed from his sins by the blood of Christ. He sang hymns, he praised Jesus Christ, he thanked him for what he had done within him. Now he resolved not to go to hell with his former friends, but to heaven where millions praise God, and where is Jesus, the sinner’s friend.

The old temptation came that very day, Satan tempting, the craving pulling at him. But he held fast. At home that night he read the Bible, found strength, and discovered that through trust in the Lord, Satan’s power is overcome. He had come to know that truth of these words: “Jesus died for me.”

Others’ recollections can expand Philip’s own record. One story from (I believe) his daughter-in-law Fan (née Fanny Griffin) is that he was on the way home one night from Cae Wight (the area which includes the top of Wain Street and the present-day garages) on the road towards Abergavenny, rolling drunk, when he saw a vision of the Devil and went home to plead with his mother for help.

In 1977 I received some letters from Willie Aston, who wrote:

I knew your grandfather, Philip Young, very well. I came into contact with him at our church, Park Street, Blaenavon, very often.

As a young man, he went off the straight and narrow path, somewhat, and took to drink. One Saturday evening, he was drinking in the Forge Hammer Public house [later Blaenavon Bookshop, Broad Street], when a young Salvation army lass, named Alice Gameson, came in selling copies of the War Cry. When she saw your Father [sic], and knowing his family connections, she said to him, “Phil, I am sorry to see you here. Come out, Phil.” He did so, and started to go to chapel again, Alice went with him, and he often told of it. He told of the awful battle he had to keep out of the public house. The very smell of the beer and sawdust as he passed a Public House was like a magnet to steel, and he had almost to run past to avoid going in again. But he held firm and steadfast and became a member of Park St Methodist Church, and eventually, an assistant class leader to a Mr Wm Bower, then, following Mr Bower’s death, the leader of the Class. He also became am local preacher, and for many years… he served our circuit faithfully and well. He was a very acceptable local preacher, whose services were always in demand. In 1913, in company with Mr William Mortimer, he became a founder member of Park Street Wesley Guild.

I used to enjoy listening to him giving his testimony at our weekly fellowship meeting. His conversion was very real and he often spoke of the saving and keeping power of his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Your grandfather often spoke at our Guild, at least once every session, he would give an address, and he seemed to revel in finding an unusual title for his subject. One was Multum in Parvo much in little. On one occasion, our Secretary, Mr Tom James, asked Phil for the title. Phil, in one of his teasing moods said “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS”. Mr James took him at his word, and that was the title that appeared on the syllabus, so your grandfather had to speak on that subject. He said, “I must be about my father’s business”, and my “Father’s business should be everyone’s concern” and finished with a quotation from one of Charles Wesley’s great hymns

‘Tis all my business here below
To cry, ‘Behold the Lamb.’

On one occasion, your grandmother, who had a large family, gave birth to triplets, and your grandfather was the butt of much good-natured chaffing over the event. When asked for the title of the address for that year, he said “A three-fold wonder”. Nearly all the members of the guild turned up that night, expecting to have an amusing account of the doings of the triplets. – But Phil had the last laugh, he gave us an excellent address on the TRINITY, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, One in three and three in one. “A three-fold wonder”.

Among the records of Park Street church are the minutes of the local preachers’ meetings. The entry for 16th December 1901 reads: “It was decided… that Mr. P. Young and Mr. Cooke of Blaenavon receive notes to preach during the Quarter.” In March 1902 it was resolved that they be continued on notes. On 2nd June “it was decided, after hearing reports, that Mr. P. Young, Blaenavon, be received as a Preacher on Trial”. After four quarters ‘on trial’, in June 1903 “Reports were presented of the Services of Bro. P. Young, Blaenavon, and after an examination conducted by the Superintendent it was unanimously resolved that he be admitted to the full Plan.” Many local preachers’ meetings held from 1903 record him as present, including the one held at 7 p.m. on 14th September 1903 – the day my father was born!

From January to December 1904 he was planned to preach at Llanelly Hill, Abersychan, Race, Cwmavon, Griffithstown, Cwmbrân, Pontnewydd, Victoria, Pontypool, Varteg, Park Street (Blaenavon), Garndiffaith, Clydach, Pwlldu – in all fifty-one services. The Monmouthshire Free Press for 2nd December 1904 reported an “excellent” temperance meeting – though not a large number of people had attended – held that Tuesday, at which Philip was one of the speakers. He was booked for forty-three Sunday services in 1905. In January 1906 Wesley Chapel, Blaenavon, was added to his ministry. In the period 21st January 1923 to 15th April 1923, he was planned to preach twelve times in the Circuit. After that, the plans have not been kept at the County archives.

In 1990 I met an elderly man near the place above Blaenavon where Pwlldu had been. In conversation I mentioned I was Philip Young’s grandson, and he said, “Wasn’t he a minister?” That was about 65 years after Philip left Blaenavon. There must have been something about his preaching for it to have lived so long in local memory!

In 1880 on February 10th my grandmother Alice Maud Gameson was born. In the 1881 census she is living at 51 Hill Street with her parents Thomas and Prudence, six older siblings, a lodger called Mary Jones and four of her children. In 1974 elderly relatives told me that Thomas and Prudence were Wesleyans and worshipped at Park Street Methodist church.

Their son John and son-in-law Joe Millard (husband of Florence) were among the leaders of Avon Road Methodist Mission. The trustees of Park Street, seeing the number of children living in the Avon Road area who never went to Sunday School, dipped into their own pockets and bought a building which had previously been a photographer’s studio in Pontypool. It was opened on 11th November 1893. Later on, Sunday evening worship commenced, then weeknight meetings for fellowship and prayer. The building was replaced by the present chapel in 1936. Aunt Fan also told me that Johnny Gameson (Alice’s brother) attended the Wesleyan Chapel at Varteg.

Alice Maud and her brother Edwin belonged to the Salvation Army. Little is known about the early days of the Salvation Army in Blaenavon. It was formed in the 1860s and met in private houses and on street corners. Their first barracks was Horeb Chapel in Old James Street, which was vacated by the Baptists in 1862. The Primitive Methodists used it for a time, before the Army. Later the Army moved to its citadel in Rhydynos Street, remaining there till the 1980s.

When my father was 14, which age he achieved in September 1917, he too became a miner. On his first day at the mine, as they stood in the cage to descend, he felt some natural trepidation, and Philip quietly stretched out his hand over my father’s, giving comfort and reassurance as they went down together.

The 1904 Revival

There is a remarkable historical background to the religious life of Blaenavon within the period when my grandfather began his many years of service as a Wesleyan local preacher. By early December 1904 the Welsh Revival of 1904-5 had reached Blaenavon. The Monmouthshire Free Press supplies the following information concerning Blaenavon:

The spirit of the Revival was beginning to be felt. There were special prayer meetings all last week at King Street Baptist Church. – 9.12.1904

There was by now undoubtedly a great feeling of spiritual revival. Prayer meetings were being held nightly at several churches, notably Horeb Baptist. – 16.12.04

Almost all the chapels of the town were holding services nightly. There was the same spontaneity as was familiar at Evan Roberts’s meetings in other places, and there were splendid results. It was decided to hold a prayer meeting every afternoon at each of the chapels connected with the Free Church Council. All other meetings in connection with the various Nonconformist chapels were being put aside for the revival prayer meetings. – 23.12.04

At almost all, if not indeed all, of the town’s chapels revival services are being held. There have been over two hundred conversions, some truly remarkable. – 6.1.05

The evangelist Sidney Evans visited Blaenavon for two days, during which time nearly three hundred people professed faith. Converts are coming in night after night, and prayer meetings are held every night in all the Nonconformist chapels as well as in the churches. The Nonconformists are now “going out into the highways to bring them in”, manifesting a zeal which had not been common for very many years. Remarkable meetings were held underground in this mining community and some notable characters were brought to repentance “in the bowels of the earth”. – 20.1.05

It is worth giving a fuller report, extracted from the one in the Monmouthshire Free Press of 13th January, of Sidney Evans’s visit. The report carries a subtitle: “the town deeply influenced” and tells how “the waves of the great Welsh Revival swept over the town of Blaenavon on Tuesday and Wednesday in great force.”

For some time, some glorious times have been seen at several of the Nonconformist chapels. By way of preparation [for the visit of Sidney Evans and his lady missioners] a great united prayer meeting was held at the Primitive Methodist Chapel on Monday evening, when the spacious edifice (the largest in Blaenavon) was filled with an eager and expectant congregation. Passionate appeals were offered that the blessing of God would rest upon the following two days’ services.

Tuesday’s campaign commenced at Bethlehem Chapel at 11 o’clock. Upper Wesley Chapel [presumably Park Street, which had seating for 500 people] was the scene of the afternoon service, and for some time prior to the time announced for starting (2.30), crowds of the inhabitants took their seats in the large building. The chapel was, in fact, practically filled long before Mr Evans arrived, but the congregation filled up the interval with various well-known hymns and choruses. Mr Evans lost no time in making his way to the pulpit… A man sitting under the gallery broke out into prayer pleading most earnestly for the conversion of all the sinners in Blaenavon – it was only with the greatest difficulty that he proceeded with the prayer, his emotion almost overcoming him on several occasions, but he concluded triumphantly in repeating the verse “Jesu, lover of my soul.” The congregation answered with “Whiter than snow”, but long before the conclusion of the hymn a man in the gallery was seen to rise and pray most earnestly. For a time it was impossible to hear his utterances, but gradually, as the singing died away, he was heard to say that he was one of the forty men who the previous day had left their stalls in the mine, and attended a prayer meeting in the bottom of the pit. “I have not been looking for Christ for years, and I did not find him until I attended that blessed prayer meeting in the mine.”

“Songs of praises” was next sung, followed by “Diolch Iddo”. Miss Watkins, one of the lady revivalists, read of portion of scripture relating to the Prodigal Son, and interspersed the reading with various remarks. There were many persons [she said] who were members of churches, but 90% of them were only sleeping members. They went to church three times a Sunday, but it was only a farce, and when they came out of church they did not talk about the sermon, but rather curiously enquired of each other about the latest fashions etc. A young wife said she had been praying for her husband for years, but he had not yielded, which she thought was due to the fact that she had not been a true Christian.

It was about 4 o’clock when Mr Evans appealed to those who had surrendered themselves to Christ to stand up. “O happy day” was started, and as verse followed verse the spirit of the meeting grew in fervour. Further appeals rang out. Another attempted to pray, but the strains of “For the Lion of Judah” swept all before them.

Dusk was setting in, but the meeting showed no sign of abatement. “Save my fellow workmen by me” came an agonised appeal from a voice in the gallery, and the audience helped to add conviction by singing “Come, sinner, come,” followed by “I need Thee, Oh I need Thee.”

As a final shot Mr Evans asked those who would pray before coming to the evening meeting to stand up, and his request met with a ready response. Bring some of your unconverted friends with you and pray for them in the meeting. Another related how he had not shaken the hand of a fellow member for six months, but the Revival had altered his feelings. Scores of persons followed with vows of allegiance to the Saviour. Mr Evans again earnestly appealed to the congregation to offer their petitions for the evening service. The doxology then closed the afternoon proceedings, darkness settled upon the scene, and the people went to their homes with their spiritual appetites sufficiently whetted to give anticipation of a glorious night meeting. Twenty conversions were notified.

It was decided to hold the evening service in the Workmen’s Hall, the most spacious building outside of Cardiff. As early as 6.30 this Hall was full, but by 7 o’clock every available chair and space was occupied and special efforts had to be made to keep the aisles clear.

The article in the Free Press is long, and I have extracted the above excerpts, as it reports on a meeting held at “Upper Wesley” chapel, which I take to be Park Street chapel, where my family worshipped and which had replaced James Street in 1885. Reports in the Free Press continue:

The revival continues with unabated enthusiasm, including excellent meetings underground at midday prayer meetings. Seven hundred and fifty people have professed faith in Christ. – 27.1.1905

At Horeb Baptist thirty-six males were baptised on Wednesday; females were baptised on the Friday. – 3.2.05

Revival services were being conducted with vigour and success with nightly meetings in all the churches of the town. The number of converts was steadily increasing. Forty-eight people were baptised at King Street Baptist chapel on Sunday, and the church was crowded to the doors for the event. – 10.2.1905

By mid-February not so many converts were coming, but there had already been over a thousand. Nonetheless, revival meetings continued and every church was holding a meeting each night in the hope of some wanderer coming in. Forty-nine were baptised on Sunday at King Street Baptist chapel, and there were more to follow. – 17.2.1905 and 24.2.1905

Considerably more than a thousand conversions had been registered, but they continue to come. All other meetings have been cancelled in favour of the revival. – 3.3.05
By mid March the slackening in the revival meetings was again noted, and several places were no longer holding nightly meetings, the usual pattern of services having been resumed. – 10.3.1905

Also in mid March 1905 a very successful evangelistic mission was held at the Wesleyan Chapel by William Norwell, the connexional evangelist. Large congregations assembled, and there were very good results.

The 1920s

On Tuesday 11th October 1921 the Rev. Dinsdale Thomas Young of Westminster preached at Park Street Wesleyan Church. He was one of the last great Evangelical leaders of British Methodism.

The Wesleyan Guild Anniversary Sunday, 25th March 1923, was celebrated at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. The preacher was the Rev. Norman G. Dunning of Cliff College. It was under his ministry that my father came to faith.

Philip and Alice’s life was not unacquainted with grief. The following of their children died in the period 1913-1920: Alice Maud (age 3); Winifred May (age 1); Lily Martha (age 8 months). My father remembered Philip coming downstairs after the death of one, with the dead child in his arms, and saying that though he had so many children, he loved each individually and grieved over the death no less. Here, surely, is a reflection of God’s individual love for each of h is children, adopted into his eternal family through faith in his Son, our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ.

The photographs show: Samuel and Martha Young and family; Philip Young;
Dinsdale Thomas Young (my father, aged 17 (born 1903))

Samuel & Martha Young cr.jpg

img438 Philip Young

DTY age 17.jpg