Arthur Gill (b.1887) Habit, Culture and Belief

“I had some very happy times in that office, (along with some hectic ones, such as when the preacher couldn’t turn up for his appointments.)”

man praying

Even in matters religious, Arthur had a sense of humour; like in the above Arthur did not see the bad, just the humour. Arthur was a very religious man, being a member of Woodhouse Carr Methodist church. Throughout this time Arthur claimed to have seen many changes within the church, one of these changes was the closure of the church in May 1960.

Arthur’s recollection of the Carr church closure was described as an ‘end of an epoch.’ As this had been his family church. Carr Methodist church joined with Clowes Methodist church and the two congregations became one. Although the one thing out of the church closure to give Arthur pleasure was surprisingly that it had later been turned into a textile company, and that it was being kept in good condition.

wedding hands

This church was particularly important to Arthur as it was the church that himself and Ellen had gotten married in, prompting memories which were close to his heart.

Within his time at Carr Methodist church Arthur held many posts, and at the age of 22 Arthur’s first post was secretary of men’s first class. In 1929 Arthur became a Sunday school superintendent; he remained in this position for 10 years and lasted until the 2nd world war began in 1939.

“Choir practise was looked forward to each Thursday evening, and, apart from the singing, it was a happy get together among friends.” (P148)

chapel choir

Arthur recalls the joys of practising the Sunday school hymns, and although it sounded like hard work he always remained positive. On one occasion a member of the church gave Arthur a hymn book as a present, which he delighted over. His work in the church speaks volumes about this humble man; he had strong beliefs and faith, which guided him through every era of his life.

Arthur was once asked to become a local preacher, illustrating to the reader the commitment he must have had for his church, although he refused the role owing to his beliefs about Holy Communion. These beliefs he did not divulge however, a man of conviction Arthur could not deny what he believed despite his want to preach.

It is blatantly obvious that Arthur was incredibly committed to his church, and raised his children with those beliefs too. Arthur, an active member continued working with the church and in 1945 Arthur became a society stewardess, this role did not require him changing his beliefs, and after a brief chat with the minister, although they had opposing beliefs, Arthur was offered the role.

church choir

Each Christmas the Woodhouse Carr church choir would do their Christmas carolling, this to the reader seemed like a particularly happy time in Arthur’s life.   As he recalls the Christmas Eve celebration with nostalgic fondness, Arthur recalls it also being a birthday celebration for one of the other choir members. His telling of this memory is a very warm one, summing up his character completely.

Although in Arthur’s work life he was very passionate about show writing cards and tickets, his memories of church seem much closer to his heart, and although one would agree he did seem at his happiest while working in Mitchell & Co, his contentment with the church seems to display an entirely different side to Arthur; the glue that holds his family and their community together.

“These good times can’t, in the nature of things, go on forever. Our choirmaster is retired, and now living at Scarborough, some of our members have departed this life, and others are getting on in years, and “Woodhouse Carr Methodist Church” no longer exists under that name, and our carols are no longer sung by the “Carr” choir – But our memories live on!”

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