ST EDWARD's Church History

The Laying of the Foundation Stone 1921

The foundation stone of the new St Edward's Church was laid on Saturday, 4th June, 1921.

The four Choirs of St Margaret’s, St Anne’s, St Agnes and St Edward’s met at St Margaret’s Church at 3pm and processed with the other worshippers, after Evensong, to the site of the new church. They are seen here emerging from Sandringham Road and processing up Blenheim Road. In the background can be seen the two-storey Junior School of Marlborough Road, that was bombed in the Second World War.

Mr Philip Henry Coward was to have performed the ceremony, and his name is recorded on the stone, but sadly his wife died on that day. Instead, the stone was laid by Mr Walter Thomas.

During the ceremony, Mr Walter Thomas spoke of the unity of the parish and congratulated them on the building of another church. Mr Edward Hurford gave a short account of events including the disastrous fire of 1919, leading up to the present need for a new building.  Mr John Grimes proposed and Mr G. Walter Lloyd seconded a vote of thanks to Mr Thomas.

In the first two photographs above, the stone can be seen to be held up by the block and tackle. In the later photographs it has been laid in its place. The choirs can be seen in the chancel, and the large crowd with the speakers outside the building on Blenheim Road.

The plans for the new church by Mr E. Willmott included a large nave, in keeping with the size of the chancel we have today. Due to the financial constraints of the time, the original nave was never built. Once the chancel and vestry were completed and a temporary nave was added. building ceased and would not be resumed for 45 years.  

At the laying of the foundation stone, the Contractors, Messrs Evans, presented a beautifully worked mallet, and the architects gave a fine silver trowel.  Both were inscribed “Presented to Phillip Henry Coward Esquire on the occasion of the Laying of the Foundation Stone of the St Edward (War Memorial) Church, June 4th 1921.” Donations amounting to £750 were received on the day.

The mallet presented by the Contractors.

The inscription on the mallet.

The trowel presented by the architects.

The Centenary of this event occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic. A large celebration was impossible, so some members of the choir and congregation gathered by the Foundation Stone and marked the occasion by singing the Office of Compline and the Welsh hymn "Tydi a Roddaist".