Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Missing Memorials


JackieT
 Share

Recommended Posts

There were 3 Wooden board  WW1 memorials inside Acton Green Methodist church , Steele Road, Chiswick until 2005 when the church was  demolished. IWM list them but the present location is unknown. I have contacted every organisation I can think of: church, museums, history societies etc., to no avail. My ancestors  PERRYMAN  and MINTER are listed on them. I wonder if the memorials  now reside in a Town/church hall or similar in the vicinity? Any further suggestions welcome!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, JackieT said:

There were 3 Wooden board  WW1 memorials inside Acton Green Methodist church , Steele Road, Chiswick until 2005 when the church was  demolished. IWM list them but the present location is unknown. I have contacted every organisation I can think of: church, museums, history societies etc., to no avail. My ancestors  PERRYMAN  and MINTER are listed on them. I wonder if the memorials  now reside in a Town/church hall or similar in the vicinity? Any further suggestions welcome!

A few thoughts based on my experience of Methodist practice:

a. When the church closed in theory ther should have been a kind of "successor" church to which the remaining members were transferred. (Unfortunately in a number of cases the people went a chucrh which was not the official successor.) The "successor" was probably a church in the same circuit. Memorials should have gone to the "successor" but alas, that was not always the case.

b. Documents from a closing Methodist church should have been passed to the local archives. I'm not sure if that would apply to wooden boards. What about a local museum.

c. A nuber of areas have Methodist Heritage Centres. They might have gone to the local one.

d. If it was an area with good ecumenical relationships, they might have been entrusted to a local church of another denomination.

RM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for these ideas. I haven’t approached churches of other denominations in the area or Methodist Heritage Centres. I’ll try both! The local archives have no records of the boards and the other Methodist church in Acton doesn’t have them either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You could also enquire at the Local Council, the majority have some form of “civic benefactor” registration system, albeit in the form of the local archaeologist who may attend to these issues  or a simple book in which they are listed , but that’s not to say they may have even passed them on for financial benefit…….it does happen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Someone at the church might have stored them in his/her attic or garage for safety. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven’t tried the local council. In someone’s attic is also a possibility in which case I’m unlikely to track them down! Thank you for these suggestions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was the church demolished soon after it was closed? If it was closed then demolished soon after in 2005 there is a reasonable chance that the memorial has been preserved somewhere. Unfortunately the church stood empty for a long time there is a stronger chance that they were stolen or forgotten.

In theory there should be records relating to the disposal of the building somewhere.

RM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The church closed in 1995. Reason, only 5 parishioners at the last.

A little judicious internet searching will show this information, offered by a Jackie Nicholls

Link to comment
Share on other sites

48 minutes ago, michaelpi said:

The church closed in 1995. Reason, only 5 parishioners at the last.

A little judicious internet searching will show this information, offered by a Jackie Nicholls

That's worrying, unless someone took care of the memorials immediately on closure.

RM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 08/09/2021 at 18:10, JackieT said:

There were 3 Wooden board  WW1 memorials inside Acton Green Methodist church , Steele Road, Chiswick until 2005 when the church was  demolished. IWM list them but the present location is unknown. I have contacted every organisation I can think of: church, museums, history societies etc., to no avail. My ancestors  PERRYMAN  and MINTER are listed on them. I wonder if the memorials  now reside in a Town/church hall or similar in the vicinity? Any further suggestions welcome!

Have you considered contacting local newspapers to get some publicity for your quest?

TR

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don’t know whether the memorials remained in the church until 2005 or whether they were removed when it closed as a church in 1995. I haven’t contacted the Methodist head office; I’ll also try the local newspaper. Thank you for those suggestions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anybody know where Methodist War Memorials end up?

The Methodist Church in our village is closing and we are having a massive campaign to try and save it for the community (since it always was a community space)

(see here - Fundraiser by Ability Needs CIC : Heart of Headcorn Community Project (gofundme.com)

but things are not looking good and the Methodists want to take it to auction in one week. I am very, very worried about what will happen to these beautiful memorials, especially the marble one embedded in the wall. A load of developers came to look round today and I just can't see some of those people really caring about these memorials. I can't bear the thought of them ending up smashed: for me it is an outrage. I see here that people have some experience of what happens to Methodist memorials - any idea where they go? They hardly communicate with us so I can't find out what will become of them. 

IMG_2633.jpeg

IMG_2647.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

The memorial above is typical of Methodist and other non-Conformist memorials in that it lists those who served.  Methodism in the U.K. has been in decline for many years, in the 1960s/70s there was little awareness and  any ended up in the skip or were rescued and in private hands.  Here in Eastbourne a few are in the local military museum.  

One would like to think post-Centenerary there is much greater awareness and,as evidenced by you and your community’s concerns, a desire to preserve the memorials.  A number of suggestions have been made on this thread, though to be fair many languish in cupboards or attics after the church has been demolished.  One that I’m familiar with only the tablets, not the surround has been preserved.  

Any developer will require planning permission, I’d suggest you approach the planning authority inn the first instance to make any preservation of the memorial(s) conditional.  It may help if you can find  local history group or institution willing to undertake custody, though in truth once it is taken out of context whatever happens it is effectively lost, a documented record may become equally important as the physical object.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A military museum is a good idea. And we are part of the local history group so can conserve them and will certainly note them down. I just cannot believe that it has come to this. I feel so sorry for the poor farming families who lost family members and truly believed that at least there would be some memorial to them forever. It is hard to trust any private homeowner to keep them in place. I am not obsessed with the past but I do believe that we are losing so much of what is sacred and so much of our heritage. And then we wonder why kids are so lost and scattered, they cannot connect with or feel inspired by the past anymore. The words on the memorial are also interesting - 'Live thou for freedom; We for freedom died'. Often people talk just about WW2 in this way but it is interesting to hear these very moving words applied to WW1, which was so different. It does reveal the people's perspective at the time. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Headcorn Methodist Church WW1 Memorial has an entry on the IWM War Memorials Register - apparently provided by My Methodist History [whoever they are]

https://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/1521

Unfortunately their photo is hindered by the positioning of two poppy crosses which obscure a number of names of those who served.

@B MansfieldI suggest you contact IWM and get your better/clearer photo added so at least there is a clear record somewhere else - your situation is very sad.

:-) M

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Methodist Circuit to which your church belongs should, in theory, complete a yearly report of where their archives are stored. Sadly this was not the case for “my” missing memorials in the Ealing circuit. IWM lists the Acton Green memorials, but there is no photo. I was told (in my case) London Metropolitan Archives should hold the records for the memorials, but again, they had no information on them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you very much. Yes I will indeed do that - they must be kept somewhere forever. You can see on the wooden one also - the Church survived the German bombers but cannot survive the modern world! The thing is that its not only those that were killed but all of those who went to that Great War who must have seen such unspeakable horrors. Even if they came back alive, goodness knows how they suffered either with visible injuries or in their own private way. We were brought up to respect those who fought, suffered and died for their country but it seems there is just no understanding, imagination, empathy or respect these days. The Methodists are closing 100 churches a year - I wonder how many other war memorials are in a similar precarious situation or God forbid, just discarded. 

Jackie it seems that they are just in such a hurry now to close all the churches, there are so many cases of these things missing, like the plaques in one in Canterbury.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Headcorn Methodist Church WW1 Memorial

I hope that in due course, if not already done, that the names are researched.

For starters - a couple of the fallen seem to spring forward as seemingly from Headcorn:

= Albert William CROUCH, G/19978, Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)  https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/841956/ALBERT WILLIAM CROUCH

= Raymond SHARP, T2/014985, Army Service Corps https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/625497/RAYMOND SHARP

And for those who served and survived [From WFA/Fold3 Pension Cards] - 

= Hubert James BRANDLEY, 179501, Labour Corps, and 24729, Royal West Kent - Bank Farm, Headcorn

:-) M

Edited by Matlock1418
added Brandley
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Jackie

I was lucky to find a missing roll of honour in an attic but it did take some time to locate, so you may be lucky. I eventually found where they were by tracking down someone who had a connections with the church 40 years ago when the roll of honour disappeared. Is it possible to check local newspapers before the church closed and see if there are any details of Sunday Services etc that might have names of people connected with the church?  I know it is a long shot but you never know.

 

Jacks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is so wonderful, thank you so much. I wasn't sure how to go about it but that is so fantastic. Thank you very much indeed. I will do some proper work on it now also. I recently managed to track down my Great Uncle https://www.liverpoolpals.com/soldier/?i=185/50025-pte-arthur-benstead and was deeply moved to read about what he went through and what his feelings must have been. I also discovered that group of battles was pivotal to the outcome of the war.  I will research and write as much as I can on each of those soldiers. Thank you very much for caring about our soldiers in Headcorn. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have limited experience in tracking down memorial boards when a church closes and nearly always the boards go, as Rolt968 states in the second comment above, to a nearby church that takes over responsibility for the parish in which the original church was in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That seems logical, Jim. I had asked the other Methodist church in the area and they didn’t have them, but I’ll ask local churches of other denominations, there are several. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A number of odd thoughts. (I think I gather you know a lot about Methodist organisation.)

  • Was the building used for something else between 1995 and 2005?
  • It should be possible to find out who the ministers were and possibly contact them. (But which one? 1995 or 2005.)
  • In theory someone should have been responsible for the building at its closure and its subsequent sale. The person would have to deal with things that had been presented to the church in memory of people. It is a thankless task and nearly always someone is offended! With a surviving cengregation of only five, it would proablyy not be a member of the congregation. (i should also add that it wasn't always well done.)
  • Might they have been offered to an organisation like the local British Legion?
  • How big were the boards? Could they be in a cupboard somewhere? (1995 and even 2005 is long enough for them to have been forgotten about. The Roll of Hnour of a local church turned up at the back of a cupboard when the interior was cleared for reconstruction. No one could remember anything about it.
  • Is there anything in the records of the other Methodist churches in the circuit: Probably even less likely the records of what used to be called the Chapel Committee? (Department?) - a Connexional department who dealt with buidings. They used to be based in Manchester.

RM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...