all saints' church, basingstoke
Inter-War Years

The Inter-War Years

In January 1919 it was stated that the organ builder hoped to start erecting the new organ for the church. (More information on the organ can be found here.) The amount raised at that date was £529-11-ld (£529-55p) but £150 was still needed. At this time the congregation considered the installation of a war memorial. It was decided that the space under the organ gallery should be furnished as a chapel and a panel inscribed with the names of the fallen should be placed on the wall. It was felt strongly that whatever was done should be a thank offering to Almighty God for the return of peace and the safety of our land as well as a memorial to those who made the great sacrifice. By May Temple Moore was being asked to draw up a scheme for a simple altar and tablet. The new organ was used for the first time for a Sung Eucharist on Thursday 5th June 1919. Mr S H Anstey, organist at St. Michael’s played on this occasion. In the afternoon Mr Basil Johnson, organist of Eton College gave a recital which showed the organ’s great possibilities. It was said that the parish could be proud of an instrument of so great beauty and richness of tone.  By November 1920 the altar and altar rails of the memorial chapel were in place. Finally, the Rev. H S Footman (Rural Dean and Vicar of Silchester) dedicated the War Memorial Chapel of St. Alban and St. Martin on 5th December 1921.

The area served by All Saints' in the 1920s can be gleaned from the list of roads covered by the District Visitors. The area was quite compact, starting from the Almshouses in London Street, it encompassed Hackwood Road, stretched out a long tentacle to Southlea at Cliddesden and continued round to Winchester Road. The housing in Winchester Road at this time ended roughly at Kings Furlong. In between the roads named there were only twelve others!

For information on the immediate neighbours of the church, refer to the articles on Oxford Terrace.

In December the Rev. Alexander Titley Hall gave the church a new Lectern Bible in memory of his brother Sir Douglas B Hall, Bart. Sir Douglas had on occasion worshipped at All Saints'. The following inscription was illuminated on the inside of the cover:

“Given to the Church of All Saints', Basingstoke, in memory of Captain Sir Douglas Bernard Hall, first Baronet; Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight 1910-1922, who originated the system of Hospital Barges for conveying the wounded on the rivers and canals of France and Belgium during the Great War and Commanded No. 1 Flotilla. Born December 29th 1866. Died June 30th 1923. R. I. P.”

A “kind friend” of All Saints also gave some figures for the Christmas crib and many people spoke of its beauty and its appeal.

A postcard of All Saints’ Church c1920. To the left of the building can be seen the “iron church” (moved from its original position in 1915) with its small single bell turret.

By 1928, All Saints’ had been served by 8 Priests-in-Charge (Parish Curates) who had been housed at various addresses around the town including Beaconsfield Road, Church Square, and at the old Rectory (Chute House) if bachelors. Around this time, money from the All Saints’ Parsonage Fund was used during 1928 to purchase “Pentire” - a large house in Cliddesden Road as a clergy residence. The first occupants appear to be Rev. W R L Palmer, priest-in-charge of All Saints’ 1928-1930 and his wife, Nellie.

On May 25th 1929, Rev. Alexander Titley Hall died. His “In Memoriam” notice which appeared in that year's  June Parish Magazine gave some interesting information on the way the new church of All Saints' came into being. An extract follows:

In Memoriam: Rev. Alexander Titley Hall 

His Memorial is All Saints Church, admittedly one of the most striking and beautiful of the Churches built in modern times.

It is interesting to record the origin of the generous gift. “What” he asked, “does the Parish need?” This was soon after his coming among us, when he used to attend the Iron Church in the morning and St. Michael’s at night.
“Three wants” said the anxious one -

“An enlarged Chancel at St. Michael’s.” (“How can the choir sing in that box?” said an observant visitor.)
(2) A Church in the West. The huge population pass to workshops and pleasure never seeing a church.
(3) The Iron All Saints to be rebuilt in a permanent form.

“And which first?” - “All Saints.”

“How much? I dislike an unfinished Church.” Nehemiah was not more anxious, and a tongue parched with anxiety could hardly frame the sentence “They say £10 a sitting is the cheapest church known, and it would not do to build for less than 500 people.” The £5000 was promised. A Committee formed. Temple Moore chosen architect. Plans looked at. Lowest estimate £6,500. Some very beautiful bricks chosen. Then a voice was heard — “Oh, how I like a stone church - a symbol of the Church of Living Stones now being built into the Church of the Redeemed.” Revised plans. A new estimate and another generous offer in stone, for stone proved more costly than bricks.

Colonel May (the late) offered a peal of Bells. For this the Architect had to strengthen the Tower till at length the £5000 offered had become £18,000, and the town and the Parish were enriched by a building which to see is to admire.

The donor will not be forgotten by those who worship at All Saints. The article in the Creed “I believe in the Communion of Saints” is no idle formula, but a living reality.

The Rev. Alexander Titley Hall was 78 years of age when he died, and the funeral took place at All Saints on 29th May 1929.

 The Rev. Titley Hall's will was published. in July 1929. In it he left to the Vicar and Churchwardens of Basingstoke a sum of £1200  [£97K+ in 2023] to be invested for the purpose of repairs to the fabric, rood or reredos of All Saints or to the restoration of the painting of the Rood or of the Reredos. The money was not to be used to defray the cost of ordinary church cleaning. Rev. Hall also authorised the Trustees, in the event of All Saints' becoming a separate parish to hand the £1200 over to the Vicar and Churchwardens of All Saints'.

For more information on the church's benefactor, see the section: Rev Alexander Titley Hall.

On Wednesday 14th September 1938 there was a great fire at St. Michael’s and the church was afterwards closed for a fortnight - during that period St. Michael’s congregation worshipped at All Saints and other churches in the Parish. All Saints' held a “coming of age” party in October. - the proceeds to go towards new hymn books.