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On This Day



In On This Day

By Nicola Gauld

On This Day, 24 July 1917

On 24, Jul 2017 | In On This Day | By Nicola Gauld

Birmingham Daily Post

Tuesday 24 July 1917



Since the war broke out church-building has been almost stationary, and the new church of St. Germain, Edgbaston, is probably the only one in the country begun, and completed during the progress of the war. The erection of a church is always a perplexing problem, and those responsible for the latest addition to Edgbaston places of worship have unusual resources in overcoming more than the ordinary difficulties incidental to such efforts. While in no way intended as a war memorial, there can be doubt that the church will be best remembered as having been built during the Great War. It is, too, a noteworthy coincidence that it is named after a famous French soldier-bishop—a designation which will always be a definite reminder of our association with the gallant French nation in the present world-struggle. The site for the church (at the junction of Portland Road and City Road), which covers an acre and a half, was given by the Gillott Trustees a long time ago, on condition that “a church dedicated by June, 1917.” A commencement was made by cutting the first turf in March, 1915; the foundation-stone was laid with Masonic honours by Mr. George Beech in of the same year, and the consecration will take place in September next.

Handing over the keys of a new church is generally regarded as an unimportant detail, and it was a happy thought to take advantage of Canon Willink’s visit on Sunday afternoon to have little formal ceremony. After a stirring appeal by the Rector of Birmingham in the old church on behalf of the Equipment Fund, the large congregation walked to the new church where, on behalf of the builders (Messrs. Collina and Godfrey, Tewkesbury) Mr. Frankus presented the keys to Dr. Rosslyn Bruce, the energetic chairman of the Building Committee, who handed them to Mr. Ernest Hill, the senior warden. As indicating the pleasant association of the builders, the architect, and the vicar of St. Augustine’s during the progress of the work, Mr. Frankus asked Dr. Bruce’s acceptance of a handsomely-engraved and inscribed gold key. The new church, in which all the seats will be free, was designed by Mr. Edwin F. Reynolds, and accommodation will be provided for about 670 worshippers. The building has cost about £8,400, all which has been subscribed. This, however, is exclusive of a further large sum (about £1,000) required towards the equipment—namely, altar, pulpit, chairs, organ, choir seats, etc. The curate-in-charge will be the Rev. R. M. Gibson, who is officiating as chaplain “somewhere in France,” and in his absence appreciated service is being rendered by the Rev. Albany Clarke.