Heritage Open Days is an event held countrywide to give the public an opportunity to visit interesting buildings which are not normally open to the public. We at St Martin’s opened our church on Saturdays 8th and 15th September from 10 am – 4 pm.
A history trail around the church highlighted our wonderful murals by Hemmings and the fantastic windows by Kempe.
This year Revd Colin Henderson had done research into the events of WW1 with more information on some of the fallen from our war memorial, also on Revd Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy (Woodbine Willie) who comforted the dying, giving them a woodbine cigarette, and also on Women of Leeds during the war. As it is the centenary of the end of WW1, Sue, Carrie and her knitting circle produced a named poppy for every person listed on the war memorial and these were displayed in that area.
Research had been done on how St Martin’s fed the hungry during the bad winter of 1891 with one lady (Mrs Margaret Driffield) producing 130 pints of soup three times a week – a pint of soup and a slice of bread costing half an old penny (d). This was compared with today’s menu offered for free by our Community Kitchen to anyone in need (3 course meal plus drinks and a packed meal to take away for Sunday).
One of our windows is dedicated to Canon Jackson who worked tirelessly in the slums of Leeds and in education comparing it today with education projects in our area.
How little things seem to have changed… We find our church at the centre of similar needs to those of more than 100 years ago.
Despite a very wet day we received 34 visitors many of whom stayed so long with us they had no time to go to other planned visits!