On the 2nd October 1844, St. George's Parish was created because the congregation at St. Lawrence's had grown too large for the church. In the same year St. George's Sunday School opened in St. George's Street with room for 112 boys and 112 infants. It was another eight years before sufficient funds were raised to build a church, so in the meantime services were held in the Sunday school.

The church, built in Early English style at a cost of around £2,500 was consecrated on 3rd August, 1852. It had a nave in 5 bays, aisles, a chancel, a tower containing a single bell, a church organ by Walker of London, and seating for 673 people.

The vicars were as follows:

Rev. Manton Hathaway, B.A.  from 1852 until his death in 1878.
Rev. Joel Jones  from 1878 until his death in 1884.
Rev. George Oliver, B.A.  from 1885 until 1896.
Rev. Ernest Chattock, M.A.  from 1896 until 1909.
Rev. C. E. Armitage, B.A. from 1909 until 1927.
Rev. Harry Gordon Davies, B.A. from 1927 until 1929.
Rev. B. Paton Jones, L.Th.  from 1930 until 1936
Rev. Edward Taylor, A.K.C.  from 1936 until his death in 1962.
Rev. David Richard, B.A.  from 1962 until 1970.
Rev. Brynmor Jones, B.A.  from 1970 until the last service on 17th January, 1974.


St. George's Church.


A fine view of the interior of the church. Courtesy of John & Christine Ashmore.

The church and the garden of rest.

Courtesy of John & Christine Ashmore.


The location of the church, the school, and the original vicarage.

The original vicarage stood in The Green opposite the Why Not pub. It was built in 1856 on a piece of land given by George Addenbrooke of Addenbrooke, Smith & Pidcock, better known as Rough Hay Furnaces.

The building costs were paid from grants and private contributions. George Addenbrooke became churchwarden at St. George's, and on his death in 1906 was buried there.

Over one third of Darlaston's population lived in Saint George's Parish. In 1881 there were 3,875 occupants, which had increased to 4,212 by 1891.

The adjoining graveyard, originally enclosed by a brick wall, opened in 1860. The first interment took place on 22nd March.

In 1885 under the guidance of Rev. George Oliver, a programme of building work began at the church with the enlargement of the chancel and the restoration of the building. The project, which cost £550 included the building of the vestry, and the installation of a water heating system.


Looking into The Green from St. George's Street. The building on the far side of the road in the centre is the original vicarage. On the far left is the Why Not pub.
The architect was C. Bryan Oliver of London and Bath, and building work was carried out by G. P. Butler of Darlaston, and Jones and Attwood of Stourbridge. The church reopened in October of that year. In 1890 George Oliver  founded St. George’s Social Club, and established a mission room on the corner of Addenbrooke Street, known as the Mission Hall of The Good Shepherd. It was built at a cost of £650 and served by a licensed lay evangelist.


The interior of the church. Courtesy of Howard Madeley.

The school, which became Darlaston Green Day School, was taken over by Darlaston School Board in 1883, and known as St. George's Board School. By 1887 it catered for 145 boys and 112 infants, and remained in use as a board school until a replacement board school was built in Willenhall Road. Although no longer a day school, the building continued to be used by the church for many years.

Further improvements were made to the church in the 1930s. Between 1930 and 1931 the north aisle was converted into a lady chapel, the school buildings were repaired, and central heating installed. In 1934 the church was again renovated. New carpets were fitted in the sanctuary and aisles, the north-western corner of the building became a children’s prayer area, and improvements were made in the baptistry including the installation of oak pillars for the screen.

In March 1937 the choirmaster John Jones presented the church with a new vicarage which had been built in Bush Street, opposite the church, on the site of some old cottages. Rev. Edward Taylor, the first occupant, lived there until his death in 1962.

Throughout its life the church had many close links with local industry, particularly with local factory owners. Church wardens included Samuel Rubery, John Tunner Rubery, George John Garrington, and George Addenbrooke. Industrial Sunday Services were often held at the church during which sermons were preached by Sir Alfred Owen, and his son David.


From the early 1930s.


The Mission Hall of The Good Shepherd. Courtesy of Tony Highfield.

 
Two views of St. George's Church from The Green. Photographed in the1930s by the late W. J. Ashmore. Courtesy of John & Christine Ashmore.


The Garden of Rest.

In 1954 the churchyard was laid out as a garden of rest by Darlaston Council to commemorate the coronation in 1953. A dedication ceremony took place on 21st June, 1954. In December 1959 the statue of Saint George and the dragon was erected on the northern corner of the garden of rest to commemorate George John Garrington J.P. who served at St. George's Church as churchwarden and did much for the town.

A newspaper article from a newspaper cutting, newspaper and date unknown. Courtesy of John & Christine Ashmore.


The statue of Saint George and the dragon.

The statue carries the following inscription around the top of the base:

This Churchyard was laid out as a Garden of Rest by Darlaston Urban District Council assisted by public subscriptions during the Chairmanship of Councillor A. G. B. Owen, C.B.E. to commemorate the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and was dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Lichfield on 21st June, 1954.

To complete the beautifying of this Garden of Rest this Statue was erected in December 1959 and commemorates the late George John Garrington, J.P. member of the Council for many years and sometime Churchwarden of this Parish who rendered many public services to this town.


The last service booklet. Courtesy of John and Christine Ashmore.
 


George John Garrington.


The inside of the last service booklet. Courtesy of John and Christine Ashmore.

In the 1960s and early 1970s the congregation dwindled, as it did in many other churches. The upkeep of the church and buildings was too much for the small number of worshippers to bear, and so closure was inevitable.

The last service was held on 17th January 1974, and demolition took place in March 1975.


The last remnants of the building. In the centre background is the later vicarage, now demolished. Courtesy of Howard Madeley.

   
View some photographs
of the church
   

Many items from the church were saved, some of which remained in the town. The font and the alter crosses and candlesticks were moved to St. Lawrence's Church, the lady alter went to St. Lawrence's parish hall, the oak choir stalls were given to All Saints Church at Moxley, and the children's alter went to St. Christopher's, at Rough Hay. The organ went to a church in Norfolk, the stations of the cross went to a church in Tipton, and the main alter was kept for use in another church in the Lichfield Diocese.


A view of the garden of rest from December 2007.


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