Our Guest Speaker for June – John Martin-Jones

Our Guest Speaker for June – John Martin-Jones

On the 13th June the Trust held its first evening talk at Cross Corners. An audience of nineteen people listened to a fascinating  and entertaining talk given by John Martin-Jones on the subject of “A week in the life of St. Peter’s”.

John is no stranger to Belgrave or St Peter’s Church – Birstall-born and bred, John Martin-Jones was a bellringer at St Peter’s for ten years, and has fond memories of his fellow ringers. His parents met at St Peter’s; his father, Christopher Martin-Jones, at various times was Tower Captain, a churchwarden and Secretary to St Peter’s Parochial Church Council, and so John has a wealth of first-hand knowledge of the daily life of this church, some of which he shared with the audience.

John started with a brief history of his families arrival in Leicester, and went on to relate the different events that were held at the church on a typical weekday, all accompanied by slides of various events. His memories included standing on a bench to wind the clock twice a week, adjusting the time leading to oily hands, how the hands of the clock on the tower came to be bent, and what happened when a bell stuck upside down when being rung! Singing was not John’s strong point, so he was never invited to join the choir. But for most weeks, he was the altar server, and made himself useful in various ways.

In the audience were two other bell-ringers at St. Peter’s, one of whom rang with John, and also two relatives of people shown in John’s slides. The slides also triggered many memories when members of the audience recognised people featured in the slides or a name John mentioned.

John concluded his talk with an explanation of the decline of St. Peter’s from it’s modern heyday in the 1960’s, through to its decline in the 1990’s following the retirement of Canon Ken Quine and the loss of the church’s Parochial Church Council status.

The evening was a great success, and – had time permitted – the post-talk conversations would have gone on much longer than they did, causing us to overrun our planned end-time!