Clements Hall
Queen Victoria St  with tram

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe, South Bank and Bishophill areas of York

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe and South Bank areas of York

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How did the churches influence attitudes to the War in our area?

Punch cartoon 1916The late 19th and early 20th century was a time of rapid expansion in South Bank, as railway and factory workers flooded in. Churches – Anglican, Catholic and Non-Conformist – were also expanding, with the building of St Clement’s Church on Scarcroft Road (1872), Southlands Methodist Chapel on Bishopthorpe Road (1886) and a Catholic school-chapel on Blossom Street (1889). By 1910 there was also a weekly Quaker Meeting in South Bank.

The churches were knitting themselves firmly into the fabric of the community by running Sunday Schools, Temperance Leagues, Penny Banks, libraries, sports’ teams, Adult Schools and many other activities. In several cases these were led by forceful individuals, who were able to influence attitudes.

The outbreak of war in 1914 changed everything. How did local churches react to the challenge? And how did their activities change as the war progressed? How did leaders speak to their congregations about their responsibilities at these times?

We will research this topic by looking at newspapers, letters and church magazines of the time, and materials held in the archives of York Explore, the Borthwick Institute, the Minster Library and the Brotherton Library. Research in tribunal records may cast light on local people who out of religious conviction may have resisted conscription and refused to kill.

For example Meredith Andrea has been exploring how Southlands Methodist Chapel played a key role in persuading young boys to volunteer. Follow this link for her story.

If you are interested in researching any aspect of this theme, or have any materials relating to it that you would be happy to share, please email us on or leave a telephone message on 01904 466086.