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The History of

St Andrew's United Church

There was a small congregation meeting in New Brighton when Robert Hurworth moved in to Egerton Street in 1863. He established a Sunday School in his own house and such was the interest from parents and friends that a church building committee was established and the site bought for £240.  The foundation stone was laid on 22nd April 1870 and, with the usual great ceremony, the opening took place on 23rd November 1870.  The original building was shaped like a Greek cross with transepts and the tower carried a saddle-back steeple.  The entrance door was on Rowson Street.   In time the congregation expanded and the nave walls were moved to their present position. In 1968 the steeple was found to be unsafe and 25 feet was taken off it and the steeple replaced with a modern cap.

Originally the church was known as New Brighton Weslyan Church and then New Brighton Methodist Church.  The name St Andrews is relatively modern following the union with Ennerdale Road Presbyterian Church (“Andrew went and called his brother”) and, since that time (1979), Oxton Road Methodist Church and Liscard URC have also joined the congregation whilst the Manor Church Centre (formerly Egremont Presbyterian Church) joined St. Andrews in October 2010.

A Tour of the Church

The porch opens on to the Narthex which forms a welcoming area and is used for greeting people before a service, refreshments after the service, notice boards and an area for meetings.

The doors in to the nave have glass panels either side which came from Liscard URC. They are part of a larger feature representing The Tree or River of Life. They are French in origin and the texture, setting and design of the glass is unique. They were donated by Miss Edith Cooil, her sister Mrs Edna Arden and their family in 1970.

The oak carved pews are from Ennerdale Road and replaced the darker, original pews which did not provide a central aisle.

The interior roof has the unusual feature of a “double scissors” structure in the woodwork.

The organ is not the original (which was an American organ) and was installed in 1885, rebuilt in 1898 and rebuilt again and moved to its present site in 1934\5.

The font to the right of the apse was donated by the family of Frederick John Broadbent.

The wooden statue of St Andrew was donated and carved by Muriel Benjamin.

The apse has been much enhanced by its repainting in white and blue.

The memorial window at the end of the apse dates from 1935 but during the war it was blown out by a bomb blast. The senior steward, Harold Halsall, collected together all the bits and stored them in a box until they could be reassembled in time of peace. In the glass can be seen the Greek letters Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end. The communion table came from Manor Church Centre (formerly Egremont Presbyterian Church) when the two churches joined.

The candles are now oil filled and give a steady flame which needs little maintenance.

The pulpit panels came from Liscard URC and were carved in 1898 by the Minster (Rev. J H Gwyther) and some members of the congregation who took lessons in woodcarving! Five panels were made representing the Olive, the Fig Tree, the Lily, the Vine and Wheat – each with an appropriate Biblical quotation. The end panel was hinged and names of those responsible for the carvings and the date July 1898 was inscribed on the inside. When the panels were transferred to St Andrews they were found to fit perfectly and the names can be seen to this day.

The Memorial Chapel, was set aside to represent the chapel in Ennerdale Road.   The furnishings were provided in memory of a former member of Rowson Street. Mr Ernest Warrington, formerly a police inspector and then Director of Publicity and Entertainment for New Brighton. The war memorials are situated in this chapel and it is used for evening and midweek services. In 2010  Manor Church Centre (formerly Egremont Presbyterian Church) joined St Andrews’ and there are various War memorials from Manor Church in the chapel.

The communion table was donated by Mary Burton wife of the hymn writer.

The woodwork down the side of the church came from Oxton Road and reminds us that each of the churches who have joined together have contributed something to the whole.

Finally at the back of the church in panelling, there are some small glass panels in memory of former members of the congregation. Each one has scenes that show some aspects of their interests and service to the church. That to the Wynne family shows Mrs Wynne’s service as a midwife along with the interests of other family members. Kay Funnel’s has pictures of Ennerdale Road and St Andrew’s and shows her thespian interests. Tony Forster worked for Alfred Holt, played rugby for New Brighton. The yacht is his favourite, Milly Brown. Gilbert Pattinson was a keen musician playing a variety of instruments especially the viola.  Peggy Akroyd sang in the choir and her grandson, Glyn, was responsible for most of the panels.

Marjorie Beresford was another member of the choir and a former member of Oxton Road which is shown at the bottom. The window in the Narthex wall is to John Fidler whose father founded our Boys Brigade and who served in it as boy, officer and, for many years, captain.

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