A brief history of St.Aidan's Church
The Building - Part 1
The expansion of the urban areas of English towns and cities in the late 19th and early 20th century resulted in the erection of a large number of "temporary" buildings by churches to meet the needs of new parishoners. These were often pre-fabricated and shipped as kits to the nearest railway station to be erected on prepared foundations. Typically they were wooden frame buildings with external corrugated iron walls and internal wooden panelling and are known affectionately as "tin tabernacles". Few survive. The web site www.tintabernacles.com includes many photographs of those that do.
Penn Fields parish had already purchased "One Iron Mission Room, size 26' x 18' 6" x 9' to eaves" from Messrs. Humphreys Ltd., of Knightsbridge, Hyde Park, London SW in June 1902. This was probably installed in New Street, it was sold in 1929 and the proceeds used towards the building of what became St.Joseph's Church. The building survived into the 1950's as a cobbler's shop. The original cost was £88/0/0
Messrs. Humphreys supplied many prefabricated buildings in the early 20th century including a hut used by Shackleton in the Antarctic in 1908.
In May 1909 a circular letter from St.Philip's vicarage included the following
In a few weeks we shall D.V. be keeping the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Church and Parish of St.Philip's, Penn-fields, and it is earnestly desired that this occasion may be marked by the commencement of a New Mission in Mount Road .... The actual Anniversary is July 8th, 1909, but promises and gifts are desired beforehand so that we may arrange to really begin building operations on that day.
The race was on to complete the building in time for St.Philip's 50th anniversary.