100 Years Ago>

Transcripts from the Annual Letter and Report 1903
S. Silas' Mission District,
Malden Road, Kentish Town

To all those who are interested in the Mission District
of S. Silas’, Malden Road, Kentish Town.

It has been said “Happy is the nation that has no history,” and I presume by ‘history’ connotes wars and strife, and ‘no history’ would therefore mean peace and quiet development of a nation’s resources. Our Mission District is a happy one in this sense, for there is no strife—all is peace and quiet development of the small resources we have at our disposal. Chief among these developments has been the starting of a Company of the Church Lads’ Brigade with Mr. Thorogood as Captain, without whom the formation of this Company would have been an impossibility for us. We never thought that a Squad of 40 or 50 lads could be drilled in the confined space of our Mission House, but the Captain has. squared the circle, and can put this number of lads through. march and counter march with comparative ease. They have been inspected, and have been reported to have in them the promise of a very smart Company, and we have every hope and confidence that much good may result to the lads in moral and spiritual ways from this effort. Mr. H. R. Cattarns, whom we have welcomed amongst us this year, and has given us much; assistance in the Church, has also helped with the work of the Brigade. In other respects there is very little to chronicle. We have no available site for a permanent Church (our present Mission Church being a permanent brick structure though not large enough to be consecrated as the Parish Church of so large a district); and there is still no site for an adequate Mission House. Our Sunday services are better attended, especially in the evening, the people taking their part with great heartiness, and when we have a Church parade of the Brigade the Church is packed. Our Communicants’ Roll shows a slight increase, and our Sunday School keeps up its numbers, though we are sadly in need of more teachers, and it always seems to Us that there should be a large surplus supply in some of the Hampstead Parishes near by who could well be made over to us if they, the teachers and parishes would agree. In a poor district we cannot he expected to get all we want within our own borders, we must look abroad for some few of our teachers and visitors. Will someone who reads this volunteer to help us? Be it remembered that Bethnal Green and Hoxton are sure of getting workers from all parts of the diocese, but if Hampstead neglects us—the Lazarus that lies at its door—no one else is likely to hear of us. We lie sandwiched between two poor parishes, which need all the help they get, but we should be glad if a few of the crumbs of comfort and help came our way sometimes. Will Vicars of rich parishes, with more workers than they can provide work for, be kind enough to note this.

I cannot pass over without mention the Renovation of the Chapel of the Tailors’ Benevolent Institution, of which I am Chaplain, and the Installation of the Electric Light, at a total cost of £143, nearly the whole of which has been raised by subscriptions from members of the congregation and of the Board which manages the Institution. Everyone admires the decorative work designed by Mr. Prest of Haverstook Hill. 
Assistant Clergy Fund was £140.

For the first time within the memory of the Mission the offertories have very nearly covered the Church expenses, and if the list of special offertories be consulted it will be admitted that there is not one for which it was not our clear duty to try to do something.
Church Expenses Account £42- 12-2

The Book rests in front of the first seats have given a finish to the Church, and made it possible to occupy them with comfort, a thing hardly possible before.
Church Repair Fund £3-15-9

We want more subscribers of 2/6 if our Magazine is to pay its way as it ought to come nearer doing.
Magazine Account £20-10-9

Miss Cundy’s Meeting has been better attended this year, as a reward for her kind efforts, and those of her sister and Mrs. Milledge who take turns in giving readings. Sister Hope’s meeting on Wednesdays continue to thrive—she gives much valuable help and time to the work here. She has started a Girls’ Club this year, which promises to be very useful.

Mothers' Meeting Fund £2- 10-2

We warmly thank Dr. Colles for working this fund for us. The Sanitary Authority ordered some expensive drainage work which we have had to execute, and we have done a good deal of papering and whitewashing. From the surplus that remains from the Christmas Sale proceeds, we think of paying off some of the money owing to the Building Society on the purchase of the Lease of the premises if they will take it in this way.
Mission House Fund £69-1-2

We are thankful for three grants that have been made to us by the Metropolitan Visiting and Relief Association, one more than usual, so that at the end of the year we had a balance in hand, but this has now been spent. The Special Distress Fund under the management of members of the Borough Council and Guardian Bodies helped some of our cases during the winter, otherwise we should have had more applicants than we could have dealt with; for though the winter was a very fair one, the bad trade in the summer owing to failure of the fruit supply and lack of work left our people with nothing to fall back upon in any out-of-work period.
Poor Fund £45-4-7

Again we record a most successful Christmas Sale. Everyone was most enthusiastic, and strained every nerve to make things go, and they went, and the money flowed in.
Christmas Sale Account £81- 8-3

Birds in their own little nests do not always agree, it is not therefore surprising to find disagreement when those belong­ing to two different nests try to live together. S. Andrew’s and S. Silas’ have agreed to part company and go their several ways once more. We are sorry that this has occurred, and it is only fair to acknowledge that S. Andrew’s agreed to a very generous arrangement at parting.
Cricket Club (S. Andrew's & S. Silas' United) £7-5-0

A word of thanks before I close to all the workers in the Mission District, they are so good that the only fault I find is that there are not more of them. It is just those who are hard at work all day and everyday, who are ready to put in a little more for their Church, and one does heartily appreciate this self-forgetful and enthusiastic work. Though few, if we keep in line and march together we may accomplish much.

Praying for our Heavenly Father’s continued blessing on all the work undertaken here for His glory and the good of souls.

I am, Yours in all faithfulness, F. W. BENTLEY.

N.B.—We acknowledge with grateful thanks the grants that are made us by the Bishop of London’s Fund year by year for our Clergy and Mission House Funds; from the S.P.C.K. towards the rent we pay for use of Rhyl Street Board School as our Sunday School; and from the North St. Pancras Needle­work Guild in the form of useful garments which are duly distributed and much appreciated.

Curate-in-Charge - Rev. F. W. Bentley, M.A., Chaplain’s House, Queen’s Crescent.
Assistant Curate - Rev. C. W. F. Jones, M.A., 2, Church Road, Parkhill Road.
Churchwardens - (S. Silas’) Mr. C. Leach, 10, S. Anne’s Gardens.
Mr. W. J. Lewis, 105, Prince of Wales Road.
Sidesmen - Mr. Allworth, Mr. Beattie, Mr. Collett, Mr. Thorogood, Mr. Arthur White, and Mr. Herbert Brereton.
Organist - Mr. Moss, 101, Adelaide Road.
Parochial Reader - Mr. H. R. Cattarns, 4, Albert Terrace, N.W.
Mission Woman - Mrs. Harepe, The Mission House, Preston St.
Caretaker - Mrs. Prior, 14, Weedington Road.
Chapelwarden - (S. John’s) Mr. D. H. Harrison, Creffield Road, Ealing.
Sidesmen - Mr. Gee and Mr. Morgan.
Organist - Mr. Richard Mann, 42, Leverton Street.
Choirmaster - Mr. Pearce, 28, Estelle Road.
Caretaker - Mr. Curle, 164, Malden Road.

For the information of those who are not acquainted with the district, it may be well to explain that the Curate-in-Charge has two Churches to serve - S. John the Evangelist’s (primarily intended for the inmates of Tailors’ Benevolent Institution, but to which the public are admitted and are heartily welcome) and S. Silas’ Mission Church, which has not been consecrated, but is licensed for Public Worship and the Administration of the Sacraments.

The Mission District of S. Silas’ contains very nearly 5,000 people, inhabiting the streets enumerated below, each house in which averages twelve occupants—
Crown Terrace. Queen’s Crescent (T. B Inst. and Nos. 1-61). Malden Road (Nos. 1-39 and 2-42). Marsden Street. St. Anne’s Gardens. Newbury Mews. St. James’ Gardens. Palace Street. St. Leonard’s Square. Preston Street. Shipton Place. Prince of Wales’ Road. Weedington Road (Nos. 1-35).
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