Chapter One - The Old Barn

The Old Barn

From 1839 there had been a Union Chapel along Cople Road in Cardington. This was also known as the Old Barn and despite being a small village chapel it was a lively place to be: the Young Persons Society for Christian Endeavour (YPSCE) was set up in November 1896 and had eleven members and three committees: the Look Out Committee (looked after and prayed for the members), the Prayer Meeting Committee, and the Social Committee (in addition to the socials, they provided “a very enjoyable picnic […] in the mill meadows”). The society provided a tea for the ‘old people’ and it was recorded that “a gramophone […] amused the people greatly, and with the singing and recitations a most enjoyable evening was spent, and we believe the Old People look forward to this gathering from time to time and it does one good to hear their thanks at the close of the evening”. As the membership increased, other committees were formed; the Music Committee and Missionary Committee (every Sunday, weather permitting, open air evangelistic meetings were held on The Green). At the anniversary of the first year of the organization, it was written in the secretary’s book: “Our meetings are held on Sunday evenings after the usual service, commencing at 7:30 o’clock […] Six weeks after the formation of the society the meetings were so well attended, that the room would scarcely hold all who come, and thus it has continued unto the present time.” At this time, there were 52 members.

Interior of the Old Barn

However, things did not always run smoothly! At a business meeting on 29th March 1898 it was recorded that “a little unpleasantness was made because the Look Out Com do not keep the business private, someone having told a certain member that he did not give hymns out properly. This was very discourageing [sic] and it was hoped it would not occur again. It was hoped too that order might be kept at the back of the room on Sunday evenings”! Due to the success of the YPSCE, a junior society was set up in 1899 and in 1906 two other committees were formed; the Sunshine Committee (gave ‘sunshine’ to the sick by distributing gifts and food) and Temperance Committee. Some members went further afield and did missionary work as far away as Central America. However the conditions of the Old Barn were no better than its name suggests and by the early 1900s the chapel was no longer weather-proof.

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