Another Deanery church (NZ186679) – and I was asked to take a Friday morning communion for them on 25 May. I rarely drive into Newcastle along the Stamfordham Road and it is only when you look at the old maps and the history leaflet that you realise how industrial it all was – there is a smashing one called “Westerhope Walkabout”, produced by www.newcastlecommunityheritage.org. I drove past the site of North Walbottle Colliery (1891-1968, once employing 1,300 men). Now there are modern estates and yellow rape fields on the other side of the road.
The church was built in 1866 to house a congregation on 200 people, and extended in 1911. We only had 7 of us for our communion, but they were a friendly bunch and it was a pleasure to be there. Their annual report is positive and up-beat.
The East Window was installed in November 1999, designed by Duncan Storr of Darlington, and manufactured by Mark Smith of Newcastle. According to a paper they gave me, it is based on Genesis 1.1. Air, water, fire and earth flow down from heaven, and lower down images symbolise human interaction with the elements. Flame shapes and lava flows, water streaming over and around rocks and stones, then the elements come back together in a large spiral. There is a coal seam which runs through the centre of this spiral. “I have represented life’s imprint firmly set within the elemental forces with the image of the fossil ammonite.”