Craster Methodist Chapel
Exit Oil Lamps
The decision to instal electric light in the chapel to replace the oil lamps was taken in October 1938, the cost of the installation, £7 13s. 0d. James Stephenson, treasurer for the past 20 years, was to have switched on the lights at a little ceremony arranged for January 4, 1939, but died before the appointed date, and son Matthew inherited the treasurership. The three displaced oil lamps went to Boulmer Methodist Church.
Five months before the outbreak of World War II, an Easter sale of work realised £55.
Not a few people living in Craster today will remember having temporarily to vacate their homes on the sea front before the blowing up of two mines washed ashore in 1941. Repair of chapel windows damaged, as were other windows, by the blast cost £17.
Matthew Stephenson resigned the treasurership in 1944, and secretary Seager took over, with George Scott, whose father died in 1927, joint secretary and treasurer for the society accounts.
The third George Scott to become a chapel trustee in unbroken family line was appointed in 1949, together with John Smailes Grey, Edward Archbold Grey, Edwin George Gregory, and John William Smailes.
A safe presented by Mr. and Mrs. J. S. (Jack) Grey for the custody of chapel documents, including the wedding register - security of the register a requirement of the Marriage Act - enabled the trustees in January, 1952, to decide to take advantage of the Act, meaning that with provision now of a safe in which to keep the register, the presence of a registrar at future chapel weddings was no longer necessary.
The first wedding at Craster Methodist Church without a registrar witness was that of James A. A. M. Thompson, of Alnwick, and Miss Daphne Stewart, of Craster, on August 8, 1953, the Rev, J. Brazier Green, Circuit minister, officiating.
Three more life-long chapel links were severed by the deaths in 1954 of trustees the brothers Tom and Jack Grey, and George Scott Snr. They, too, served their church loyally, selflessly, and for many a year - this their memorial.
A further building addition - construction of a kitchenette with toilet - was completed in time for the annual soiree held in November, 1954.
Although without a choir at present, at any rate for the time being, the chapel possessed a useful one in the 1950s, Mrs. R. Longstaff the leader, and Mrs. A. Durham, since deceased, her deputy. The choir itself in good voice, but trouble at the time with an ageing organ, and more trouble with an electrically blown reconditioned organ which replaced it. A new electronic organ bought in 1958 has latterly given way to a harmonium.
Office bearers appointed in 1963 included E. A. Grey, W. Lumsden, and G. Hall, chapel stewards , M. Stephenson and R. Longstaff, door stewards. Organists: Mrs. Morris (as Miss Bessie Smailes, first appointed an assistant organist in 1936), Miss
Isabella Scott. Assistant organists: Mrs. J. Grey, Mrs. A. Durham, Mrs. R. Longstaff, Miss B. Grey.
A new oil-fired boiler replaced the solid fuel heating system in 1966; and re-slating and ridging of the chapel roof were carried out in 1970.
In October, 1971, veteran "Bill" Seager retired from the joint post of trust secretary and treasurer - secretary since 1932; treasurer since 1944 - a combined record of 39 years service, one of the longest in chapel annals. Edward Grey succeeded him as secretary, and James Shaw as treasurer. Mrs. Shaw - Joyce - is the Circuit secretary.
The chapel building, first insured for £500, was last insured for £20,000 in 1974.
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