4. Early 1950s

3 January 1950 – Agreement on the hall plan reached with architect.

30 March 1950 – Diocesan approval of the plan announced by the Vicar to the full committee.

Sketch of the proposed Church Hall January 1950

20 April 1950 A Social was given in the Ballroom of the Ocean Hotel. Copies of the plan for the proposed Church hall were distributed to supporters and further explained by the Vicar Rev G W Taverner of Rottingdean. Some alterations were later made, an organ chamber was formed by taking part of the ladies cloakroom and an outer door was planned for the vestry.
Funds raised by – Donations, Collecting Boxes, Whist Drives, Bazaar Savings Tickets

25 May 1950 last Holy Communion service at Farel Down.

2 June 1950 – Church Commissioners approval of plans and terms for loan (£4,480) received by full committee.

11 June 1950 First service at the new temporary church – Sports Pavilion in Oval Park, which held up to 30 people. Twice monthly services held.

24 June 1950 - Garden Sale at St Anns, Crowborough Road. Stalls at the sale included: Cake and Confectionary; Fancy Goods; Edible Goods; Greengrocery; Electrical Domestic Appliances; Glass and China; Books and Stationary; White Elephant; Admission 6d.

5 August 1950 - Saturday Flag Day

30 November 1950 – The Building Licence was granted. Messers Rice & Sons of Brighton were chosen at their tender of £8,736.

December 1950 – The arrival of the Rev R H G Johnston, a permanent assistant curate for the parish, and preparation of the site had begun.

21 April 1951 The Laying of the Foundation Stone of St Nicholas Church Hall, Saltdean - The Foundation Stone was laid by the Earl of Bessborough (Chairman of the Chichester Diocesan Board of Finance) at a service conducted by the Archdeacon of Lewes (the Ven J H L Morrell ). Subscribers who donated money at the site or at the reception which followed the laying of the foundation stone had their signatures taken and these were transferred and embroidered on curtains used in the hall. The Hall seated 230 people. 300 people attended the open air service, over £100 in donations was collected at the service. A reception was held afterwards at the public hall Rottingdean.

14 October 1951 last Holy Communion Service held at this second temporary Church.

20 October 1951 Dedication of St Nicholas Church Hall Saltdean - The present Church Hall was dedicated by the Rt Rev The Lord Bishop of Chichester ( Dr G K A Bell) at an impressive service. The Bishop of Lewes (the Rt Rev Geoffrey H Warde), the Archdeacon of Lewes (the Ven J H L Morrell), the Rural Dean of Brighton (Canon F N Robathan OBE)and several visiting clergy were present with a crowded congregation.

Church & Hall 1955

The local newspaper reported – “The dual purpose church and hall believed to be one of the best designed dual purpose buildings which the Church of England has so far erected. It combines a chapel with seating for 30 people which can be screened off from the hall and used for mid week services on a small scale. With a hall capable of seating some 240 people, and having a fully equipped stage at the opposite end of the chapel. The bell was formerly used at St Augustines Preston which gave it to the new church. The lectern and other certain furnishings came from the now closed St Marys, Bread Street, and set of frontals have been given by Chailey Parish Church. Many items have been given by other donations including the alter.”

Sussex Daily News 22 October 1951 reported – “Dr G K A Bell described the hall as a ‘Beacon to the People of Saltdean’. It seems to me that the Church of God in this house of God has a particular charge to go out into the highways and byways, into the homes and the streets, in order to tell other people not at present connected with the Christian Church what God’s message is to them said the Bishop.”

21 October 1951 – Full services in the new Church Hall commenced.

27 October 1951 Brighton & Hove Herald reported –“ £4,000 in three years subscribed for the Building Fund. Dr Bell said ‘that when history is written in years to come the people will be amazed that the parishioners collected so much money for the church in such a relatively short time.’ The church will cost between £10,000 and £12,000, is a sister church to that of Rottingdean. It is anticipated that Rev R Johnston, Curate, will conduct many of the services. Rev Johnston came to Saltdean from St Augustines, Preston.

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