The Foundations of Wesley House

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THE FOUNDATIONS of Wesley House 1911-1935

Mrs Helen Hughes


This new edition has been prepared to mark the Centenary of Wesley House

Mrs Helen Hughes May 1941

1911: Beginnings

Mr Michael Gutteridge of Haslemere, Surrey, became known to many Methodists for the first time at the Cardiff Conference of 1911. There he offered to give £5,000 towards building a College in Cambridge for the training of Graduates for the Methodist Ministry. He appealed to others to help him in this undertaking. The offer was gratefully accepted, and from that time Mr Gutteridge regularly set aside sums of money towards a Trust fund for this purpose.

1911: Dr Ritson

Throughout the early years of planning, the greatest possible help was qiven to Mr Gutteridge by Dr Ritson, at that time Secretary of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Their friendship dated from the time when Dr Ritson had visited Mr & Mrs Gutteridge in their home in Naples in 1906.

As one of the Vice-Presidents, and a member of the Committee of the Society, Mr Gutteridge often went to the Bible House, and took advantage of the opportunity to discuss Wesley House affairs with Dr Ritson.

1913: William Greenhalgh

In 1913, when the Rev H. Maldwyn Hughes was Minister of Southbank Road, Southport, he was consulted by his friend, Mr William Greenhalgh about a gift he intended to bequeath to Methodism. Mr Gutteridge’s scheme was suggested as one worthy of support, and meetings took place between these generous laymen. When he died in 1920, Mr Greenhalgh left £20,000 for the endowment of the scheme. His only stipulation was that a few nongraduates might be admitted to the College.

1920: 2 Brookside

In 1920 Mr Gutteridge paid several visits to Cambridge with Mr Albert Reid of London (who also gave £5,000) in a vain attempt to find a suitable site. Later in the year Mr Gutteridge made arrangements with the authorities of Cheshunt (Congregational) College to rent 2 Brookside. This house, in addition to providing accommodation for the Principal and his family, had rooms suitable for a Lecture Room and a

Dr John Holland Ritson Mr William Greenhalgh

Common Room. As a result it was felt that the time had come to take a definite step forward.

1921: The first students

At the Conference of 1920 the Rev Dr H Maldwyn Hughes, then at Clapham, was designated Principal of the new College which was afterwards called Wesley House. Sir Henry Holloway had become interested in the scheme by that time and was appointed Treasurer.

Dr Hughes and his family moved to Cambridge in June 1921 and on October 5th the first six members of the House arrived and were accommodated in Cheshunt College. They were:

• EW Baker BA (Christ’s College, Cambridge)

• HS Collins BA (St John’s College, Cambridge)

• Harold Roberts MA (Bangor)

• GE Grieve BSc (Liverpool)

• GB Jackson BA (Manchester), son of the Rev George Jackson

• WR Shearer BA (Leeds)

These first Wesley House men, while sharing fully the fellowship so generously extended to them by the Cheshunt students, built up their own communal life

and traditions. Invaluable help was given by Mr Baker and Mr Collins in introducing other members of the House in University etiquette. In those early days both Dr Hughes and the men were greatly indebted to Dr Cave (Principal) and the Rev EW Johnson (Tutor) of Cheshunt College, also to Mr Reddaway, then Censor of Fitzwilliam Hall (as it was called at that time) through affiliation with which the men became members of the University.

The Rev H and Mrs Bisseker of the Leys School were the kindest and most helpful friends. In their house an At Home was held on October 12th to introduce Dr & Mrs Hughes to members of the University and Town.

An invitation to the Bisseker’s ‘At Home’

No. 2 Brookside, the first home of the new College

Wesley House students 1921-1922

At the suggestion of Sir Henry Holloway the lawn of Wesley House was made into a tennis court which gave new interest to the life of the men. They also shared the Fitzwilliam Sports ground in Oxford Road.

Lectures in Theology were given in the lecture room by Dr Hughes and the men attended lectures in other subjects given by University lecturers. Gradually arrangements were made for preaching appointments both inside and outside the Circuit and a week-night service at Romsey Town was held during term. Later, work among young people was undertaken there.

1922: New men

At the Conference of 1922 four new men were allocated to Wesley House:

• D Llewellyn Jones BA (Aberystwyth)

• S Snoxell BA (Fitzwilliam House)

• HE Thorne BA (Oxon)

• EH Wright BA (Manchester) These proved a welcome addition to the House and made their contribution to its life. The first student

from America joined Wesley House that term. Mr LB Henry BA (Syracuse, USA) and Mrs Henry took rooms in Bateman Street and both were welcomed into the fellowship and work of the College.

1922: A new site

On October 12th 1922 the Trustees met to consider the question of a site in Jesus Lane where tumbledown stables and a row of derelict shops stood. This ground was the property of Jesus College and negotiations were opened between Sir Henry Holloway and the College authorities by whom he was well known. They eventually agreed to sell


Sir Aston Webb’s new plans for Wesley House, as published in ‘The Architect’ in 1923

the whole of this property and the houses in Jesus Lane from No. 23 to No. 32 inclusive with some additional land.

1922: New plans

Sir Aston Webb was asked to prepare plans which were submitted to the Trustees on Dec 12th 1922 and adopted. These plans were exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1923 when Sir Aston Webb was its President.

1922: John Finch

In November 1922 Mr and Mrs John Finch spent a day at Wesley House. Conversations with Dr Hughes had aroused their interest in the work and from that time they showed themselves to be kind and generous friends. The Finch Travelling Scholarship which enables a Wesley House man to study abroad for one year, will be their lasting memorial. The first student to enjoy this privilege was Erastus Evans who went to Marburg in 1928.

From the first, Mr Gutteridge showed his personal interest in Wesley House by occasional visits and contact with the men. Mrs Gutteridge, who had partly inspired the scheme, was an invalid at that time and was unfortunately unable to accompany

him. After her death in 1922 Mr Gutteridge came more frequently and would occasionally stay a few days. When the site had been acquired and the plans drawn he gave many hours to consideration of the details involved.

Mr John Finch

1923: Illness

At the end of December 1922 Dr Hughes was taken ill and after term had begun in January 1923 he was obliged to leave home for some weeks. No words could praise too highly the thoughtful and considerate kindness of the men during the days of anxiety and their conduct when left to carry on their work in the absence of the Principal. They attended the Theological lectures of Dr Cave that term.

In April 1923 Dr Hughes took up his work again and it was discovered that HE Thorne was not able to return. Through the kindness of Sir Henry Lunn he was sent to Montana Vermala (Switzerland) but he died there from the tuberculosis which he had contracted during the Great War. He was a quiet and self-effacing man who greatly endeared himself to the other members of the College.

1923: Tenders and leavers

On June 6th 1923 tenders were invited for the building. That of Messrs Coulson & Son of Cambridge was accepted and the work was begun. From that time Trustees’ meetings and House Committees

were more frequent and many visitors were taken to “view the site”.

In June 1923 five of the “pioneers” left Wesley House, having taken the Cambridge Theological Tripos. Mr Baker won the Carus Prize, the first of many brilliant successes which have been gained by Wesley House men in the University. To those who left then the College is greatly indebted for the tradition they created and many contacts they established with University life. They shared in the activities of the S.C.M. and the evangelistic groups which visited industrial centres. The “Wesley Society” in those early years held their meetings by invitation in the rooms of Fellows, the Headmaster’s House at the Leys School and Wesley Manse. Wesley House gladly took its place on the rota and held its meeting in the Common Room.

1923: Sir Henry Holloway

In August 1923 Sir Henry Holloway went Home after a short illness and Wesley House lost one of its best friends. He gave generously to the Building Fund and on the Committee his practical advice was invaluable. He grudged no time or thought for the

HE Thorne Sir Henry Holloway

many problems connected with the new building. He conducted the negotiations with the Master and Fellows of Jesus College for the purchase of the site in Jesus Lane. It is doubtful whether this could have been done so successfully without him. His cheerful spirit and ready sympathy were an inspiration to those who turned to him for guidance.

At the first Trustees’ meeting after the death of St Henry Holloway, when a standing vote had recorded their sense of great loss, the Rt Hon TR Ferens was invited to become Treasurer in his place, with Mr Harold Payne (who was elected to the vacant trusteeship) as Deputy Treasurer.

1923: New men

When term began in October 1923 GE Greeve was elected Chairman and the new men were:

• GW Bowken (non-graduate)

• Harold S Darby BA (Cardiff)

• SR Hayward BA (Fitzwilliam Hall)

• EJ Jones (non-graduate)

• Hedley Hodkin BA (Sheffield)

• JB Horrocks BA (Manchester)

• HK Sanders (non-graduate).

So for the first time the wish of Mr Greenhalgh for non-graduate men to be admitted was fulfilled.

1923: Clearing the site

The work of clearing the site went on continuously during the winter months and a high wooden fence was erected which hid these operations from the passer-by. The removal of some of the smaller houses made it necessary to reinforce the wall of No. 31 and it was decided to take No. 32 for the Principal’s Lodge. This is a Georgian house with panelled rooms which is said to have been built by a butler at Jesus College. It had been a lodging house for some years and a few structural alterations were necessary. No. 23 was taken as the Porter’s Lodge and temporarily adapted for the use of Wesley House. The front rooms became Common Room and Lecture Room, and the Rev Harold Roberts, who returned in October as Assistant Tutor, had his rooms in that house also.

1924: Building progress

During 1924 more rapid progress was made on the building. The first section completed consisted of the A and B blocks which were furnished and occupied before the Library and C block were ready for use. At the end of May Term GE Grieve, EH Wright, and DH Jones went down with the good wishes of the House.

The time had come when the close association with Cheshunt College was to be severed. It had been a very happy and friendly arrangement but the ties were loosened by the removal of the Principal and his family to 32 Jesus Lane, the giving up of 2 Brookside as Wesley House and the placing of some men in lodgings in October.

1924: New men

The new men were:

• WF Flemington (Jesus Coll: Oxon)

• DO Soper (St Catharine’s: Cambs)

• JB Webb (S. Africa)

• WP Baker (Wadham, Oxon)

• LA Parsons (Jesus Coll: Cambs)

• DO Williams (Aberyswyth)

All met for lectures at 23 Jesus Lane and for Hall at Cheshunt College with Dr Hughes and Mr Roberts and occasionally they dined at Fitzwilliam Hall.

Mr Horrocks became a useful member of the “Billy Boat” and before he went down was Captain of a well trained crew. Mr Hodkin distinguished himself in cross-country running.

1925: Inauguration

The necessary part of the building was due to be ready by March 25th 1925. The work of furnishing was then carried out after much consultation with Mr Gutteridge. He personally chose linen and rugs, and suggested many details to add to the comfort of the men’s rooms.

Pictures for the Common Room had been hung in Brookside. To these he added the fine “Interior of Toledo Cathedral” which, with plants for the borders, was brought in his car from Haslemere.


The porter, named Woolley, living in No. 23, was joined at this time by Morgan as Assistant Porter. When Woolley left in 1927 Morgan became Head Porter (non-resident) and his brother in law, Burrell and his wife took up residence in the Porters’ Lodge. Their work together has been one of the outstanding features of Wesley House life and their helpfulness in any and every emergency, and in the daily life of the College, has been fully appreciated by staff and students alike.

The men came up on April 20th and took possession of their own building very gladly.

On Wednesday April 22nd an Inaugural Dinner was given by Mr and Mrs John Finch in the Dining Hall. The catering and waiting were carried out by Messrs. GP Hawkins and Son of the Dorothy Café and the domestic staff were entertained at the same time. This was a great occasion, deeply appreciated by everyone as the speeches showed.

1925: Settling in

For a time the Common Room was Chapel and Lecture Room as well and a miscellaneous collection of books was lent for it by Mr Reddaway, Censor of Fitzwilliam Hall. Through the kindness of Mr Lamplough and some friends, a piano was given to the Common Room and, later, a harmonium.

The Dining Hall, above the Common Room, has a well-planned kitchen behind it and below is the office of the Housekeeper, Miss Burgess, whose father had been a member of the staff of the Leys School. She was the first lady to take charge of the domestic arrangements. Her staff consisted at first of a cook, a kitchen maid and two “bedders”, all daily workers. Miss Burgess lived in her own flat in Cambridge away from the College. Her capable organisation of the kitchen and domestic work contributed very largely to the happy spirit of the early days in Wesley House.

When the site was first bought there stood in the north east corner a beautiful chestnut tree. This was a charming addition to the court but in summer several of the College windows were darkened by the foliage and it was feared that the building might suffer eventually. It was decided to cut it down and as the upper part of the trunk was found to be rotten, the authorities were justified.

The work in the Library went on and when completed was greatly admired by all who saw it. The panelling in Austrian oak is an example of good craftmanship by Messrs Coulson and Son. Dr Ritson suggested the symbols from the Catacombs for the finials of the book cases at both ends of the Library.

By the wish of Mr Gutteridge this was named the Ada Gutteridge Library in memory of his wife and he brought a small portrait of Mrs Gutteridge to stand in one of the glass-fronted cases at the end.

Mr ES Lamplough gave the copy of the Williams Portrait of John Wesley which hangs there, Mr Posnett of Runcorn presented the Roubilliac bust and the copy of the Horsley Portrait of John Wesley which is in the Lecture Room. From the earliest days books were gradually assembled for a Library and to these were added some borrowed from Headingley College which had been closed owing to the Great War. When that College re-opened in 1930 they were returned and since then the present very fine collection has been built up.

The men who left in 1925 were SR Haymard, Hedley Hodkin and HS Darby. Mr Hayward became Assistant Tutor at Richmond, and Mr Hodkin took a similar post at Didsbury.

1925: C block completes

During the Long Vacation C Block was finished and it was decided to build a corner section with the Assistant Tutor’s rooms on the top storey, and a room for a temporary Chapel underneath. This room was fitted with a dais, surrounded by a Communion rail, inside which stood a Communion Table and two chairs. A reading desk, the harmonium, rushseated chairs and blue linen curtains completed the furnishing. In this “upper room” morning and evening prayers were held, the Friday evening services and a Communion Service at the beginning and end of term. It was an addition which enriched the life of the House.

When the Meeting House in Jesus Lane was undergoing alterations, the Friends were glad to use it for their meeting on Sunday mornings.

On October 13th the new term began with the addition of seven new men:

• Erastus Evans,

• Maldwyn L Edwards


1925: Formal Opening

On October 23rd 1925 the formal opening of Wesley House took place. At noon the Principal conducted the earlier part of a service of Dedication in the Lecture Hall (below the Library) which was crowded with representative Methodists and members of the University.

Dr Ritson, then President of the Conference, took charge of the proceedings later and preached. He spoke also with much appreciation of the welcome given to Wesley House by the University, especially by the Master and Fellows of Jesus College. Mr ES Lamplough accompanied the hymns on the harmonium and Mr Gutteridge was on the platform. For him it was a day of great thankfulness. The feelings of those present were well expressed in singing “Now thank we all our God” and “We come unto our fathers’ God”.

At 1.15 a distinguised company met for lunch at the Lion Hotel. The Principal who presided had on his right hand the Vice-Chancellor (Dr Seward, Master of Downing) and, on the left, Dr Ritson (the President of the Conference). Mr Gutteridge, Sir Thomas Barlow, the Mayor of Cambridge (Mr Hartree), the Secretary of the Conference, Mrs Ritson and Mrs Hughes were also at the High Table.

Amongst the guests were the Master of Jesus College, the Master of Selwyn, the Master of Christ’s College, the President of Magdalene, the Master of Trinity Hall, the Principal of Newnham, the Public Orator (Dr Glover), the Regius Professor of Divinity (Dr Havine), Prof FC Burkitt, Prof Bethune-Baker, and Prof Sir Arthur Quiller Couch. Nonconformity in the University was represented by Principal Oman of Westminster, Principal Cave of Cheshunt, Dr Andersson Scott and Dr Carnegie Simpson. Among other guests were the Headmaster of the Leys School, the Chairman of the East Anglia District, Dr WTA Barber, Dr Workman, Prof Lofthouse, Mr John Finch, Mr HW Payne, Mr RE Holloway, Mr RJ Holloway, Mr ES Lamplough and the students of Wesley House. Dr Ritson proposed “Our Guests” to which the Vice-Chancellor replied, and the toast of Wesley House was given by the Regius Professor, to

Seating plan for a lunch at the Lion Hotel given by John Finch in 1925 to celebrate the formal opening of the College


which the Principal and Mr Gutteridge replied. After lunch the Principal led some of the guests back to Wesley House, where a delightful little ceremony took place in the Dining Hall. Sir Thomas Barlow presented a portrait to Mr Gutteridge for the College. In a few happy words he explained that this portrait had been the property of his life-long friend, Mr Buckstone Browne, the eminent surgeon, and that he himself had greatly admired for a long time. To his great joy, Mr Buckstone Browne had given him the portrait on his eightieth birthday and now he wished Mr Gutteridge to accept it for Wesley House. After Mr Gutteridge had suitably acknowledged the gift, Mr Buckstone Browne gave an interesting story of his association with it.

The portrait hung for some years in the place of honour in the Dining Hall. It represents an elderly gentleman in a russet coat, his scanty grey hair framing a face of quiet and attractive strength. It is attributed to Romney and resembles in some respoects his “Portrait of a Young Gentleman” which hangs in the Fitzwilliam Museum. Mr Buckstone Browne believes that it is a portait of John Wesley. For a while correspondents to the Times and other papers debated the points of subject and artists. The controversy died, but the portrait remains, the valued gift of two devoted and generous friends. Mr Buckstone Browne also presented a china bust of John Wesley by Enoch Wood.

During the afternoon the President of the Conference and Mrs Ritson held a Reception for the Methodists of Cambridge and the District for whom tea was provided in the Common Room and Dining Hall.

At 6pm there was a Methodist Meeting in the Lecture Hall under the Chairmanship of Mr Gutteridge. After prayers by the Rev H Bisseken, Headmaster of the Leys School, and apologies for absence had been read, Mr Gutteridge told of the events which had led up to that “happy day”. He referred with deep gratitude to friends who had helped the scheme but who had passed away:- Mr William Greenhalgh, Mr Albert Read, Sir Henry Holloway and Mr Williamson Lamplough. He said it was hoped to build a College Chapel and a residence for the Principal some day. The President (Dr Ritson) followed with an address on the Wesley quotations in the Library “The best of all is God is with us” and “I

look upon the whole world as my parish”. Dr Barber, the Rev FL Wiseman and the Principal also spoke. And so, with prayer and thanksgiving, Wesley House took its place as one of the Theological Colleges of Methodism.

1926: Gutteridge Portrait

In September 1926 Mr Gutteridge’s portait, painted by AT Nowell, was hung in the Dining Hall. It is a fine piece of work, faithfully executed, but those who knew Mr Gutteridge best would have liked a suggestion of the kindly good humour, so difficult to portray, which often lit up his face in conversation.

1927: A Wesley man abroad

In 1927 EJ Jones went to Western Nigeria where he has carried on pioneer work for many years. His successful Scout Troop at Ibadam has been the means of bringing in many native workers to build up the Church. Since Mr Jones was joined by his wife they have introduced a travelling dispensary and

Mr Michael Gutteridge by AT Nowell

Rev EJ Jones with the Scout Troop at Ibadam, Nigeria

have alleviated much suffering in the neighbourhood of Ifaki where no missionary or doctor had worked before.

1927: Newton Flew

At the Conference of 1927 the Rev R Newton Flew was appointed to the Greenhalgh Chair of New Testament Theology, and on September 27th he came with Mrs Flew and Anthony (aged 4) to live at

31 Jesus Lane. Dr Flew’s ability and scholarship were well-known and his enthusiasm for the work and interests of the College were soon manifest.

Under his care the Library developed rapidly and he showed a great skill in acquiring books of the greatest value to theological students. His election to the Board of Divinity enhanced the prestige of Wesley House, whilst his lectures were appreciated by a community wider than the College.

When Dr Hughes retired in 1937 it was fitting that Dr Flew should succeed him, as one who had helped to develop the traditions of the Family and who had so many contacts with the University and with Methodism.

1927: More building

In the Spring of 1927 the Trustees of Wesley House met to discuss the building of the Principal’s Lodge and the Chapel. In the original plan, drawn by Sir Aston Webb, provision had been made for an extension of College rooms on the east side of the court with a Chapel adjourning and the Principal’s Lodge abutting on Jesus Lane. As the extension was not needed, it was decided that the Principal’s Lodge should be built in its place and the Chapel next to it. Owing to the ill health of Sir Aston Webb, his son, Mr Maurice Webb, prepared the new plans. This involved taking in the garden of 32 Jesus Lane and making

Dr Newton Flew

some alterations to outbuildings there. The plans were drawn and were passed in December 1927 and the work was undertaken by Messrs Martin and Son of Northampton. Many delays incidental to the building trade occured but the Lodge was ready for occupation when Term began on October 7th 1929.

1929: Building the Chapel

During Dr Ritson’s Presidential year (1925) he inaugurated a Forward Movement in the Theological Training of Methodism and Mr Edmund Lamplough made a very generous endowment of Chairs in four of the Colleges. Prompted by Dr Ritson his gift to Wesley House was the very beautiful Chapel, in memory of his brother, Mr Williamson Lamplough, who passed away in October 1925.

While the walls were being built Mr Gutteridge and Mr Lamplough visited many of the College Chapels in Cambridge studying the various types of interior decoration.

The structure was completed in May 1930. The panelling and furnishings are of finest English oak and at that time the walls were of pure white plaster. An organ, perfectly suited in tone to the size of the building, was included in Mr Lamplough’s gift

and the construction of the Reader’s Desk with the balcony above it was designed by Mr Webb to give Mr Edmund Lamplough The Principal’s Lodge and Chapel under construction

and, above it, a Latin inscription pays an eloquent tribute to the memory of Mr Williamson Lamplough and the modesty of his brother. The text carved above the outer door, “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart” was chosen by Mr Edmund Lamplough.

A short informal service was held in the Chapel on Friday evening May 16th when Mr Lamplough played the organ. The Principal and Dr Flew and their famillies were present, and the domestic staff. The address, given by Dr Hughes, was on the text, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the House of the Lord”. He stressed the hope that the chapel might be not only a place where prayers were said twice daily but a spot sacred to private prayer and devotions.

1930: Chapel Opening

The opening ceremony took place on May 17th 1930. After lunching with the students in Hall and addressing them there, Dr Lofthouse, President of the Conference, preached on Truth, Goodness and Beauty as ideals for which the Chapel stood.

To the great regret of all, Mr Gutteridge was ill and unable to be present, but he was represented by his younger son, Mr Norman Gutteridge. Professor HC Gutteridge was also away but Mrs HC Gutteridge

and their son, Mr M Gutteridge were there.

The Chapel was filled with a gathering representative of the University and Methodism. The Vice-Chancellor was unavoidably absent, but Dr Fitzpatrick, President of Queens’ College, his predecessor, took his place. The Masters of Jesus, Sidney Sussex and Pembroke Colleges, with the Principals of Ridley Hall, Westcott House and Westminster College were present and the Rev EW Johnson (Tutor) represented Dr Cave, Principal of Cheshunt College. The Theology Faculty attended in the person of the Divinity Professors and other lecturers and Fellows of Colleges. The Public Orator (Dr TR Glover) and the Mistress of Girton were among those present, also Mr BL Manning (Jesus College) and the Rev Boys-Smith (St John’s College).

The Rev FL Wiseman, the Rev Dr JH Ritson, the Rev Conrad Skinner, with the circuit ministers, Gilroy Smith and others represented Methodism. Mr & Mrs John Finch, Prof & Mrs TM Lowry, Mr A Page-Grubb (Secretary) were present for the Governors and Mr WH Balgarnie for the Headmaster of the Leys School.

After the service the President held a Reception in the Lecture Hall for the friends of Cambridge and the District Methodism and nearly 200 guests were entertained to tea in the Dining Hall and Common Room.

At 5pm Mr Allan Brown gave an Organ Recital which displayed the beautiful tone of the instrument in a varied programme. Wesley House was fortunate in having as a student then J Alan Kay, a trained musician who became the first organist and greatly enriched the services of the Chapel.

A beautiful manuscript Service Book bound in blue tooled leather was compiled and presented by Clifford Buckroyd and Ralph Bethel for use in the Reader’s Desk. This labour of love was greatly appreciated and the book has been much admired by all who have seen it.

1930: Articulation

Clear articulation and correct voice production were among the essentials of preaching often emphasised by the Principal. In the early years when the Wesley House men shared the life of Cheshunt College,

The opening of the Chapel

lessons in these subjects were given by Mr Field-Hyde. In 1929 the Rev CM Rice, Rector of Medbourne and Choral Scholar of King’s College, undertook the work. Since then, with unfailing good humour and patient perseverance Mr Rice has laid the congregations of Methodism under a debt of gratitude.

1931: 10th Anniversary

In May 1931 the first Commemoration was held to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Foundation of Wesley House.

The distinguished guest on that occasion was Herr Heinrich Hermelink, Professor of Church History in the University of Marburg, who was entertained for the week-end by Dr & Mrs Flew. On Saturday, May 9th, a dinner was given in his honour by Wesley House to members of the University. The Divinity Faculty was represented by Dr Navine, Professors Kennett, Bethune-Baker, Creed and Burkitt. The historians present were Dr Coulton and Dr Glover.

The Commemoration was celebrated in the afternoon of Monday May 11th when Herr Hermelink addressed representatives of the University and friends of Wesley House in the Lecture Room on “Some recent tendencies in German Theology” and tea was served later.

On Sunday May 10th Dr Flew conducted the morning service in Wesley Church and Herr Hermelink preached. At the end of his sermon he said that his grandfather, father and brother had been missionaries in Bangalore (Madras). In the Great War he himself had been wounded by a British bullet fired by an Indian soldier. As the bullet was never extracted he felt that he always carried a piece of England next to his heart. It was the first time that a German had preached in Cambridge since the Great War and a large congregation listened with deep attention to the Professor.

Herr Hermelink lunched with Mr BL Manning in Jesus College on Sunday and dined in Corpus Christi College. He dined on Monday in Wesley House with

Dr Flew, Professor Hermelink, Dr Hughes, 1931

the men and was greatly impressed by their singing “For he’s a jolly good fellow” which was repeated when he left on Tuesday morning.

In 1933 Norman Goldhawk went to Marburg as Finch Scholar and became greatly attached to Herr Hermelink with whom he visited Italy and saw Rome. His students were greatly attached to him but through the growing ill-will of the authorities he was eventually dismissed from his Professorship.

1931: The Chapel decorations

Early in 1931 Mr Harold Speed was commissioned by Mr Lamplough to decorate the walls of the Chapel. The Apse painting, with the central figure of Christ, was completed at the end of the Easter Term. Only those who saw Mr Speed there realised how much of himself he put into his work. Though lovely in itself, that picture is only fully understood when seen with the wall frescoes, which were finished in 1933. They are painted on canvas and each helps to illustrate the artist’s idea of “the sunshine of the Presence of God in daily life”. Rays of light from the golden orb in the apse, which typifies God the Father (“without beginning or end”) are carried through the ploughman’s and shepherd’s pictures on the left and those showing the fisherman’s work and home-life on the right. The stream, flowing from the golden orb and suggested in the fresco represents the fertilising influence of the Holy Spirit in the world.

A Davy lamp stands high above the Reader’s Desk. It was given to Mr Lamplough by a Methodist Minister, the Rev George Kendall who worked for many years among miners. Though a great part of their lives is spent away from the sunshine, they have, in the lamp, the symbol of the Word which is Light. This lamp had actually belonged to a miner and had been used by him in his work.

Each fresco suggests a different aspect of the work of the ministry and was painted by Mr Speed as appropriate for a Theological College. Though the shepherd and land-girl care for their flock among the Cumbrian hills, the artist would have us think of One who said to His disciple, “Feed my lambs”. The fishermen, who carry their creels on the Cornish coast, remind us of His purpose for those who should


be “fishers of men”. The ploughshare strikes into the soil of Wales, but it symbolises the preparation which the stony evil of the heart needs before it can receive “the seed which is the Word of God”. The home-life shown on the lower slope of an Italian mountain reminds us that the simplest home is a symbol of the world as the Father’s House, where the sunshine of His Presence may always be found. The group of figures in the lower part of the Apse reveals the nearness of the Master to us all. But, while many are absorbed in daily tasks and struggle with sin, He is discovered only by those of the childlike heart, who see and respond to His outstretched Hands.

The West Window

Although Mr Gutteridge was ill and unable to visit Wesley House, he still kept his interest in its

activities and Dr Hughes visited him occasionally to tell him about the students and their work. His gift to the Chapel is the stained glass West Window. Mr Gutteridge visited many churches and many designs were submitted to him before he made his final decision on the subject and its execution.

In contrast to the occupation of daily life portrayed on the walls, the window suggests to us the Holy City, with its golden strand separated from us by “the narrow stream of death”. The artist is Mr Reginald Bell of Marylebone.

1934: Commemoration of Benefactors

On February 8th 1934 the first Dinner in Commemoration of Benefactors was given. Dr Ritson and Mr Lamplough, to whom Wesley House is so greatly indebted, were the guests of honour. Dr Ritson preached at the evening service and the House Governors resident in Cambridge were present at the service and the Dinner.

The work done for the Theological Colleges by both Dr Ritson and Mr Lamplough was gratefully recalled by all who spoke, and much gratitude for the gift of the Chapel was expressed to Mr Lamplough.

Mr Gutteridge went Home on May 26th 1935 at the age of 93. For two years he had been an invalid but his prayers and thoughts to the last were with Wesley House and the work to which he was so deeply devoted.

A memorial service was held in the Chapel on Tuesday June 11th. Owing to the illness of the Principal, Dr Flew gave the address. He recalled Mr Gutteridge’s life-long devotion to Methodism, his reputation for integrity in Naples (his home for many years), his generosity to the British and Foreign Bible Society and his zeal for the Training of the Ministry.

To his foresight and generosity Wesley House owes its existence. Through his love and prayers the Church of God has been and will be enriched by the life and work of those who have gone from the College to preach “the unsearchable riches of Christ in this land and throughout the world”.

The West Window


There are names in this book which will not be found in the Minutes of Conference. For some, the way of service has led to other communions, where they have felt that they could best employ their gifts. Others, again, have been unable to give themselves to the work and responsibilities of the separated

ministry. To them the life of a layman offers many opportunities of service to their fellow-men. But none of these changes can loosen the bond which binds all the members of the family to one another and to Wesley House.

Dr & Mrs Maldwyn Hughes, and their family

A plan of the Wesley House site as it was in 1893


A note in the Wesley House archive from Dr WF Flemington informs us that “the earliest minute books of the Governors’ Meeting were unfortunately lost (left in a train and never recovered).” The Governors asked Helen Hughes, wife of the first Principal, Dr Maldwyn Hughes, to create a record of Wesley House’s beginnings. The minutes of the meeting in June 1941 include this record:

Replacement of “lost minutes”. A manuscript history of the House from its early days, illustrated by photographs, has been completed by Mrs Maldwyn Hughes, and was shown to the Governors. It will be placed in the Library and should become a valuable “Q” document for future historians. Mrs Hughes is to be thanked by letter for her work.

This publication is a transcript of Mrs Hughes’ history.
Published with support from the Wesley Historical Society

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