St Hilda’s Church
   Warley Woods

           1950 saw the sale of land on the Rathbone Road site, probably for the building of Warley and Galton House. In order to facilitate Rathbone Road being developed as a social and entertainment hall, statutory services were curtailed although Holy Communion continued to be celebrated once a month. Work on the forecourt of St. Hilda’s began at last in July 1950, and it was decided to dedicate the area as a War Memorial. By the following March, the forecourt garden had been planted. When a curate, R.J.Simpson arrived in 1954, the Parish was unable to find accommodation for him, and he left a year later to become vicar of St. Michael’s Langley. A kindergarten hut was built at the rear of the church for the youngest members of the Sunday School.
         A service to mark Rev. McCallum’s Silver Jubilee at St. Hilda’s was delayed by an accident in which he broke his leg. When the service finally took place, it coincided with the Golden Jubilee of the Diocese of Birmingham. (see picture above)

        St. Hilda’s had always had an excellent musical tradition and in 1956 became affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music. An end of an era came when on 15th May 1959, the Rev. J.C.McCallum moved to St. Michael’s Boldmere, after more than 29 years at St. Hilda’s. It was an incumbency that saw many changes and upheavals and a ministry that many will never forget.


    This period coincides almost exactly with the incumbency of the Rev. N.B.Moore. He came in October 1959 and stayed until December 1964. During the five years of his incumbency, Norman Moore found himself embroiled in local and national politics, when he denounced from the pulpit the new MP who had been elected on an anti-immigration platform. He also shamed those who supported such sentiments and gained the support of the church congregation and at the next election the MP was voted out.
      The new vicarage was built in 1960, and the organ was sent to Liverpool for restoration. There had been some concern about the condition of St. Katherine’s, and the decision to dispose of the Mission Church was finally taken. The last service was held in 1961, and in the same year, St Hilda’s parish hall was sold, and by the end of 1962 it was registered for the use of the Plymouth Brethren. Also 1962 saw the opening of a new Parish Hall at the rear of the church.


         Rev. J.D.Pigott became the third Vicar of the parish in April 1965, just in time for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the consecration of the church on 29th June 1965. A special silver Jubilee Service took place on St. Hilda’s Day that year when both previous vicars of the parish were present, and Rev. J.C. McCallum preached the sermon. To commemorate the Silver Jubilee, the side chapel was created and dedicated to St. Katherine by the Bishop of Aston at Evensong on 28th November 1965. In 1967, Arthur Tooth became curate, and moved into a recently purchased house in Thuree Road.


   Arthur Tooth left in 1970. The possibility of an extension to the Church Hall was discussed and, at first, thought to be too expensive but, after fund-raising the extension was built in 1974. Towards the end of this period Rev. J.D.Pigott left the parish to follow Canon J.C.McCallum at St. Michael’s, Boldmere.


      Rev. J.C.Stallard arrived early in 1975 and soon Easter Monday parish outings and parish Christmas pantomimes were established and enjoyed by many. The Quinquennial inspection was a disaster-the boiler needed replacing and the heating system required improvements costing £ 6,000. The parish magazine for April 1979 contained the following Freudian slip-among the services for Holy Week is listed the following:  ‘Laundry Thursday-The Washing of the Disciples Feet’.