THE SALEM CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
THE CROFT, KNOTTINGLEY
Now the United Reformed Church
DOROTHY POSNETT (nee Robinson)
is about 80 years since I was brought by my parents to this Church and
to which I am proud to be a Member. My mother and family had been
members long before that time.
earliest memory is of starting Sunday School along with my younger
brother Jack. My older sister Mary was already a member of a very large
Sunday School. When mum asked us about it later, Jack said, "I
have been sitting next to a man with ‘thick feathers" (the
gentleman obviously had a lot of whiskers).
This gentleman was old Mr. Heald. At one time we had no resident Minister so all baptisms were put
on hold until Reverend Williams arrived. (He was Moira Boulby, our
present Church Secretary’s, grandfather) Baptism’s were then
restarted. I can clearly remember Mary, Jack, Peter and myself being
baptised by Rev. Williams. I recall standing at the front of the alter
table. I would have been about 8, Mary 13, Jack about 7 and Peter 3.
at Church all those years ago always sat in the same pew, as most people
do even today. Underneath the pews were drawers in which our hymn books
and bibles were kept. Many people bought their own. I still have mine
and Jack’s from all those years ago.
were many social activities within the Church as Churches were the main
focus of life at that time. We had Sunday School Anniversaries every
year when we learnt new hymns and visited and shared anniversaries with
the rest of the churches in the town. All the children would walk to
other churches in a crocodile, dressed up in our Sunday best clothes.
Most of the girls wore hats.
had a Sunday School treat every year. Very often we took a barge down to
Whitley Bridge Lock. On the way, every time we went under a bridge we
gave an almighty cheer and because there were so many of us, it must
have almost shaken the bridge. On arrival in the field we played games
and had races and various other things. The highlight of the day was of
course tea-time. We were each given a bag of buns and we had pop. The
ladies made tea in a large urn. A good time was certainly had by
everybody. I remember on one occasion a boy falling into the water and
he had to be fished out.
we were in our teens we had a Girls Together evening every week. We
called ourselves ‘Busy Bees’ and made ourselves badges with B-B on
them. We sometimes had fish and chip suppers which were very enjoyable
and purchased from Wiltshire’s Fish Shop in Aire Street and probably
cost about 3d. We made little novelties for our Bazaars which were held
in the Town Hall and were grand occasions. They were held on two
consecutive days with an Evening Concert.
highlight of our young lives were the Social Evenings. On looking back I
remember the games we played. We had dancing as we got older and it was
all great fun. Fancy today’s young people being content to play
spinning the plate and Postman’s Knock. I think they would laugh at us
which is a pity because it was such fun.
these things took place in our Old Sunday School (demolished many years
ago). Lifelong friendships were formed then, and Bessie Tranmer (nee
Dixon) and Marjorie France are dear friends to this day. It had lots of
rooms which we were able to hire out for various other things. I know
that one room was turned into a billiards room. Ladies were not
encouraged in this room. One room was hired out to a Friendly Society.
in the middle of all these memories I recall as children going round the
town on a dray on which a piano had somehow been hauled and we sang
hymns. I also recall that when ever there was a funeral at the Church,
black pulpit falls were used. Three weeks after a funeral, a
Commemorative or Mourning Service was held.
Edith Arnold, who was a lovely lady, was our Organist. She played with
great gusto and enthusiasm and I recall her beautiful new outfit which
she had every Whitsuntide. She always wore a hat, as did most ladies in
the church. The organ had to be pumped manually and I recall on several
occasions the boys doing the pumping, let the wind out so there was no
of the families closely involved were the Healds, Wakes, Beevers,
Northrops, Sweetings, Woods, Collins, Rhodes, Durhams, Thompsons,
France, Dixons, Gardiners, Cowards, Lloyds, Billbroughs, Miss Flemming,
Pickards, Robinsons and Cawthornes to name but a few.
had lots of ways of making money. For our Church Sales or Bazaars, the
men of the Church (of which there were many in those days) had a
hardware stall. They got their goods from a shop in the town on a sale
or return basis. They did quite well. The ladies did lots of sewing,
crocheting, lace and embroidery.
remember on one occasion, a lady who was a bit on the stout side, wore a
black dress with a voluminous skirt in which were a hundred pockets. In
each pocket was a small item for sale for a copper or two. She was very
occasions we had little booklets printed. I still have three of them.
One was a little Cook Book, another Nursing do’s and dont’s and the
third was a home remedies book. On the back of each book was a little
buy our little booklet,
Your pocket it will fit,
Twill only cost a trifle,
But will help us on a bit’
Congregational Church wartime effort – To Keep the Church Flag Flying.
had a thriving tennis club for many years. We also had members from
outside the Church Family. My sister Mary (Cowling) and her tennis
partner John Dixon, were very good and often won prizes locally. I wasn’t
that energetic and preferred the ball to land at my feet rather than to
have to run after it.
were for me and our Church, extremely happy days. Over my lifetime I
have seen many changes but I am proud to be part of the Bicentenary
Celebrations. The activities within our Church are now of course very
different – we live in a very different time, but we have moved on and
our Church still offers a very varied and full life to anybody who cares
to join us.
Dorothy Posnett (nee Robinson)