All Souls


A map of Nottingham dated 1866 shows that the eventual site of All Souls Church was in the Parish of Lenton, the centre of Ilkeston Road being the boundary. Christ Church on Ilkeston Road, New Radford, opened in 1845 and was located only a few hundred yards distant. In 1886 a corrugated iron building was erected in the area of the proposed All Souls Church, the location is not known but it was probably close to the eventual site and Christ Church. In November 1892 the foundation stone for the new church was laid by The Lord Mayor Councillor R Fitzhugh on a site at the corner of Ilkeston Road and Lenton Boulevard which had been purchased the year before. A new Parish was to be formed in 1896 out of the Parish of St Peters Radford with a Perpetual Curate in charge. The Rev W Selwyn who had been working in the iron chapel since 1886 was not given the new church, that was to be offered to the Rev Arthur Birrel Good in July 1896 just before All Souls was consecrated on the 6 December 1896. From the time of its opening all the seats at the church were free.

The church was not completed to the original plans, due to funding issues. The reduced building was nearly £2,000 less than the planned version. The main omissions were a reduction in the height of the tower and the deletion of part of the chancel. The new Vicar donated £1,046, the Bishop of Southwell £250 and Wollaton Colliery, where many of the parishioners worked £50. No record of where the remaining finance came from was found.

On the Sunday following the consecration 50 people attended communion, on the following Sunday only nine attended, but soon after opening the Sunday School recorded 429 scholars supported by 33 teachers. For several years afterwards the Sunday school enjoyed an annual summer outing to Burton Joyce with games played followed by a tea party. In the inaugural year a branch of the Mothers Union was also formed. 1896 also saw the purchase of the Iron Church and its removal and re-erection closer to All Souls where it was to be used as the Parish Room. The building was previously rented from the Nottingham Spiritual Union. A parishioner gave £75 to purchase extra land to accommodate it. This reflects the growing population of the parish which the 1901 census shows as 6,776 rising to 8,135 in 1911.

In 1902 Mrs. Pearson-Gregory purchased a piece of land on Lenton Boulevard next to the church and paid for the building of a new vicarage at a total cost of £1,970. Prior to this the vicar had been living nearby at Bramcote House on Bramcote Street.

The first decade of the 20th century was one of almost continuous expansion of services for All Souls. In 1903 an additional Mission Room was opened in Ledger Yard. By 1905 the Sunday school had grown to 484 scholars with 43 teachers and 263 communicants attended the Easter Day celebration. 1910 saw the purchase of a large plot of land costing £450 on west side of Lenton Boulevard nearly opposite the vicarage for the erection of the Parish Rooms. Only one year later in 1911 another church hall was opened in Radford Marsh (furtherwest on Ilkeston Road) at a cost of £2,840. The onset of World War I in 1914 was preceded by the completion and opening of the new Parish Rooms. Throughout all the above the parish was financially well supported by J.D. and W.C Player, and Lady Henry Bentinck, who in the winter of 1915, paid for a three month supply of soup for a large number of poorer parishioners who were said to be 'near to starving.' Whilst the war occupied many parishioners, All Souls continued to maintain and expand its services to the community. One new initiative was the 1916 launch of a Girl Guide group organised by the Rev A B Good’s daughter.

After the installation of the War Memorial Tablet in 1920, little is recorded for the 1920’s and 30’s. Money was not easily available in the parish in the 1920’s. In 1924 a concert organised by the vicar only generated a collection of £6. 6s., the orchestra charged £10. 14s. for their services, but the Sunday schools were still attracting increasing numbers of young people; the 1929 report claimed 625 scholars with 63 teachers on the register.

A copy of the October 1931 parish magazine shows the vicar residing at Pelham Crescent, The Park, which was outside the parish. Why he was not using the vicarage adjacent to All Souls is not mentioned. The same publication also records the many activities available. Three services were held every Sunday, Holy Communion at 8 am, Matins at 10.45 am and evensong at 6.30 pm. Mass was celebrated on Wednesday at 8am. In the Parish Hall the Mothers Union met on Monday, the Church Fellowship group on Tuesday, the Scouts four evenings a week, the Girl Guides were also active. Similar groups met at the Radford Marsh Mission Hall.

The last year of the 1930s again saw a world war force change. The Parish Hall was requisitioned by the Army for the duration, not being handed back to the community until 1946. The next major event which changed the church was the 1943 union of All Souls with nearby Christ Church. A curate was appointed to assist the vicar of the extended parish. It was not until 1952 that a house was purchased for the curate. Following the demolition of Christ Church in 1951 the parishes were united. In 1954 plans were prepared for the completion church by adding a chancel. Funding once again proved to be outside the resources of the church.

In 1979 the old All Souls was closed and the land sold to the Nottingham City Council for the sum of £6,600. Demolition soon followed, but that was not the end of All Souls. Prior to the closure and the sale of the site plans had been agreed which included a new All Souls church set within the replacement multipurpose building to be known as All Souls Church and Community Centre. The dedication took place at the end of 1979.

In 2006 the Churches of St Peters Radford and All Souls became a united benefice.