Harpenden, High Street Methodist Church-Christmas Star


For many people at High Street, the sight of the illuminated star shining in the stained-glass East Window during Christmas Carol and Communion services is a mark of the season.

The star was made by Mr A Sturgess, who was a member of the church choir in the 1950s and worked for The De Havilland aircraft manufacturers. It is made from sheet brass shaped to form the outline of a star and the front is covered by pale blue tinted Perspex secured by tape.

It has a wooden back which holds the bulb holder and a bracket, which is hooked over one of the strengthening window bars. A length of clear mains cable runs from the star to the base of the window clipped onto other window bars.

The star was originally put in place as Christmas approached and taken down again afterwards. This was no mean feat as a ladder had to be positioned against the stonework to the left of the window in such a way that it would not slide onto (and through!) the stained glass.

High Street Star

Church member Paul Wren climbed the 18ft ladder to fix the star in place. This was before the use of scaffolding towers, so the cooperation of a trusted colleague was needed to secure the base of the ladder. Paul would hold on to the stone work with one hand while leaning across to clip the star and cable in place with the other.After Mr Sturgess left the choir, he let the church borrow the star each Christmas after which it was returned to him. Paul collected and returned the star for a number of years until one year Mr Sturgess said he was moving away and as Paul had looked after the star so well he would like him to keep it. So Paul became its keeper.

From 2009, Paul decided to leave the star in place as it was becoming more difficult to put up and take down each year.

Since then, the bulb has not yet failed – and the current property team offer up a prayer each year that it will continue to shine out when it is switched on!

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