THIS selection of photographs, some dating back 90 years, have been kindly loaned to us by Bernard Francis of Walsall.
Bernard grew up in the Daisy Bank area of Coseley and his family attended St Aidan's Mission Church.
Our first picture dates from 1924 and shows the St Aidan's mothers Tuesday meeting, of which Bernard's mother was a member. Bernard has done a good job in supplying us with as many names of the women as he can, despite the picture being taken before he was born.
On the back row, from left are: Mrs Lewis, Mrs S. Lewis, unknown, unknown, Mrs Morris, Mrs Attwood, Mrs Wilde and Mrs Withers. Middle row: Mrs Francis, holding son Dennis, Mrs Blackburn, Mrs Amiss, unknown, Mrs Churms, unknown, Mrs Smith, unknown and Mrs Downes with son Wilfred. Front row: Mrs Hampton, Mrs Rees, Mrs Barnes, unknown, Deaconess Grace, Mrs Sumner, Mrs Worsey, Mrs Ball and Mrs Davies.
The next picture shows the St Aidan's mothers Tuesday meeting again, but this time a few years later in 1932. Again Bernard has named as many names as he can.
Back row: Mrs Blackburn, Mrs Heathcote, unknown, unknown, unknown, Mrs Worall and unknown. Middle row: unknown, Mrs Sidaway, Mrs Roberts, Mrs Wilde, Mrs Reynolds and Mrs Lewis. Front row: Mrs Hampton, Mrs Sumner, Miss Hodges, Mrs Rees, Mrs Worsey and Mrs Francis with young Bernard.
Processions were a regular feature of the church or chapel calendar in days gone by and Bernard has a picture taken in 1932 that shows the St Aidan's Mission Choir processing with their church banner along Wesley Street.
The crucifer carrying the cross is Mr Smith and in the left-hand column are Dennis Francis, Harry Wilde, Horace Jones, unknown, unknown and Ernie Long. In the right-hand column are Wilf Elwell, unknown, Stanford and Arthur Gough. Dennis, Horace, Ernie and Arthur were all maternal first cousins.
Our last picture is another photograph of the mission choir, taken in around 1947, and Bernard has named every member for us.
Back row: Dennis Francis (organist and choirmaster), Wilf Downes, Arthur Francis and Roland Rhodes. Middle row: Bill Devey, Ray Shorthouse, David Morgan, Cliff Middleton, Ray Ellis, Wilf Orton and Stan Middleton. Front row: Mike Davies, Peter Garvey, John Middleton, Bernard Francis, Rev J.C. Enser, James Salt, Joey Carrington, Sam York and Ron Ellis.
St Aidan's Mission Church was completed around 1888, one of three mission churches that were established by Rev William Spencer, the wealthy (his family owned steelworks in Northumberland) and zealous vicar of Christ Church, Coseley, from 1883 to 1912. They were built to counter the influence of Methodism in the area and all three were dedicated to Anglo-Saxon saints, the others being St Oswald's at Ladymoor and St Cuthbert's at Wallbrook. Sadly, none of these mission churches are in use today.
What are your memories of St Aidan's Mission Church, Daisy Bank? Can you provide any missing names or have you any old photographs or stories to share with Bugle readers? Please send them in and we shall return any pictures once they have been published. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or write to 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL.