Denton S.N.U Spiritualist Church
Annan Street, Denton, Manchester M34 3FX
0161 879 0280
Denton Central Spiritualist Church Established: 1918 / Church built: 1933
Researched and written by:
Minister Dennis Jackson.
In the late 1800’s many towns around Britain had their own spiritualists society, this area was no different, with Hyde Spiritualist Society being formed.
As Spiritualism progressed there were a number of national conferences with the intention of establishing a national organisation, but they proved to be unsuccessful at that time. Progressing on from these meetings and with the instigation of Mrs Emma Hardinge Britten on the 1st April 1890 in Manchester, a meeting of spiritualists was convened to discuss plans for the formation of an organisation which would unite the spiritualist churches throughout the country. Following a favourable response, the first inaugural conference of the Spiritualists National Federation was held in the Co-
In October 1901, in order to enable Churches to own property, the name of the federation was changed to The Spiritualists National Union Ltd and was incorporated under ‘The Companies Act’ as ‘A Company not for profit and limited by guarantee’. By July 1902 it succeeded to and took over the property rights and obligations of the Spiritualists National Federation, as this became more established so did the church at Hyde. People from Denton would attend the church, for both services and for the Lyceum sessions.
Over the years the numbers increased and the Meetings began to be held in various Spiritualists houses. Towards the end of the first world war members began to discuss the formation of a spiritualists church in Denton, by the end of the War these discussions had turned to reality and thus the Spiritualist Church in Denton was founded, a house was rented at no.15 Market Street, Denton (sadly no.13 and no.15 have been demolished and there is just an empty space there now) It was then named Denton Central Spiritualists Church, and their principal officers were:
Mrs C Sykes – President
Mr Harrison – Treasurer
Mrs Finch – Correspondence secretary for Mediums
Mr F Dunks – General Secretary
The above named held office for 3 years with a dream for the future to build their own Church but this was not just a passing idea – oh no – and in order to fulfil their dream they took action! driven by the advancement of Spiritualism and a wish to show the people of Denton how Spiritualists live their lives they set about raising money for the church building fund. They would organise concerts, social evenings, New Year celebration nights etc, they also ran other funds for the Church, a ‘piano fund’ and a ‘coal and wood fund; to keep the house warm in winter. In those early days accounts show Rent, gas, Coal and water for the year came to a total of £25-
Mrs Bridge – president
Mr Redfern – Treasurer
Mr Southgate – Correspondence secretary to the Mediums
Mr wright – General Secretary
1921 shows the start of suppers being served which proved most successful in raising money for the building fund, there was also an increase in the sales of the Two Worlds, and other various Spiritualist publications enablingthe building fund to progress however, more was needed and members voted to rent out part of the house on evenings when no service was being taken, they would hold whist drive nights. The church then progressed both with church activities and socially. By 1923 the church had built up enough money to purchase a second hand foot pedal organ, and an organist was engaged , with a fee of £1/8s/6 d per month. In the early days members paid subscriptions on a monthly basis, and a plate collection was taken at services. By 1925 the church had commenced to hold its own quarterly Lyceum on a Sunday morning and arranged visits to Hyde church Lyceum for the people of Denton for the remaining weeks.
The Lyceum banner for 1926 shows that the conductor was a miss J Ogden, Osborne Road, Denton, a report in the Lyceum Banner states that on the 10th January 1925 the Lyceum held an open session, recitations and solos were rendered by Lyceumists, a full programme was splendidly conducted. In the evening a service of song was given by the Lyceum entitled ” all’s well that ends well ” , and was read by the composer Mrs Moult of Stockport, Miss A Walker of Stockport gave a recitation, Miss J Ogden was the soloist Mr W Lovett was the Secretary. The Two Worlds for February 1925 shows that the society met in Market Street, with a Lyceum at 10.30 and services at 3.00pm and 6.30pm.
In 1926 the church committee brought in the idea to raise money by holding an ‘Entertainment Night’. They engaged a pianist and a singer and all joined in with a good old ‘sing-
February 1927 was a special month for fund raising with the start by a Lyceum silver bell service then there was a visit to the church of Madam Tena and all the proceeds were donated to the church. On Sunday afternoons, Denton Church sold tea and Ice Cream with all the proceeds being donated to the church and finally a concert and the installation of the Piano. By mid 1927 the church, through its activities, had progressed so well that there was a need to move or hire a larger room to hold their Public Services, the Lyceum had also expanded at Denton Central and they were holding monthly meetings. Late 1927, in the month of October, it was agreed by the committee and members to hire the upstairs room at the Cooperative Store on Ashton Road in Denton, and also to sell off the organ.
The next few years show the churches continuous progress with the various activities and fund raising for the building fund and by 1932 they saw the possibility of purchasing a piece of land in Annan Street Denton. Subsequently, at a meeting of the members in late 1932 it was agreed to purchase the land in order to build their own church, finally the dream of owning their own church came into fruition, following all their hard work and dedication, and building work started in 1933 and the doors opened in September 1933, what a wonderful day that must have been. The church on Annan Street, (where it still stands proudly today) became well established in its new premises, and carried on promoting spiritualism holding social activities. By 1938 the church began looking at ways to give the church extra space, and a motion was put forward at the A.G.M in February of that year to consider an addition room being built onto the side of the Church building, this motion was duly passed by its members. It was then that Mr Wright a member of the church, announced that once the concrete pad and first row of bricks had been laid to rest he would pay for the rest of the extension to be completed, thus the room alongside the main building was named the ‘Wright Room’. The church continued to progress and became a great refuge for the people during the second world war.The following years show many changes in committee members, and by 1964, sadly, the church was in need of help, the help came by the way of a volunteer member of the Manchester District Council, Mr JLT Hook M.S.N.U and his wife, Mrs Gladys Hook, Mr Hook did not want to take on the role of President, but accepted the position of chairman of the committee, he put together a programme to get the church back on the move and with Mrs Hook playing the Piano, special services and social activities recommenced. By 1970 the Church was once again very active.
In 1972 Mr Hook announced he would be standing down as chairman to make way for the new younger members now on the committee who were eligible to stand for the position as President. Mrs Pauline Jackson was elected as the President at the A.G.M that year and Mr Hook continued to serve on the committee. By 1973 part funds had been raised to install full central heating into the church and a loan was granted from the S.N.U building fund pool for the remainder of the costs. At the A.G.M in 1975 a motion was put to the members for the front of the Church ( the rostrum ) to be modernised, with the removal of the high platform and panel front. Plans were shown to the members and although the plans were accepted, there were many questions regarding the actual alteration, such as “when would the work be done” as they didn’t want their Church to be closed, eventually a solution was found and it was agreed that the modifications would take place in Easter 1975 after the Saturday night Service at 9.00pm, work would commence and continue through Sunday and Monday with the church being open as normal by 6.30pm on the Tuesday night! The only reason members agreed to work to go ahead on these dates was because the Manchester District Council held an Easter Rally on those days, they had a large hall in the city and all churches closed on Easter Sunday so everyone could attend the rally. Over the following two days, two volunteers, Minister Dennis Jackson and Pauline’s brother-
1975 to 1981 were very busy years with many activities, Christmas parties, dances and concert nights which were always a sell out, many of the performers were both members of Denton Church as well as Manchester District Council’s concert party, another popular event was the ‘men’s night when all the male members of the church to do everything including the buffet. The visiting Medium for these nights would be Gordon Higginson. During the 1976 A.G.M it was moved that the loan from the S.N.U Building Fund Pool should be paid back leaving the church, debt free – this was unanimously accepted and moved, the same meeting also passed a motion to complete the updating of the church by painting the ceiling, various quotes were received but these required the church to close for services so that scaffold could be erected, they all wanted the ceiling painted, yet hey refused to allow the church to close for services, The problem was eventually solved by the kind loan of scaffold on wheels from Saddleworth Church. The ceiling was painted by three of the committee, Mrs Pauline Jackson -
February 1981 was a sad time for Denton Central as Minister Dennis Jackson was transferred to Australia by the company that he worked for, initially it was only for a period of 6 months and by July his good wife Pauline was missing him so much she decided to join him, it turned out to be 21 years before they returned to England. The Church carried on with its activities and Services over these years, seeing many changing faces in the congregation, members and the committee members and officers. Many of the good workers of these times passed over to the world of Spirit, sadly for Denton Church, 2001 saw the passing to Spirit of their much loved and respected president Mrs Elsie Bunting who had served them as their President for 18 years. With the current times and falling numbers attending churches it became difficult to form a full committee, and Denton Church went into district council supervision. The 2002 A.G.M welcomed the return of Minister Dennis Jackson and his wife Pauline, who had arrived home a week before the meeting.
Albert Cottrell took on the role of president, with Mrs Pauline Jackson as Vice-
Long may Denton Central Spiritualist Church grow!
Presidents 1964 -
Mrs Patricia Coles 2013 to April 2016
Geoffrey Degg April 2016 to present
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