Saturday, April 24, 2010

Millennial Dawn Meetings

Meetings were held at 79 Woodgrange Road at the turn of the 20th Century. I don't know if these photos show number 79. Anyone know?

1 comment:

jerome said...

Woodgrange Road is a reasonably sized road by British standards. As to whether the meeting hall features in the photographs, you would need to find a photograph that shows the main railway station as 79 Woodgrange Road was reportedly opposite it.
The Watch Tower for July 15, 1900 carried the announcement:
Our Society has just rented a very desirable meeting place where Sunday meetings will be regularly held. It is a public hall opposite the Great Eastern Ry. station, and near Wansted Park station of Midland Ry. The entrance is No. 79 Woodgrange Road, Forest Gate, London E.
However, using Google images the current location on no.79 is just by Wanstead Park Station over 300 metres along the road from the Great Eastern Station. Which doesn’t quite fit the description.
I have a note that they moved from Woodgrange Road to Earlham Hall, Forest Gate, in 1902 – but no documentary proof for that. But they weren’t long at Woodgrange Road. You might be interested in the following reference from the history of the Forest Gate Bible Students group.
From the Forest Gate Bible Study Monthly March-April 1985 when announcing the journal’s impending closure:
In 1900 the author of “The Divine Plan” sent to this country from the USA a brother and his wife who had worked in Allegheny, PA, with CT Russell in his Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Their names were C T (sic) and R B Henninges. They stayed with FGG and his family for three months, and during this time two steps were taken: (1). The opening in May 1900 of a Society office and depot in Gypsy Lane (now Green St.) Forest Gate, and (2). the hiring of a small hall, also in Forest Gate near the railway station and known as The Radical Club. It was announced shortly thereafter in “The Watch Tower”, the Society’s journal, that there had been obtained a very fine meeting hall for the brethren, also giving it its location. Perhaps “dismal” would have been a more accurate description than “very fine”. It was, of course, rented by the brethren for Sundays only. The odour of Saturday’s smoking by the Radicals was unpleasant, added to which the rats were troublesome during the services. How long the brethren met there is not recalled, but later the meeting hall was changed, and Earlham Hall, a music academy in Forest Gate, was rented up to the Second World War, when it was commandeered to be an Air-Raid Precautions post.
FGG refers to Frederick George Guard (who converted to the Bible Student cause in 1893).