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Timely reminder of Gornal Wood church tower given helping hand by the Great War

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: August 24, 2014

  • The times they are a-changin' - ABOVE: Zoar Methodist Church with the empty church tower and BELOW complete with the memorial clock

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BUGLE readers A Ward Jones has clocked on with one of the more unusual centenary World War One anniversary stories - a Black Country church that benefited from having a clock put on its tower.

The Chairman of Bristol District of the Methodist Church and Honorary Prebendary of Bristol Cathedral said Zoar Methodist Church in Gornal Wood was built early in the 20th century.

But for no recorded reason a clock was not provided for in the original plans, although – as can be seen from the photograph – square brick insets for a timepiece were included.

After the Great War church trustees decided this would be a suitable memorial to commemorate those who had fallen in the conflict.

The clock was built and installed by W F Evans and Sons of Birmingham in 1919, while at the same time a commemorative tablet was placed on the wall at the foot of the tower. This was made by Mark Round and Sons of Dudley. Mr Round was himself a prominent local Methodist who had erected the church.

The memorial tablet was unveiled on July 21, 1919, and followed by a special service which was chaired by William Lees, local solicitor and trustee.

It was unveiled by his wife. Lees gave an address, as did the two Circuit ministers, R H Little and Kaye Garthwaite, as well as J T Tennant, JP and Chair of the Trustees. Miss Florrie Hale sang two solos and the choir rendered the Hallelujah Chorus.

As Mr A Ward Jones, who said probably not many people knew of the church clock story, noted: "It is because of the Great War that the people of Gornal Wood have been able to check the time for nearly 100 years and be able to note when the buses at the bus stops across the road were late."

Have you any unusual stories of an unexpected side effect of the First World War? Write to us at The Black Country Bugle, Bugle House, 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL, or email editor@blackcountry bugle.co.uk or log on to www.blackcountrybugle.co.uk

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