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Our History

Historic Dates for the History of Norwich Church


1920 - Henry and Alice Muskett place an advertisement in the local paper asking if anyone knew anything about the science of Spiritualism or was interested in the subject. Interested parties were invited to meet at their house.


November 1922 - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle spoke about Spiritualism at St Andrews Hall. The Hall was packed, and after expenses were paid there was a profit of £10 which became the nucleus of our Building Fund.


December 1923 - AGM the minutes read Building Fund £12-7s-41/2d.


September 1936 - St Clair Stobbart laid the foundation stone. She is also the lady who wrote the Healing Hymn. The former editor of Two Worlds Earnest Oaten performed the opening ceremony. He was also the first person to ever give a talk on Spiritualism for the BBC.


1942 - The lower floor of the Church was offered to the Jewish community for a temporary place of worship when their Synagogue was bombed. A side entrance was created at the Jews insistence as they could not enter under the cross that surmounted the front door. It also served as a canteen for American Servicemen during the years of hostilities.


March 1945 - The Healing Band was formed by Mrs A H Taylor who was known as (Jasmine) of Sandersted, Surrey. The matron was Mrs Ruth Duffield.


September 1948 - The Spiritualist National Union became the Sole Trustee of the Church as it became an Affiliated Body.


October 1948 - Maurice Babanell, medium of Silver Birch, together with outstanding medium Estelle Roberts participated in a meeting held at St Andrews. The Rev Roland Maitland Vicar of Darsham, Suffolk and Vice President of Norwich Spiritualist Church, chaired.


October 1950 - New Pipe Organ built and installed in Church by Messrs Storr Bros;


March 1952 - Mr James Duffield Church President was elected to office of President of the London District Council of the Spiritualist National Union.


July 1958 - Spiritualist's National Union's Annual Meeting held in Norwich. Air Chief Marshall Lord Dowding, Dr John Winning President of SNU and famous medium Ena Twigg participated in a Public Meeting held at St Andrews Hall.


April 1959 - The Lord Mayor designate was our good friend Mr Michael Bulman and the first Spiritualist to be its Chief Officer. Mr Bulman was a specialist Consultant to the Norfolk Norwich Hospital.


October 1959 - A Special Resolution, recommended by the Church Executive Committee, put to members at the AGM "That the Church in future, would be known as Norwich Spiritualist Church," it fell by 30 for to 37 against.


May 1960 - The Eastern Daily Press reported the meeting held at Stuart Hall on May 4th. The medium was Mr Gordon Higginson medium and the speaker was Mr Ben Herrington OBE. The guest Chairman was Mr (later Sir) Arthur South. Mr South said accepted the off from the Church as he'd previously heard of Gordon Higginson. However he had come as a sceptic. He said he was intrigued from the beginning and most impressed, and took an intense interest at all. He also said he was greatly surprised by the happiness and friendliness of the meeting.


June 1960 - The SNU President, Mr Charles Quastel, a forthright eloquent speaker made his first visit to Norwich when speaking at a public in St Andrews Hall. Mrs Ena Twigg demonstrated her mediumship and Mr Michael Bulman chaired.


January 1961 - Eighty people sat down to the Annual Christmas Party. The menu was- turkey with cranberry sauce, sausages, peas, creamed potatoes, Christmas pudding and custard, cheese, celery and biscuits. Cost 3/6d (1714). Donations of cash, food and services were made by - The Royal Hotel, Frank Price Ltd, Blyth and Homer Ltd. W Seeker & Sons and Messrs Mabbut.


June 1963 - "Red Box Fund" was started in 1958. Members and friends were given red boxes into which they could place their usual Sunday amount if they could not attend the Sunday meeting. Anyone not wishing to subscribe could return the box to the Assistance Treasurer. A £100 was collected from this fund which went to pay off the mortgage and the adjoining house number 11, Chapelfield North, which the Church owned at the time.


April 1964 - On the 4th , Harry Edwards, George and Olive Burton, Grace Boyers, and Gordon Higginson participated in a meeting chaired by Mr Bulman, held at St Andrew's Hall. Reserved seats 5/- (25p), 3/6d (171/2p). 2/6d (121/2p). unreserved seats 2/6d


May 1965 - The first outing by Church members to Standsted Hall, Arthur Findlay College took place on the 5th. They where taken round the house and its beautiful gardens. The renowned psychic artist Coral Polge made her first visit to Norwich Church during the weekend of May 20th & 21st.


April 1966 - Members subscriptions of 7/6d (371/2p) due on 1st January to be paid to Miss H Pine Coffin. October 1969 - Church memberships increased from 7/6d to 10/6d (521/2p). Subscriptions for Old Age Pensioners and Hardship cases remained at 7/6d.


February 1972 - Demonstration by world famous transfiguration medium, Mrs Queenie Nixon was held at the Church for members only. Entrance 50p


August 1974 - 28th sees the visit to Norwich Spiritualist Church of the International Spiritualist Federation.


October 1975 - A motion proposed by Mr Robert Common, later amended, to change the name of the Church was adopted by members at the AGM Thursday 16th. As from January 1st 1997 the new title was "The Norwich Spiritualist Church".


April 1979 - Matthew Manning the "Boy Healer", delivered a lecture and demonstrated healing to a capacity audience at St Andrews Hall.


August 1981 - Mrs Doris Stokes served the Church during the weekend of 22nd-23rd. On both evenings the Church was overflowing, so many were turned away.


May 1982 - in memory of Mr Siliars (Luke) his family presented the beautiful grandfather clock, which now stands pride of place in the main body of the Church.


June 1984 - The inaugural Mundesley Beach Service was held on the 10th.


January 1986 - Members an an Extraordinary General Meeting agreed to the sale of 11, Chapel Field North.


April 1988 - On the 4th the Church became registered to perform marriage ceremonies. Mr Robert Common and Mrs Daphne Carey being the 1st and 2nd authorised person respectively.


March 1990 - 26 Church members travelled to Wembley Conference Centre to take part in the Centenary Celebrations of the SNU.


March 1995 - Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Church Healing Band, and the election of the 1st lady President Charlotte Williams of Norwich Church.


July 1995 - Norwich Church organised and hosted the 93rd Annual General conference of the SNU. A feat never undertaken before by a lone Church in the History of the Union.


November 1995 - the Church celebrates its 75th Anniversary of Spiritualism in Norwich. The mediums were Colin Fry, (Trance) with Tony Ortzen Chair, Lionel Owen TSNU. Bryan Gibbs and John Brett (psychic artist) Speaker Minister Trevor Claxton.


October 1999 - The idea for a Church Choir was born under the direction of Alison Coulson, our music maestro.


August 2001 - The Church Organ was replaced, and installed by Peter Smith with a new purpose built electronic digital organ. Having found the old one too costly to repair.

August 2004 - Mrs Simone Key was presented with her Officient Award by Minister Jean Bassett at a special service. The reader was Mrs Muriel Tennant CSNU and it was chaired by President Linda Smith.


June 2004 - Mr Robert Common was awarded his Gold Long Service Award from the SNU, presented by Mr Charles Coulston BA Secretary of the SNU.


July 2004 - Norwich Church was awarded "Church of the Year" by the Spiritualist National Union.


July 2005 - Physical mediumship was seen again at Norwich Church when on the Stewart Alexander gave a private sitting for 26 members in the mediums room. It was almost 50 years after the last one took place with physical medium William Olsen.


March 2006 - £1000 was raised by Norwich Spiritualist Church for Spiritualist Aid.


July 2006 - The Church was awarded "Church of the Year" for the third time. This time it included "The Mary Whalley Endeavour Trophy".


January 2010 - Linda Smith, President of Norwich Church, spearheaded a fund to replace the broken headstone of Emma Hardinge Britten and restore the old one. The Church Executive Committee and the members were in full support. Raising large sums with Open Day and Demonstrations which were supported by medium Minister Paul Jacob, psychic artist Sue Woods, Mavis Pattilla, Tony Stockwell and Duncan Gascoyne President of the SNU and Chairman of the AFC along with Sheringham Church and other individuals.


August 2010 - The new gravestone for Emma Hardinge Britten was laid and dedicated on the 14th in Harpurhay Central Cemetery, Manchester. Linda Smith Norwich President gave the 1st dedication followed by David Bruton SNU President, Mavis Pattilla, a well respected medium and Dr Malcolm Lewis. Many churches were represented both locally and afar. Those being Sheringham, Blackpool. Scotland, Warrington, Hertfordshire, Fleetwood, North Wales and Merseyside District Councils and members. Moston Church hosted the day.


April 2011 - On the 9th the restored headstone of Emma Hardinge Britten found its new home at the Arthur Findlay College in Emma's Garden of Remembrance. The speakers were Minister David Bruton SNU President and Chairman of the AFC, Minister Dinah Annable SNU Vice President Administration, Minister Judith Seaman SNU Vice President Spiritual, Julia Almond SNU Financial Director and Linda Smith Norwich Church President.


May 2014 - The Church Open Day. along with the Pomegranate Circle of Gordon and Gaynor Garforth in Norwich. raised £800 towards the Memorial Stone for J Arthur Findlay, which was unveiled at Stansted College on July 19th. Norwich was the only Church in the United Kingdom to support this appeal.

April 2016 - Tuesday 26th, Norwich Church Choir under the direction of Alison Coulson the Church Treasurer and Secretary, sang at President June Winchester's Church in Sheringham to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. Linda Smith President and other Committee Members of Norwich were also present.


September 2016 - Norwich Church celebrated its 80th Anniversary and held a week of events. Starting with an Open Day Sat; Divine Service Sun: with medium speaker SNU President Minister David Bruton and invited Guests Minister Daniel Rosenthal. Clive Rolfe, Norfolk Representative of the Norfolk Jews, Nick and Poppy Symons all from the Jewish Synagogue. along with representations of other Spiritualist Churches, Groups, Centres plus Mediums. Church members and friends and a buffet for all. Mon; trance dem; with physical medium Gordon Garforth chaired by his wife Gaynor. Tues; Healing and Church exhibition, Wed; Open Circle, Thurs; Mediumship in Song with Karen Davis, Fri; Talk and Slide show of Physical Mediumship by Lionel Owen TSNU. Sat; Workshop with Donna Stewart, Sun; Divine Service with Donna Stewart finishing with cheese, snacks and sangria. All were well supported


November 2016 - President Linda Smith, and six members of Norwich Church, were part of the Interfaith Choir which sang four songs in the Norwich Anglican Cathedral on the 19th. along with members of the Buddhist, Later Day Saints. Methodist and Jewish Faiths. All the rehearsals for this event were held at the Norwich Spiritualist Church.


January 2017 - President Linda Smith, Vice President Dawn Hanratty and twenty-seven members of Norwich Church attended the Jewish Synagogue on Saturday 21st, by an invitation of friendship from Minister Daniel Rosenthol. President of Sheringham Church June Winchester, and eight of her members also joined us. 

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