St Paul’s parishioners gather around our ancient scrapbook. A document that bridges two hundred years of entries from the old church up to the present.
We’ve been told we need to take care of it so we’re looking at ways we can preserve its pages and also create a digital version that will help stand the test of time.
Albert Charlton is our oldest parishioner and he remembers the twenty years between the destruction of the old church and the rebuilding of the new. He says Walworth was “full of gangsters” who were on their best behaviour and availed themselves of the Crossed Swords Youth Club opened by Sir John Mills in 1959.
The gangsters have gone, but Albert remains, and were we to ask him, he might say they have given way to the noisier and somewhat less well behaved toddlers of the nursery (!) who now occupy the space under the church where Captain B Simmons ruled with an iron club all those years ago.
When looking through its pages, we were struck at how different, and yet the same things were back then. We have receipts from their outings, photos of old weddings, names of vicars from the avant garde glory days of the last century, and a letter from the Incumbent detailing London’s very first harvest festival on February 15th 1859.
In some ways it seems they are calling out to us, asking us to preserve their memories into this increasingly strange world of technologies they could barely have conceived of back then.
So we have heard them.. and taken up the call! We will be adding our pictures to theirs and continuing the story of St Paul’s, the Church in the Square through this blog, the modern version of the Parish Magazine. Because in our witness through prayer we believe no story should be forgotten, and consider it our duty to carry the voices from the past, into the present and beyond…