Woodford Halse Archive

St Mary’s War Memorial
St Mary’s War Memorial

Woodford Buildings

St Mary’s

Probably because the reading room was being used for other purposes, the Church of England Men’s Society raised the money and built another room, in 1905. It was a corrugated iron clad one, at the other end of Parsons Close, where the present car park is. This served the Church and parish for sixty years, as a Sunday School, and as a meeting place for the youth of the village. The school used it when they needed an extra classroom and during the 1914-18 War it was used for a time as a glove making factory by Messrs Dent who installed 10 or 12 sewing machines, before moving in 1917 to a new building in Station Road, now No. 8, owned by Mr. J. Anthony and used as a greengrocer’s shop.

During the 1939-45 War it was used by the Home Guard as their headquarters. The Registrar of Births and Deaths has made use of it, dancing classes, whist drives and dances, concerts, scouts and cubs, girl guides and brownies and many another organisation has held meetings under its roof. It was demolished in 1965 when the Savoy Cinema next door was bought for £900 during the ministry of the Reverend George Thrower and converted for use as the Church Room.

There was at one time a Mission Room at Hinton, but where it was situated and when it was brought into use is a mystery. The most likely place seems to be the old Malt House, believed to have been used by the Quakers and by Primitive Methodists, though it appears that there is no real evidence of either bodies using it and in fact, there is no evidence that Quakers ever formed a church here, only a tradition. The only concrete evidence that the place has been used as a meeting place is that Wesleyan Methodists came here from Farndon Mill in 1862 and had left by 1876.

The Parish Magazine of February, 1890 announced that services are held on Tuesdays at 7.30pm., but does not say where. In September the magazine told its readers that services would start again in October and in the October issue it was said that the Mission Room had been made more comfortable by lining it with half inch matchboarding. Nearly three years later, in the January magazine of 1893, it was announced that there would be no more services at Hinton, as after the first year or two, the attendances had fallen off. Probably, by that time it was felt that the Mission Room was serving no useful purpose. What happened to it is not known, the old Malt House still stands and there is no other building now standing which is likely to have been used as a meeting place.

By kind permission of Woodford Halse Archive