Fore Street Methodist Church has marked the 100th anniversary of the completion of its Sunday School building with a cream tea and a service of thanksgiving, with many former scholars and members joining in the celebrations.

Fore Street Methodist Church centenary
The unveiling of a commemorative plaque to mark the centenary, by Beryl Corry, watched by St Ives mayor Johnnie Wells

When the chapel was built in 1831, all activities connected with the Sunday School took place there, with classes meeting all over the building, both upstairs and down, and in the vestries under the organ.

As church member William Thomas says: “This was a most inconvenient arrangement, and the cramped position of the chapel made it impossible to build any classrooms on to the existing structure. 

“In January 1904, Rev John Sadler started a building fund, with the object of erecting a Sunday School in the near vicinity, and on 8th June, a block of old buildings, cellars, and other premises situated at the northern corner of Rose Lane and Bunker’s Hill was purchased from Mr Joshua Daniel Senior for £250.

“Unfortunately, this period coincided with a number of very bad fishing seasons; and this, coupled with a heavy debt of £620 still outstanding on the chapel, caused further progress with the scheme to be suspended for some time.”

Finally, on 26th August 1922, foundation stones and memorial tablets were laid on the site of the new school, and the following year, the building was declared open.

Fore Street Methodist Church foundation stones
The laying of the foundation stones in 1922

One hundred years later, in the summer of 2023, a commemorative plaque has been unveiled by the church’s oldest member, Beryl Corry, who was joined for the occasion by St Ives mayor Johnnie Wells. Just a few weeks earlier, Mrs Corry had celebrated a special occasion of her own — her 102nd birthday.

“The plaque recognises God’s faithfulness over the years in enabling the Sunday School building to be a place of learning, fellowship and fun for all ages,” said William.

“So many have been blessed by the use of this facility: mother and toddler group; Good News club; teenagers, men and ladies’ fellowships; Christian Endeavour; primary and senior Sunday school; prayer meetings; choir practices; and drama and youth club.

“And during this past year it has been used regularly as a warm and welcoming place for the elderly and isolated through its CAMEO gatherings — the name stands for ‘Come and Meet Each Other’ — as well as its weekly services.”

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