The Church in the 1930’s

Those were days of peace, of expansion and enthusiasm. Kenton was a new suburb full of young married couples and their children. There was an optimism in the air that was reflected everywhere. The Diocese of London launched a great appeal for the money to build and endow forty five churches, an appeal that caught the imagination of the people. At the Queen’s Hall, on Monday the 16th June, 1930, at 8.15pm, with music on the Great Organ and community singing from 7.15pm, there was a diocesan demonstration to begin the appeal, and set its funds going. St Leonard’s sent more that fifty persons to this meeting, which was a great and immediate success.

It was more like the great Anglo-Catholic congress than a Diocesan Rally. St Mary’s was to benefit from this Fund, being the thirteenth of the churches built, and also its predecessor, the old St Leonard’s, benefited from a number of gifts sent by Queen Mary to Fr Johnson. The Duchess of York, later to become Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, heard Fr Johnson speak at the meeting and told Queen Mary of the work being done in Kenton.

Father Lury and servers in 1933
Father Lury and servers in 1933

As a result the Queen sent Fr Johnson adornments for the new church. The Corpus on the High Altar crucifix is one of these, as also is the icon in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. She also gave a good deal of silk as material for vestments, some of which was material from the dress worn at the Delhi Durbar [now worked into a chasuble and frontal]. Her Majesty was well known for gathering things at various bazaars, always with an eye for what she could give towards the beautifying of the houses of God in the land. So all and sundry from Queen Mary to our own Miss Brazell trudging the streets of the Glebe estate in search of new customers for the Record [and who knows how many lapsed returned when they realised that the Faith was taught in Kenton once more?], all were alive with a spirit of eagerness for the work of the church.

Mention of the Glebe Estate brings us to 1932, and the beginning of a new period in the history of the parish. The Glebe Estate was towards the Kingsbury end of the parish, and in those days it extended from the outskirts of Kenton Farm right along to Honeypot Lane. A plot of land had been reserved for a Mission next to Brazier’s farm at the junction of Honeypot Lane and Kenton Road. After some initial delays the little Church of the Holy Spirit was dedicated on Thursday the 13th of October, 1932, by the Lord Bishop of London.