Luton Industrial College, Mission and Community Centre
My earliest memories of attending church are from our family’s time in Luton circa 1957-1968. As a family, we attended the services at the Industrial College, Mission and Community Centre.
When we arrived the main church was being refurbished and all the activities took place in the community hall and rooms off it. There were regular Saturday evening concerts followed on Sunday by the hall filled with congregations for both morning and evening services. There were numerous mid-week activities and a cafeteria that was open most of the time for refreshments and a chat.
My parents were both musical; my mother sang in the choir and my father, Kenneth, became organist and choirmaster. Later my father became circuit steward and a Governor of the Industrial College.
The chapel was an unusual experience in Methodism; as I recall it was a one church circuit, serviced by Rev William (Bill) Gowland and an assistant minister. It was not until we moved to Sandiway, nr Northwich, Cheshire that I came to understand the concept of a large circuit where the majority of services are led by local preachers!
Both my parents have now died, and when clearing out their home I came across a number of documents relating to the time when the chapel was re-opened for worship in October 1960. I recall that we then swapped the functional chairs in the community hall for ‘cinema bucket type’ seats in the church – very comfortable, but my recollection was that there was not quite the same atmosphere as when services were held in the hall.
Below you will find attached scans of the Re-opening and Re-Dedication of the Church Programme, the orders of service for the first Sunday worship, and the notice sheet for that week which gives a flavour of the range of activities going on at that time.
There is also a brochure, entitled ‘Take Off” which describes the history of the chapel and the work of the Industrial College. No doubt the title was influenced by the expansion of traffic from Luton Airport, which was just starting to gather pace. Follow this link to view the brochure.