Home > History > 1949-1974

From the Centenary Onwards

HISTORY  - 1949-1974



The Revd Edward Porter Tyson MA, (1933-1951) having been most thorough in the performance of his many tasks whilst the Second World War raged, making management of the parish arduous and difficult, identified himself with most good causes in Dukinfield, and was a member of the Local Education Committee.  On the introduction of the new Education Act, he was co-opted as a member of the Stalybridge and Dukinfield Divisional Executive.


The centenary of the church was celebrated on 16 January 1949, and various events followed during the week ending 23 January.  There are even now parishioners in their 70s, 80s and 90s who remember this week of celebration.  The church was full to the rafters.  The Sermon at Evensong was preached by a former Vicar, the Revd H V Aspinwall M.A.  In February 1949, the Centenary Fund stood at £2,577 7s. 6d.


Just as in 2009, when we had a Back to Church Sunday on 27 September, on Saturday, 22 January 1949, a reunion of past and present friends of St Marks took place in the school at 7:00 pm.  On Sunday, 23 January, the Centenary week ended and the preacher at Evensong was the Rt Rev the Bishop of Chester, who had sent a letter for the Centenary, ending “May God bless you all and the work you plan to do in His name, as you start on the second century of your history”. DOUGLAS CHESTER.


This centenary was a milestone, covering a period of rapid changes.  To have sustained the parish through 100 years from the harsh environment of the early 19th century to the affluence of the middle 20th century was indeed an achievement.


On Sunday, 10 July 1949, the dedication of a “new” organ (which was originally built in 1914 but restored and purchased for £650 from Longsight) took place, together with the gift of new altar rails given by the Communicant’s Guild and prayer desk on 10 July 1949 by the Lord Bishop of Chester.  The old organ had been sold for £150.


Mr Wilfred Norris, a blind organist, retired after 39 years and recalled the names of many former organists.  The organ was taken over by Mr John Pemberton, who lived at "Lyndhurst" on Crescent Road, and left to live in Folkestone.  He died on 29 July 1980 at The Lakes, Dukinfield, and his funeral took place at St Mark's.








     St Mark's choirboys in 1949

     (from left to right)

     John Wild, Leonard Bainbridge,

     Harold Outram, Tom Riley,

     Brian Walker, Peter Stafford,

     Frank Bowden, Roland Hilton










Mr Edward Cyril Carrington became St Mark’s Organist and Choirmaster, introducing for the first time since Mr Pemberton had taken over the choir, women choristers. He served for nearly 30 years and members of the family, including his widow, still sing in the choir. His daughter, Mrs Stella Leigh, became our Organist in 2008. 


Cyril Carrington



                                        Cyril Carrington                                                                                  Stella Leigh  


St Mark's vicar - the Revd Tyson - moved to Mottram Church as Rural Dean in 1951.  He maintained contact with St Marks and returned to watch the Whit Walks.  There is a photograph (too large for this page) of St Mark’s Mothers Union visiting Mottram Church, which has both Mr and Mrs Tyson, and his successor, Revd Banks on it, as well as Mrs Hilda Hooley, who is still a regular worshipper at the age of 91 at our church services.


Sadly, he died not long after in 1956 which was a great shock to his many friends in Dukinfield.  A prayer desk to his memory was given to St Mark’s by public subscription.


The next vicar of St Mark's was the Revd Edgar Banks MRST (1951-1958) who was inducted in 1951. He introduced, with the support of the PCC, a new system of alms-giving by envelope. 




Mr Banks at the Rose Queen Crowning of Joan Giblin in the vicarage grounds in 1955 - the retiring Queen was Kathleen Egan


Mrs Banks' widowed father, Mr F W Ball, who lived with them, was a keen photographer of all the events at the church.  He married a spinster of the parish, Eva Joan Kinder.  







Guests at the wedding of Mr and Mrs Ball:

Mr Arnold Buckley (St Mark's School Headmaster) and Mrs Buckley behind;

Bridesmaid: Joyce Power;

Mrs Minnie Higginbottom, Kathy Staff

and Mr Alfred Higginbottom













When Mr Banks left St Mark's, a licensed Lay reader, Mr John Cook, worked to maintain regular Sunday services.  Mr Cook was a teacher in St Mark’s Day School, a local councillor, and a Mayor of Dukinfield in 1963-64, when St Mark’s had the honour and privilege of receiving his Worship the Mayor, the Lady Mayoress, the Councillors and Officials of the Borough of Dukinfield.  It was a red-letter day in the life of St Mark’s that one of its own active members was elected to this high and important office. 




His Worship the Mayor, Councillor John Cook, and his wife at the Rose Queen crowning of Kathleen Bowker (nee Jarvis) who is still an active member of our church.








The Revd Graham L Francis, Dip Th, Dip Soc, Ltds, (1959-1964) followed Mr Banks as vicar; he was inducted to the living of St Mark’s in 1959.


The Revd Francis gathered together a strong band of men to work for the church and put forward a scheme of alms giving, known as Christian Stewardship, which was adopted in 1962.  He formed a branch of the Church of England Men’s Society at St Mark's, which met with success from the beginning.  The men were bound together by bonds of brotherhood in the church and always ready to serve the church at any time.


They visited homes to explain the meaning of Stewardship.  It was successful but the joy was short lived as dry and wet rot were found in the church and loans from the congregation were needed  to meet the extra cost.  The work was completed in early 1963.




It was not all hard work, however, as the men decided to entertain with an all-male pantomime.  The photograph above shows the handsome Revd Francis on the left, who entertained solo with a song and dance routine to “Strolling”.  Most of the adults in the photo are no longer with us, but John Staff, as Principal Girl, is wearing his wife’s wedding dress, and Les Smart is Robin Hood on the back row, are both still regular attenders at St Mark’s, have been churchwardens, carried out other duties, and John is a chorister.


John Staff (left) with his wife,

Kathy Staff, and his

eightieth birthday cake.







Revd Francis and Mrs Hilda Francis with Rose Queen Rhona Arnold 1961-62




Mr Francis’s wife, Hilda, formed the Young Wives Group to encourage women to participate in the church in anticipation of joining the MU after 3 years.  She encouraged them to attend the joint Mothers’ Union-Young Wives’ Corporate Communion at 10:30 am on Wednesday 10 October, 1962, and also introduced them via meetings to the Mothers’ Union Diocesan President, as well as booking speakers of interest to young women at their regular meetings.

The men of the church cooked and served a meal at a social event.  From the back row, they are the Revd Graham Francis and Bill Powell, who provided music for the dances on Saturday evenings. Next row from left: Brian Latham, Milner Grundy, Arthur Bainbridge, Arthur Bentley, Arthur Jarvis, Clem Higginbottom, John Staff and Mr Fred Ball (the father-in-law of the Revd Edgar Banks).  Front row: Leslie Taylor, Leslie Smart, George Lees, Arnold Buckley (School Headmaster) Gerald Fenton and Robert Frazer.

The Revd Francis left St Mark’s in 1964 and was inducted to St Peter’s and St Michael’s Churches in Chester.  Once again, the Lay Reader, Mr J Cook, JP, conducted services during the interregnum.

The Revd Michael F C Trotter MA (1965-1970) was inducted to the living of St Mark’s in January 1965 by the Bishop of Stockport.  He thanked Mr John Cook, the Rev B Hewitt and Canon Baird on behalf of the wardens for their help during the interregnum.


Mr Trotter immediately emphasised the absolute rule that every confirmed member of the church shall communicate at least three times in the year, of which Easter to be one.  In 1964, there had been 201 communicants and he hoped for more in 1965.


The Vicar of St Mark’s was a regular choice as Chaplain for the mayor-elect of Dukinfield.  The Revd Trotter served Mrs Andrew in 1965, and then her successor, Mr Denyer the following year.  The present and past Mayors set a fine example of regular attendance at church.  Mr and Mrs Denyer accompanied the Parish Pilgrimage to Coventry on 10 October 1965.  Councillor George Newton was installed on 21 May and Mayor’s Sunday was on 20 May, with the vicar again Chaplain, in 1968.  Alderman Ross Kirk (pictured right) was churched as Mayor at St Mark’s on 8 June 1969, and, at the time of writing, Ross still attends church each Sunday at the age of 88.


The Rev Trotter continued the Christian Stewardship in a renewal campaign, led by Gerald Fenton.  The church relied entirely on stewardship and, in 1967. a detailed examination of the organ by experts meant that £600 should be spent repairing and renovating what was a very fine organ.  The PCC opened an Organ Fund with Mr E C Carrington as treasurer.  By August 1968, the renovation and repair was urgent.  An Organ Recital took place on 21 November with soloist, Jean Depledge, LRAM, ARCM, to celebrate the organ restoration.  The fund stayed open in order to raise £720 which was now the cost, and this was achieved by May 1969.







     The Revd Trotter with choir members in 1966:

     Left to right: Annie Bowden, Tom Lawless,

     Alma Fenton





In July 1966, local firm and near neighbour of St Mark's church - William Kenyon and Sons Ltd of Railway Street, celebrated their centenary.  They had manufactured the ropes used to conquer Everest in 1953, which news broke on the day of the Queen’s Coronation.  The Queen visited Kenyon’s on 16 May 1968, and church representatives greeted her not only as Monarch, but as Supreme Governor of the Church of England.




Members of the Church Army visited St Mark's for a week. The Revd Trotter is at the front right of the picture, with the Mayor, Councillor Robert Denyer and Mrs Denyer on his left.


The Revd Trotter introduced new church services and most people seemed to like the new Communion, although it would take time to adjust from the service which had been used for over 400 years.








                    St Mark's Street in 1968









One hundred and twenty years after St Mark’s school had been opened, it needed replacing by modern standards as a school and a site had been identified between King Street and the cricket ground.  A New School Appeal was opened but, in December 1972, it was reported that the new school would be built by the local authority, and all contributions made were returned.


The Revd Trotter joined the Bow Team Ministry in the East of London on 1 January 1970.  He returned to St Mark’s for the Harvest Festival in October 1971, and appreciated the welcome he had received from the parishioners.


The Revd Gordon Elliott (1970-1973) was inducted to St Marks on 7 October 1970, the Bishop of Stockport officiating.  The wardens thanked Mr John Cook, Lay Reader, and the many friends from the Deanery, both Clergy and Laity, who maintained the services during the nine months of the interregnum, as did the new vicar, but also the Organist, the Choir and Servers, for all the effort they had put in.






The Revd Elliott with members of the choir and congregation on Dukinfield Town Hall Plateau during the service for the procession of witness on Whit Sunday.






The church magazine of June 1971 stated that the parish was now committed to the building of a Church Hall, which would need a lot of money.  Fund-raising efforts were planned.







In November 1971, Mr J Cook, who served the parish for many years as Reader, resigned.  He had taken services in every church in the Mottram Deanery and kept St Mark’s “alive” during several interregnums.  At the same time, Mr Tom Leech resigned as Verger, due to ill health.  Raymond Townley accepted the position of Verger early in 1972.  Mr Gerald Fenton resigned as Chairman of the Stewardship Committee in August 1972 and was succeeded by Mr Robert Frazer.


The Series Three Communion Service was published at the end of 1971, which was structured similarly to the Series Two, but differed greatly in the language, of which the Revd Elliott said “in our public worship we should pay homage to the Almightiness of God, and not address him in ‘chummy’ language.”


In January 1973, there was a misunderstanding about the continuation of the MU, when meetings took the form of guided prayer in the church in order to organise a band of mothers who will unite in prayer and seek by their own example to lead their families in purity and holiness of life.


Once again, in February, 1973, there were problems: the roof slating required urgent attention and the roof timbers could be rotten.  Quite a large area of dry rot was found under the floorboards at the back of the church.


Mr Elliott left St Mark’s and from 1 June 1973 the church was once again without a vicar.  At the same time, the Bishop of Chester was appointed Bishop of London, and so the Suffragen Bishop of Stockport dealt with the interregnum.  The Churchwardens had an interview with the Bishop to discuss the vacancy in the Living in great detail.



In August 1973, Mr F W Ball (the Father-in-Law of the Revd Edgar Banks) died after twenty years’ service to the parish of St Mark.  He was still serving on the PCC at his death, took a full part in the activities of the various societies of the church, represented St Mark’s on the old Ruri-Decanal Conference and Deanery Synod, and served as Deanery representative on the Diocesan Conference and Synod.  Mr Ball is pictured left acting in a play for St Mark's Dramatic Society.




In December 1973, a new Bishop of Chester was appointed, The Rt Revd H V Whitsey, who was enthroned in Chester Cathedral on 2 February 1974.  On 12 December 1973, a retirement presentation was made to Mr John Cook, who had also been a teacher at St Mark’s day school.


John W Staff had taken over Christian Stewardship by March 1974, and had visited many homes for the purpose of renewing pledges and also to seek new members.


In August 1974, the Bishop of Chester offered the living of St Mark and St Luke to the Revd Edward Walter Dennis Thomas (1974-2004) who accepted.  He was inducted at St Mark’s by the Bishop of Stockport on 30 October.

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