A History of the Sheffield Carterknowle Seventh-day Adventist Church
As the result of interest generated by colporteurs selling Present Truth magazines in the Nether-Edge and Heeley districts of Sheffield, it was decided to hold a series of tent meetings led by Pastors Andross and Daniells.
These tent meetings were held on a piece of open ground at the corner of Marden Grove and Sandford Grove Road in Nether-Edge.
The first series of meetings, held in the spring, resulted in the eventual baptism of several converts. Included in their number were Mrs Padmore, who was to become the mother-in-law to Leslie Emmerson, Mrs Horsepool, Mrs Swift and Mrs Stacy.
The autumn series of meetings, this time led by Pastor Gillatt, resulted in more converts, including Mrs Nicholson, Mr Horsepool and Mr Tom Baker. These members were formed into a company and held their meetings in the hayloft over the top of some stables situated on the eastern side of Bramall Lane between the corner of Alderson Road and Queens Road, currently just below J E James Cycle Shop.
This room was warmed by the air coming through the gaps in the floorboards from the horses underneath. The gaps in the floorboards were so wide that the horses could be watched through them, and any coin dropped never reached the collection plate.
Most of the services were accompanied by the sound of horses' hooves on the cobbled floor; the steady munch of hay being eaten, and the aroma of fresh horse droppings.
The building was approached through a low arch, across a cobbled yard and then up a flight of wooden stairs attached to the outer wall of the stable. It was damaged by bombing during the air raids in 1940 and later repaired but was finally demolished in 1980.
During the tenancy of this room from 1905 to 1909 Pastor Gillatt was the resident minister, and Mr Horsepool was the Elder, whilst Percy Binks and Ernest Booth were added to the membership.
During the early part of 1909 Pastor Schaffer conducted a wedding ceremony between Mr Horsepool junior and his wife at a local Methodist church. Also during this period the members; under the guidance of Pastor Schaffer, and Eldership of Mr Anderson met in a small basement storeroom beneath the Cemetery Road Vestry Hall. It was both warmer, and drier, being close to the boiler room that heated the main assembly rooms above.
This room too was approached by going through a yard at the rear of the building but now down some stone steps. It also had the advantage of being closer to the city centre and to the tram route, which passed within 100 yards of the hall, but as the membership gradually increased it became too small and larger premises were sought.
In 1914 the membership had climbed to about 30 and reached a point where it could be formally be organised into a church. This took place in Cliff Hall, which despite its imposing title was once again over the top of some ex-stables. It was however larger, drier, and due to its better construction, and previous usage, quieter.
All the building had been used by an organ maker who had, in order to ply his trade in comfort, installed modern innovations like electricity. An added advantage was our own entrance. To gain access to this upper room, one had to enter the building via stone steps and a door directly from the pavement on the south side of Derbyshire Lane, then climb two flights of stone steps, before reaching the hall.
During our tenancy of this building, many notable names were added to the church role.
Names such as Leslie Emmerson who was later to become editor of our British publishing house, the Stanborough Press; Mr and Mrs Gilman, Mr Larson, Mr Maurice Mustow (father of Pastor Derek Mustow) and Mr Casson who transferred from the Rotherham Church.
The membership steadily rose from the thirty or so to about sixty, and it soon became apparent that the floor was not strong enough to support this number of people and once again the church was on the move.
Historical events during this time included: -
1924 Mr & Mrs A Nicholson married. Mr & Mrs C. Larson married.
1925 Mrs R Mustow [nee Roberts] and her mother were baptized.
1926 John Larson was born (the first child born into the Sheffield church). He now worships with our Manor group when he & his wife are not camping throughout the country giving kite flying demonstrations.
1927 Mr & Mrs Maurice Mustow married.
1930 – 1932
As a result of the growing numbers, the Church again moved and rented space at Woodseats Baptist Church.
Here the members occupied the schoolrooms during the Sabbath hours, for midweek prayer meetings and also for social events such as the Christmas party, and birthday celebrations.
We were also allowed use of the main church hall for divine service and baptisms, but our renting arrangement meant that all the accessories used for our own services had to be stored in a locked trunk whilst we were not on the premises. It also meant that the chairs and other furniture that we had accumulated over the years, had to be stored in the big lock-up garage owned by Mr J W Gilman.
1932 – 1935
Following our time at Woodseats Baptist Church, we again moved to a sole occupancy building over the Priory Press, at the junction of Queens Rd and London Rd.
The drawback here was that the only entrance was through the same doors from the street as the ones used by the Priory Press who not only owned the premises, but operated their business on the ground floor.
This meant that we could only use the upper room during the times that the printing presses were actually working i.e. weekdays 9am till 5pm and Saturday mornings.
Here the Saturday morning diversion was the continual clanking of the presses and the screech and rattle of the electric tramcars as they passed in front of the building. This finally drove us to move once again to yet another upper room.
1935 – 1940
Our next move was to The Advent Hall, Devonshire Street, at the corner of Broomhall Street.
This room was situated partly over a doctor's surgery and partly over a cafe. It was a very great improvement over anything that we had rented previously. It was close to the city centre, within 100 yards of a tram stop, and on a quieter road. We had our own entrance and toilets.
The floor was divided into a large room for use as the main worship area and a small room was used as a vestry.
The small room was used for the junior Sabbath School and also as the place where the junior Missionary Volunteers conducted their activities. It was in this room also that several eight to ten year old children gained their ‘friend' badges under the guidance of Mr C Roe as Pathfinder leader.
During the year 1937 Mr & Mrs Willey moved to Sheffield.
Mr Willey eventually became Church treasurer and a strong and valued member of the Sheffield Church.
Adolf Hitler and his friends were instrumental in orchestrating our next move. During the autumn of 1940 a German bomber dropped a bomb which damaged the roof and furnishings, the room became unusable and so the church members moved about 800 yards to yet another ‘Upper Room'.
1940 – 1942
Between 1940 and 1942, worship services were held in an ‘Upper Room’ on the corner of Rockingham Street and Button Lane. This property has since been redeveloped and is now called Charter Row.
The access to this property was via a very narrow passage wedged between the corner shop and a small factory unit. At the end of this passage was a yard on all four sides of which were situated ‘Little Mesters’ workshops. In these small workshops cutlery and in some cases parts of guns were made. In the corner of the yard was a narrow flight of rickety wooden stairs and it was up these stairs that the members climbed in order to worship.
The Sabbath morning and afternoon services were accompanied by the sounds of hammering, drilling, grinding etc. as the workers busily strove to ‘work for victory'. These sounds were the least of our worries as the smell and noise was accompanied by both dust and smoke from the furnaces.
Our next move was about two miles south to Heeley.
1942 – 1955
Between 1942 and 1955, Services were held in the ex-Parcel Sorting Office for Heeley Post Office.
One half of this building was in use as a Post Office. The section that we had was previously used by the Post Office for the local sorting of letters and parcels delivered from the adjacent railway station. We were able to use this half because the Post Office had built a larger facility about a mile away.
The half that we occupied is, at the time of writing, used by a second hand car parts dealer and car breaker. The room was quite large and was already divided in such a way that we had an entrance lobby, a fairly large worship area and a smaller room for use as a vestry.
The ex-Parcel Sorting Office was adjacent to the main London Scotland Railway line, and it must be remembered that in those days the steam trains were still hissing and clanking their noisy way up Heeley Bank, stopping at Heeley station, and starting again.
It must also be remembered that the electric tramcars ran past the front of the building, and therefore the services were not always as peaceful as the speakers would have liked.
The compulsory pauses in the sermons (whilst a train or tram passed) did however give the speaker time to re-assess his sermon and at the same time take a deep breath before delivering the next section of the message.
During 1950 the church under the leadership of Mr Casson seriously looked into the possibility of owning its own church building.
A working committee was elected and a fund was started.
On 2-6 August in the year 1951, Sheffield played host to the Adventist churches of the whole of the north of England for the conference session, which took place in the Memorial Hall, part of the City Hall complex.
In 1952 Sis Witt gave a donation of £998.13s.11d to the church, a vast sum at the time. This was the catalyst that triggered the search for a building site, and under the leadership of Mr H. Taylor the church building sub-committee eventually found a three-cornered site at the corner of Carterknowle Road and Montrose Road. During this year Pastor Ken Elias and his assistant R A Smart, together with the building sub-committee, had plans drawn up for the present building.
By the end of 1953 the plans had been passed and the estimated costs, which had been originally set at £11,000 by the builder had been reduced to an agreed £8,000, and the license to build had been granted.
Historically the chosen site had been a dumping ground for all the rubbish of the district. It had not been built on before because the rubbish in-fill was several feet deep and was not stable.
In order to get the planning permission, it had to be agreed to build the walls underground, and also the foundations much stronger than would normally be the case for a building of this height and size.
The new building was officially opened on Jan 1st. 1955 by Pastor Bayliss, the then President of the North of England Conference.
On that day too, he also ordained Arnold Nicholson and Maurice Mustow as joint Elders of the church, and Sidney Duroe as Deacon.
The first Communion Service in the new church was held on Jan 29th 1955 whilst the first Baptism in the new church using the new baptistery was held on May 21st 1955. Twenty-two persons joined the church as the result of a campaign started during the previous autumn by Pastor Ken Elias. Nineteen of these were joined following baptism by immersion and three by vote.
During this period, the Windrush generation form the Caribbean began to arrive, swelling the numbers of the Church and adding Caribbean ‘spice' to the Worship Services and the overall life of the Church.
During this period families and individuals who are themselves still involved in the Local Church and/or their children were added to the membership.
Families such as Mr & Mrs Nevelle T Bussue, Mr & Mrs G. Blackburn, Sis Thomas, Mr & Mrs A Carthy, Sis LM. Gayle, Mr A.S. Millien, Mr Z. Campbell, and many, many more willing members supported and led the work of the Church.
The church was registered for the solemnising of marriages. One of the requirements for having our own register is that we have a safe.
The original form of heating was by gas fires arranged at intervals around the base of the walls. This, at the time, was the cheapest form of heating. Unfortunately one of the by-products of burning a gas is water vapour; this condensed on, and ran down, the walls in such quantities that it formed puddles on the floor.
It was decided that electric heating would be drier and so infrared heaters were installed at ceiling height above the places where the original gas heaters had been sited.
At this time the electricity supply was changed to a two-tariff system, which enabled the church to be heated during the night, and at a cheaper rate than the daytime tariff allowed.
Infrared heaters only warm the surface on which the infrared rays fall, so in the case of church members sitting in the chairs, this means their heads. As their feet were resting on plastic tiles laid directly on concrete, their feet were left feeling cold.
The next improvement was to put in an oak flooring on top of the original plastic tiles. This, together with some other renovations and window repairs, was carried out by the church members, under the leadership of Pastor Phillip Anderson.
On Feb. 15th 1969, The Sabbath School Department of Carterknowle together with some of the members who live at the Burngreave side of the city started a branch Sabbath School in the Burngreave Vestry Hall.
By March 1971 this venture was so successful that the company thus formed was organised into a Church which eventually became known as the Burngreave Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Much hard work and diligent prayer resulted in them finding and ultimately scheduling the purchase on Feb 20th 1976, of an unused Methodist church standing high on the shoulder of a hill overlooking the city centre.
When it was purchased, the building was in a very bad state of repair, but all the able bodied members worked so hard that by May 1st the first services were able to be held in the school room/youth hall of the new church.
In 1988 Carterknowle church was once again in need of a face-lift so the members under the leadership of Pastor A Springer did extensive repairs and repainting. On October 1st the church was re-dedicated by Pastor Ron Surridge, the then conference president, who to commemorate the event unveiled a stone in the wall of the entrance lobby.
This event took place almost exactly 83 years after the first company of Adventists was formed in Sheffield.
Here we go again.
A small group from Carterknowle Church began meeting in the St Swithun's Anglican Church in the centre of the Manor Estate in order to reach out to the people within that area as the Manor Newstart Group.
Last Updated April 2005
Postscript. We regret that John Larson, who complied most of this history, passed away in 2011.