The caption, “Clergy, Choir and Wardens of Howdon Parish Church (St Paul’s), Sept. 1916”, is chalked on a board held up by the two boys in the front row. The gentleman with white hair is presumably the Rev. John Hughes and the picture may commemorate his retirement at the end of September 1916.
The parish had been created in 1859, but when Mr Hughes first arrived from Annfield Plain services were still being conducted in an iron building in Church Street, Willington Quay. It fell to him to organise the building of the present church, which began in 1874 and was consecrated in 1876.
He oversaw the opening of mission halls at Rosehill Road and Chapel Street, but his retirement came before the completion of St Paul’s.
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