A number of people have been interviewed for this project. The memories that follow are just a snapshot of their recollections of the building projects associated with the church.

Brian and Sheila Keel

Brian Keel was an elder of Evangel Church at the time of the purchase of the building. The property was bought in the late 1970s for £40,000. It was agreed to make an immediate payment of £6,000 followed by six annual payments of £6,000. Initially the boilers needed replacement. 

Around 1981 Evangel and the Lincoln Free Church pioneered by Stuart and Irene Bell (from the Humber to the Wash) were in talks that cumulated around 1983 in the two groups merging to form New Life Church. Evangel left the Assemblies of God Fellowship. About 1988 the problems with the building were discovered. By this time the church had a congregation of around a thousand. As the platform was then smaller than now the seating capacity was greater but nonetheless both downstairs and the balcony were fully occupied. The balcony was favoured by young people and it was their dancing in the worship that exposed the structural fault. The impact of the dancing was found to be driving the central pillars supporting the section of the balcony facing the platform into the foundation which was sandy. The pillars were being pushed outward imperilling the stability of the balcony. 

The building was evacuated and for about three years the congregation met in alternative buildings. These were the cathedral on Sunday afternoons, the Lawn and finally the Drill Hall. The initial estimate for the work was £400k. A second estimate of £190k was later accepted from Frank Erickson. New Life was guided to retain the Newland site by Dale Gentry, an American with a prophetic ministry. He said they should keep the city central site as it would be close to the university. At that time there was no university but shortly afterwards its development was announced and the choice of the site followed. 

The church was of a classical nonconformist church pattern. The seating focused on the platform behind which the pipe organ was situated. Lincoln Council raised a number of objections to the work of restoration as the site is a Grade II* building. The restoration work was accessed by the right hand wall as viewed from the platform. The organ was to be removed. The church was advised that the legislation had an exemption for churches to meet their style of worship. So the work went ahead in 1990 to 1991 and was carried out by Pelham Construction. The work was paid for by the church members and congregation. In addition to the work on the building there was the cost of the hire of the venues used during the years without the use of the building 

The following is in the leading article in the Lincolnshire Echo for 1994 attributed to “Roger Keel”

“We started the appeal in 1992and had four special collections during the year. They raised more than £120,000. And in 1993 another £90,000 was collected. 

“There were about 500 people at the church for the last collection which raised £10,00. That was one of the smallest. 

“The refurbishment work is almost complete. Two buildings have had a lot of work done to them and one has a new steel roof. 

“We have been totally amazed at the response. To raise so much money from a small number of collections in a time of recession is marvellous.” (1)

Courtyard Roof: Brian and Sheila recall that the purpose of the Courtyard roof project was to use the dead space between the church and the Brayford building. It also became a key factor in the fulfilment of a prophecy by Dale Gentry that the church would be open seven days a week. It has gone on to function as the entrance to the church, an additional area for socialising and events and it houses the café. 

The problems revolved around the listed status of the building. Compliance to these requirements were overcome by placing fixtures into the wall’s mortar rather than the brickwork and having a light air filled roof that was transparent. The design was shortlisted for an architectural award. 

The cost of the work was met by a loan that was paid off by the membership of the church. 

(1) Lincolnshire Echo March 23rd 1994

Ivy Robinson

Courtyard Roof: Ivy has been a member of the church for about twenty five years. She thought the work was completed before 2006 and paid for by a loan which the church members paid off. The principal feature of the work was the roof that allowed light penetration. The usable area was increased. She remembered that there had been an area where beverages could be drunk. 

The Loggia railings project: Ivy understood the purpose was to prevent rough sleepers using the space and knew it had recently been paid out of the Rise and Build fund.

Jean Curzon

Jean became a member of Evangel Church in 1979 and a member of New Life church on its formation. 

She knew the cause of the problems with the building related to the safety of the central columns that supported the balcony. She recalled them meeting in the Cathedral, the Lawn, Sincil Bank and the Drill Hall. She did not know who carried out the renovations or its cost.

She estimated the work was completed about thirty years ago. She also was aware that the members paid for the work. 

Courtyard Roof: She considered the purpose of the courtyard roof project was to facilitate a place to socialise. She knew the members paid for the work.


Rod and Carol Knapman

Rod and Carole have an Anglican background. They attended the Dales Conference in the early eighties. They were so impressed by the worship that they were baptized there and on return to the Lincoln area they joined New Life church. Rod remembers that there was a problem with the columns that rendered the balcony unsafe. The initial cost estimated for the renovation was considered so great that it was thought that the building should be abandoned. His memory of the interior of the church was that the main difference was the massive organ below the round window and the raised pulpit above the downstairs congregation. His initial estimate of the date of the problems was 1985/1986 but was uncertain about this. The congregation met in a number of venues before the Drill Hall which became the longest they used. Whilst there he remembers the visit by Dale Gentry who prophesied they should return to the church site because of its city central position. The money was raised by the congregation by an appeal. Gifts were made and some gave up or delayed holiday plans to enable them to give. 

Courtyard roof: The purpose of roofing the courtyard was to make use of what was wasted space and somewhat unsightly. It would realize its potential to have a café and an area for socializing. The cost was met by a loan which was paid off from the Rise and Build fund. 

Loggia railings: Rod remembered that the Loggia railings project was undertaken to prevent homeless people sleeping in this space. He recalled that an earlier design had been scrapped because of its cost. The work was paid for out of the Rise and Build fund. 


Peter and Di Cook

Peter and Di joined Evangel Church forty five years ago and became members of Alive Church. They identified the building problems and the instability of the pillars that supported the balcony caused by around a hundred people dancing in worship. There was a need to reinforce the balcony floor. They didn’t know the cost of the remedial work but knew it was done by Pelham Construction owned by Mr Dawson, a Plymouth Brethren, who also owned the property at the rear of the church from which access was gained to carry out the work. The work included the underpinning of the pillars, the removal of the pews, the wooden floor and the organ. Peter and Di were unsure of the date the work was done. Whilst the work was carried out the congregation met in various venues including the Drill Hall, the Cathedral and the Lawn. At that time congregations were established that met in various geographical areas of the city. The work was paid for by the church members. 

Courtyard roof: The reason for the Courtyard Roof project was to deal with the derelict space that looked awful. They had no memories of the problems to be surmounted or who was the architect. The cost was met by a loan paid off by the members. 

Loggia railings: Peter and Di thought the Loggia railings project was done to prevent homeless people sleeping in the space. The cost was borne by the members of the church. 

Nigel Woodcock 

Nigel came to faith in the Anglican church but between the ages of fifteen and seventeen he attended Evangel Church. He then transferred to Lincoln Free Church and thereafter continued with New Life Church when these two churches merged in 1983. The structural problems emanated from the pillars beneath the balcony which jeopardised the support of the roof of the building. The roof was found to have moved. He did not know the cost of the repair work or who carried it out. He recalled the interior as having an elevated pulpit behind which there was a pipe organ. The seating was in the form of pews which limited freedom of movement for the church’s style of worship and isolated the congregation. Whilst the building was vacated the congregation met in a number of venues. These included the Lawn followed by the Drill Hall. Some afternoon meetings occurred in the cathedral by invitation. He recalls the members removing the pews; the wooden floor was also replaced. The key to the stabilization of the building was the underpinning of the pillars. The walls were reinforced by bars spanning the opposite sides of the structure. The cost of the work was paid for by the members. Nigel thought that an initial collection was made; a mortgage was obtained for the remaining debt. 

Courtyard roof: Nigel thought the work on the Courtyard Roof was aimed at creating a more welcoming environment to the entry of the church. It would facilitate a space for a café and socializing. It also provided an additional entrance to the church. He was unaware of any specific problems with the project but knew there were requirements relating to the status of the structure as a listed building. He remembered an initial offering being taken, a donation scheme and the rest being paid by a mortgage. 

The Loggia and railings project: There was an earlier plan to have clear glass panelling to provide access between the Brayford Suite and the Church. This proved to be too expensive so the current structure was adopted. The cost was met from the Rise and Build Fund. 


Hazel Simpson 

Hazel came to faith with the rest of her family at Evangel Church in 1968 and became part of New Life Church at its inception. She recalls that problems with the building becoming evident from the damage to the pillars beneath the balcony. This was caused by the dancing of the occupants in the balcony. The congregation continued to use the building for a while until it was condemned as unsafe. She described the interior of the church as possessing a pipe organ, a pulpit and pews. She has photographs of that time. When the congregation had to evacuate the premises they met in a number of locations including the Drill Hall, the Lawn and the cathedral. A number of congregations were formed and she and her family attended the one in the south of the city which was held in Bishop King’s School. 

The cost of the work on the building was met by gifts from the congregation and a loan paid off over a period of time. 

The courtyard roof : The courtyard was a dead space in which rubbish had accumulated. John Shelbourne, one of the founder pastors of New Life, had visualised using the space to accommodate a café and book room. This was part of the inspiration for the project. Hazel was aware that many meetings were held with the council as the buildings had listed status which necessitated careful planning to obtain the required permission to proceed. She knew the cost was met by a loan paid off by the congregation. 

Loggia and railings: The purpose of the venture was to enclose the space and thus deter its use by rough sleepers. Its cost was met by the Rise and Build Fund.


Stuart Bell 

Stuart and his wife, Irene, founded Lincoln Free Church which merged with Evangel Church to form New Life Church. When the problems with the building were found the decision was taken to renovate the building because of its central position in the city. A significant factor in proceeding with the course was prophetic words given to this end. The engineers report on the condition of the building concluded the structure was dangerous and that to remedy the defects the pillars required underpinning as they were unsafe and also tie bars must be installed between side walls. The work was done by Pelham Engineers who accessed the building from Park Street through a hole made in the rear wall of the church. The original estimated cost was £400k. Much scaffolding was erected to facilitate the work. The other alterations were the removal of the organ and pews, the floor level was raised and a new platform put in place. Stuart thought the work was completed around 1991. Whilst the alterations were in progress the congregation met in a number of venues including the Lawn and the Drill Hall, the latter being the most frequently used. The cost of the renovations was addressed in two phases. The first comprised gifts and the second by a loan. 

The courtyard roof : This project was to improve the use of the space which was rundown and housed the rubbish bins. The courtyard would connect the two buildings more efficiently. The problems were to deal with ground layout that included around five areas at different levels. The architect was David Glew whose design was shortlisted for an award. The cost was £400k which paid by taking out a loan. 

Loggia and railings :The area was in a poor condition and was used by rough sleepers. The design was to enable keeping the space clean and tidy. The cost was paid off by 2019 from the Rise and Build Fund.


Bob Carter 

Bob became a Christian at Evangel Church in 1968. He became a member of New Life Church at its inception. Bob had few memories of this time. He said he did not realize that there were so many problems with the building. He recalled that the floors were at more than one level and this was changed to one level. He remembered that access for the work was by means of a hole made in the rear wall. The organ was removed. He said it was not functional as there was a hole in the bellows. He had no recollection of the cost of the work. He did not know who was contracted for the work except that the electrical work was done by Mayo. His memories of the church’s interior were confined to the organ and that the place was full. He thought that during the period of the work the congregation met in the Bailgate area as well in a number of congregations. The cost of the work was met by the congregation. He recounted a story shared with him by John Shelbourne. John encountered an old man outside the church who was holding a pile of notes. When John enquired what he was going to do with them the man gave John some of them. When John asked what he intended to do with the remaining money the man gave those to John also. The total amount was £1500. Bob commented that others also gave to the cost of the building work. 

The courtyard roof: Bob’s memory of what is now the courtyard was it was a “dumping ground”.He knew the cost was met by the congregation. 

Loggia and railings:Bob recalled this project was to address the problem of the use of the area by rough sleepers. 


Philip Hickerton

Philip came to New Life as a member of Evangel Church.The rebuild of the church was required because the dancing by people in the balcony caused movement of the pillars. Whilst the building was vacated the congregation met in different venues including the cathedral, the Lawn and the Drill Hall. The cost of the renovations was met by the congregation. 

The courtyard roof :He remembered this work being spurred by the opinion of Paul Dando who was an architect. “He said that the building made no sense unless the courtyard space was used”. Philip recalled that the problem with the work was to obtain planning permission as the building is listed. He could not remember the architect’s name but he wished to obtain the work as part of meeting the requirements of a post-graduate degree. 


Alan Hoare 

From 1977 Alan pastored the Lincoln Elim church until he joined New Life Church in 1987. It was about this time the structural problems with the building were discovered. Plans had been made to decorate the church interior and it was decided to obtain a structural engineer’s report on the state of the building. This revealed that the walls were leaning outward and there was a gap beneath the pillars of the balcony. The latter was thought to have been caused by worshippers in the balcony dancing. There were problems raised by English Heritage who objected to the internal changes for a listed building. However advice was received from some Anglicans that there was an exemption for places of worship if the changes were required to accommodate the style of worship. The Council granted planning permission. To meet the conditions of the law the congregation returned to the building for six weeks before they removed the pews (except those in the balcony), pulpit and organ. Alan recalls an initial estimate of remedial work being around five to six hundred thousand pounds. However with the help of Paul Dando who formulated a plan the estimated cost was reduced to £126,000. Part of the reduction was achieved by church members undertaking some of the non-structural work. Alan did not remember the name of the contractor that did the remedial work but they were local. They braced the walls and injected concrete under the pillars. Besides the work referred to above by the members they also decorated the building under the leadership of Dave Middleton. Whilst the members worked on the building a sealed room was discovered in the foundations and it was used to deposit rubbish thus saving the expense of its removal. The church interior before its renovation was typical of many nonconformist places of worship. There were pews that faced the pulpit behind which was a pipe organ. During the period the church had to be vacated the congregation met in a succession of venues. These included the cathedral, the Lawn and the Drill Hall. The last was the most frequently used. Whilst the congregation met in the Drill Hall a visiting speaker from the States prophesied that they needed to return to the building as they would receive many university students. This was remarkable as then there was no university in the city but its establishment followed shortly afterwards. At the end of the six weeks back in the church in Newland an offering was taken for the cost of the remedial work. Members made great sacrifices such as foregoing holidays or selling possessions and the total came to £126,000! This was inspirational although the actual final cost was somewhat higher. 

The courtyard roof :This work was initiated as the site was, in Alan’s words, “a tip”. There was a vision to convert the area into a venue for coffee where people could meet. The problems related to the listed status of the building and the views of English Heritage must be addressed. Glass doors had to be set into the church’s entrance and to the reception area, formally a corridor. The project was paid for by the offerings and the Rise and Build Fund. Loggia and railings: Alan recalled this piece of work was aimed at excluding homeless people from the area. They slept in it. He thought it was paid for through Rise and Build. 

Rita Sykes

Rita became a member of New Life Church as a former member of Lincoln Free Church led by Stuart and Irene Bell. Rita remembers that there were problems with the safety of the balcony and also cracks appeared in the walls. She recalled that the church had pews, pulpit and organ. The congregation moved out to various locations. She remembered the Lawn and thought a number of groups were formed, one of which met in the Bailgate area. The cost of the work was met by a specific offering of donations from the congregation. 

The courtyard roof: Rita remembers this project being undertaken to make better use of the space that contained a lot of rubbish. She thought one application would be the establishment of a café. Her memory was that a loan was taken to pay for the work and it was discharged from the Rise and Build Fund. 

Loggia and railings: Rita remembered this project was done to prevent the continued use of the space by rough sleepers. It was paid for from the Rise and Build Fund.

David Collier 

David was a member of Evangel Church before becoming part of New Life Church. David recalled that the problems with the building emanated from the earth foundation which was a swamp in Roman times. The main walls of the congregation were leaning outwards rendering the structure unsafe and requiring its evacuation. He thought the final cost of the remedial work was around £120k. He could not remember the name of the contractors who did the structural work but the owner was a Christian. He owned the adjacent property in Park Street from which he granted access so a hole could be made in the church wall to gain entry for the work. Before the work became necessary the church had pews and a pipe organ. The floor sloped downwards from the rear to the pulpit. The pulpit was on a level with the balcony and the speaker could be heard throughout the whole building without a PA system. It was known as a “preaching theatre”. David thought when the congregation had to leave the building connect groups were introduced in the week. Sunday meetings were held in a variety of venues that included the Lawn and the Drill Hall. There were also some local groups formed and he remembered meeting in one in Bishop King’s School. An offering was made for the cost of the work. This amounted to £120k which obviated any debt. 

The courtyard roof :This area was an open space housing huge garbage containers. It functioned as a back entrance to the church and at its far end there were a number of small rooms. The project aimed to make better use of this space. The plans had to overcome any objections from English Heritage. David remembers they opposed the cleaning of the brickwork. It was hoped to raise the finance for this project by an offering. However this did not generate sufficient money and this probably initiated the Rise and Build Fund. He believed the debt was paid by transfers from Rise and Build and the general account of the church. The project was done by installing beams that supported a hollow plastics envelope filled with pumped air. This was to achieve a light structure 

Loggia and railings: David recalls this work was done because the area was being used by rough sleepers. He thought the work was paid for from the Rise and Build Fund.


John Seager

John came into New Life Church from Evangel Church. He remembers that a survey revealed that the pillars had shifted and were on a foundation of soil. It was deemed that the building was unsafe. He thought the original estimated cost was £300k but after the interview he sent me a copy of a front page article from the Lincolnshire Echo of March 23 1994 that reported £200k was raised for the work. He could not recall the name of the company who did the renovations but they facilitated the work by the provision of access through the rear wall from the adjacent site. Paul Dando was the church’s project manager and the members provided a lot of voluntary labour for such things as stripping out the floor. John remembers the church before the restoration having pews, a sloping floor and a large pipe organ which was removed. He supplied photos taken of the church at the final service before it had to be vacated. John was unsure of the dates connected with the work but he thought it continued to 1993 and the building was reoccupied in 1994. (The latter date was confirmed by the Lincolnshire Echo article.) Whilst the work was being done, John recalls the congregation meeting in a number of locations. He remembers meetings in Yarborough School but the main venue was the Drill Hall. In the latter Dale Gentry prophesied that the church should renovate their building in view of its city centre location where they would receive many university students. At the time there were no known plans for a university. John remembers that the cost was met by an offering. The fore mentioned article records that this offering was made in a number of parts. 

The courtyard roof: The roofing of the courtyard was to create an indoor space that would house a coffee shop. John said that “my wife Val was asked to investigate the feasibility of the coffee shop and she visited Abundant Life Bradford for information about the creation of their coffee shop”. John did not remember much concerning problems with the project other than the need to extend the central heating system to accommodate the area. He thought that the cost of the project was met by an offering and a loan. John recalls the roof being suspended by wires and provided with a draining system at the side. 

Loggia and railings: This project was done to deal with the problems caused by rough sleepers. He remembers that the original plan was to install a glass screen but this proved to be too expensive. Consequently railings were put into place.He recalls the project’s cost being met from the Rise and Build Fund. 


Kairen Blissitt 

Kairen came from Lincoln Free Church into New Life Church. She remembers that the problems with the structure became evident by the movement of the balcony. This was especially observed when the building was very full for special services such as in celebration of the Grapevine events. She did not remember the name of the contractors but she recalls that some work was done by church members such as clearing out rubble etc. The work was managed by Paul Dando. Kairen described the church interior as of a typical nonconformist design. It comprised pews, a pulpit and a large organ. The pulpit was on a level with the balcony. Her estimate of the date of the work was the early nineties. During in this time the congregation met in a number of locations. Kairen remembers the Lawn and the Drill Hall. The latter had an odour of beer. It was also where Dale Gentry prophesied that the church In Newland should be renovated because of its central position which would attract students. The cost of the work was met by an offering from the congregation. The courtyard roof: The reasons Kairen remembers for this work was to provide extra space, to move the bins, to accommodate the church’s growth and to improve the presentation of the church complex. She had no specific recollections of problems associated with the venue but she recalls it was considered an engineering challenge. The cost was paid by an offering and a loan. Kairen remembers that the roof was lowered into place by a crane. This necessitated closing the road whilst it was done. 

Loggia and railings: Kairen recalled that the original plan was to install glass panelling but this proved to be too expensive. The project was paid for from the Rise and Build Fund. Kairen remembered that “the project was finished in 2017 as I was asked to order a Christmas tree for the space that year”.

Caroline Cameron 

Caroline was the Project manager for the courtyard roof. She recalls that she met regularly with the architect, the architect apprentice, council, structural engineer, English Heritage - both buildings are listed so nothing could be attached to the walls. Then she reported back to Stuart and the Vision Core team. 

There needed to be a roof which was lightweight, supported by pylons driven into the ground, durable and able to let light in, and not need cleaning. Access was through the premises behind church off Beaumont Fee and they allowed the cranes to come there to bring the materials for the roof over the top of the courtyard as there was no other access. 

“Stuart thought he had seen a see-through roof and so I took this to the architect and they investigated and discovered the roof of the Eden Project was similar. The structural engineer costed it out, went out to tender and construction company approved. The roof was durable, light, not heavy, didn't need cleaning and did not over heat”. They had thought of glass but should anything fall on it it would smash. This roof wouldn't do that.

“I left Dec 2004 and it wasn't quite finished. I think Graham Backhouse took over the project. I was invited back for the opening and presented with flowers which was lovely. It was a long process leading to its construction”. 


Brenda Burgess

Brenda remembers that the courtyard before the roof went on was an open area that was really a dumping ground and an unused space. 

She thought the current door from church into the courtyard was maybe a window. Not sure if there was access from the street into the courtyard or if there were railings there. The church office was still in the church building and had not moved over the road into Alive house. 


Ruth Smart 

“I remember we had to meet in the Drill Hall because the church was unsafe and being repaired. I remember the church re opening ceremony - for the ceremony my family were a family from history and I think I had to wear a red dress which was special. We had to stand on the stage and Gerald Coates was there and told a story about a canary. 

I also remember they took the organ out and uncovered the stained glass window”. 

David Lyons 

David recalls the major repairs in the Church. He recalls “Dave Midd had to hang upside down to do the painting”. 

“I remember that when we did the roof for the courtyard it was quite revolutionary and based on the Eden project from down south and it was quite expensive. 

There was also some discussions about where the front door was going to be to do with the planning and whether they needed to redo the front entrance.” 


Barbara Moses from URC Church

Barbara first went to Newland Congregational Church in 1964 aged 11 when the family moved to Lincoln.Her father was Church Secretary and ran the Youth club. She recalls a story of stacking boxes of crisps on trestle tables in the what is now Brayford Suite because of the mice. Youth Club ran on Fridays and Sundays but you could only go on Sunday if you had been to church first.Barbara left in about 1973 to move to London to start nurses training. Her parents also left and moved to London. 

When the Congregationalist church in Lincoln started talking to Presbytarian church for a merger the Reverend was John Slow The union of the two churches was in about 1974.

The minister at that time of the Presbytarian Church was Stanley Mays and they worked locally on the unification of the 2 congregations. 

The church moved to the other building from Newland because it was a newer building and in better condition. They sold the land and the building - also owned 1 of the 2 houses at the rear of the church.

Prior to Rev John Slow, the Reverend was Rev Brian Baker. 

Barbara returned to Lincoln and started attending the new united church - Trinity (was St Andrews in St Martins square) 

Two of the people from the congregation who Barbara remembers were - Sir Harold Banwell who was involved in the organisation of the transfer and unification. He then moved. 

- Sir Francis Hill 

- Flora Murray - all her papers in the Archives. She was well known in the city and worked with social services. 

Barbara remembers that all the records and minutes of meetings are in the Lincolnshire Archives. 

Some of the congregation chose not to go to St Andrews and went to: 

- St Columba on Brant Road which was CofE, Methodist and URC and some of the money from the sale of the Newland premises went to help establish that, - South Barr Congregational church which closed in the early 1990s and was on the site of the old Peugeot garage by South Park roundabout. 

- Far Newland Congregational church on Newland West 

Mr Muir Scully 

He now lives in Fleet where he retired after marrying his wife who he met on a Christian guild holiday to Whitby. 

He attended Newland congregational church through the 1960s and 70s and moved to the united church in St Martins square. He was baptised at Newland Congregational Church. He has books, photos and records of the history of the church from when it was built and many of the records are now in the archives.Mr Arthur Gray took all the papers and materials to the archives when the church joined the Presbytarian church. Mr Scully also has a book listing all the ministers. 

When the church was sold to Evangel he was Deacon - sold for £40,000 The Congregational church was already united with Presbytarian nationally in 1972, and then in 19774 in Lincoln the two churches joined together. 

Mr Scully remembers that the pews were made of pitch pine and built by Jewson who was a member of the congregation. 

The organ was second only to the cathedral organ in volume and quality. Members were very unhappy that it was put in the skip as they had someone lined up to take it. It was maintained by Cousans the organ builders and repairers whose shop was opposite the church down a passageway that led to the Brayford. This passageway had garages and workshops. The Organ was the first one in the country to be powered by electric bellows as normally they were pumped by a handle. 

Cousans built the first fan assisted bellows electrically driven. 

There were 2 knighthoods in the congregation in the 60s and 70s - Sir Francis Hill (Mr Scully used to hand him a prayer book) and Sir Harold Banwell. He was a lawyer from London and a town clerk during WW2. He received his knighthood whilst in London and retired to Lincoln. He was responsible for the closing of the church and the move to St Andrews church. The congregation was a gathered congregation from across the city. 

In what is now the Brayford Suite: it was a big hall and had a big stage where they would perform plays and hire out the hall. Throughout the war there was a Forces club for servicemen that his aunt was secretary of and they met there especially at weekends. He recalls that in 1947 during the bad winter, a lump of plaster fell from the ceiling in front of the front pews and they had to replaster the ceiling and whilst that happened they moved the service to the Hall upstairs for 6 months. 

Also they had to repair the 4 pinnacles and pillars on the facade of the church which were crumbling. They were taken down and stones put on top to make it all safe for the public passing by - scaffold had to be erected.


Rev John Slow

Reverend Slow was the Minister of Newland Congregational Church and South Barr Congregational Church prior to the union with Presbytarian church. 

He now lives in Wellingborough and he led the congregation into the union with the Presbytarian church. He used to live on Broadway in Lincoln. 

Far Newland was a plant from Newland Congregational Church as the West end was expanding and so the idea was for Far Newland to serve that area. There was also some exploration of another chapel during his time there for the south of the city because Lincoln was expanding at that time. 

Members of the congregation included Sir Francis Hill who never married. He lived with his mother taking care of her until her death. He lived in the Minster Yard area. His family went back to late Victorian times. He was known as Frank. He was a local solicitor and partner in one of the big law firms in the City. Rev Slow was asked to preach at the funeral of Sir Francis Hill and he has his sermon from that funeral. Hill was a significant person locally and nationally. He also remembers Sir Harold Banwell who was friends with Sir Francis Hill and lived near him. Rev Slow took his funeral too. 

The congregation included many aldermen and councillors and professional people. Arthur Gray and his wife Marjorie archived all the documents of the church at the time of the union in the Archive office in Lincoln.

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