History of The Review

The Story of ‘The Review’

I wonder if you ever look at the issue number on the front cover of the Review? The May issue was number 800 and so I thought some of you might like to know a bit about how it started. After all it’s going to be another 10 years before we reach 900 and 20 years before 1000. In the church archives we have copies of every issue from No. 1 onwards, which came out in December 1945, after the end of World War II. It was professionally printed by W.J. Delderfield & Sons. Mr Delderfield (father of the well-known novelist) was a member of Glenorchy. It was called The Quarterly Review as it came out in March, June, September and December. After about a year it became monthly – 12 issues a year. In more recent times this has reduced to 10 issues a year.

At the time of the first issue the church was vacant. Rev. Leonard Haley who was minister here from 1939 to October 1945 had just left, having received a call from St. Martin’s Congregational Church at Bude. The idea of publishing a magazine was discussed at a Church Meeting on October 25th 1945 and met with instant approval. Mr. John Borlase Braid (one of the Deacons) became Editor. He always reminded me of George Bernard Shaw. He also sang tenor in our then choir and the higher the notes went the higher did his eyebrows go! He kept a radio shop in Exeter Road and also sold music. Under his editorship the Review was of quite a high literary standard as indeed it still is.

The first issue had a drawing of the church on the front cover with a list in Gothic script of the church oficers, and the welcome which appeared for many years in every issue: “In Christ’s name we give you a cordial welcome to this House of God, to its worship and work, its comfort and peace. Within these walls let no one be a stranger.” The last sentence is of course still used as our motto.

There was then an account of the farewell social for Rev. & Mrs. Haley. His call to Bude came as a great shock to all. It says “we are all possessed of having lost a great personality and an outstanding preacher. The high order of his messages has never varied or flagged.” I can just remember Mr. Haley. Then followed an appeal to keep up the spirituality of the church during the interregnum and for regular attendance.

The Choir was mentioned, having had dificulties due to the war and appealing for more members…. There was a report from the Women’s Fellowship, led by my Grandmother; a summary of the Church Meeting; Home and Foreign Missions raising funds through the London Missionary Society; welcome home to young people who had served in the War; asking for subscribers to the International Bible Reading Association notes; a plea for more people to join the freewill envelope scheme and a short piece about the history of Glenorchy with a list of the ministers up to that time.

Finally there were extracts from a sermon preached on 28th October 1945 by Rev. Dr. W. J. Shergold of Dorking who had been minister here from 1907 to 1912. I can just remember Dr. Shergold who had been instrumental in the Congregational churches in encouraging and seting up training for lay preachers. What was said in the sermon about the state of Christian religion at the end of the war still seems to be to be even more relevant today than 72 years ago.

David Lee