Bill's Lecture - Oldswinford & Stourbridge





Bill's Lecture

Early Days
(Lagos, Oldbury,Langley)

Lye & Stambermill

Oldswinford & Stourbridge

Brierley Hill

Cradley Heath, Cradley & Dudley

Wollescote & Kinver


Additional Material


Other Works

Bill at Work


Let us now move to the Mother church of the district and look at the East window where I was called by the Rector to do some surgery on St Peter’s left hand and wrist which had been broken by vandals. This was high up near to the Majestus and meant working at the top of a tall swinging ladder. Seeing the figures close up in the window they all appear very lovely as one can see with this close up of the Patron Saint of the Oldswinford church.

A very colourful window can be seen in the Lady Chapel from the 1914 war and is dedicated to the memory of Lt. Commander Grazebrook It depicts Christ walking on the waters calming the waves. In the tracery can be seen the flags of our allies of that time and amongst them is the Japanese flag, which seems strange today considering that they were our bitterest enemies during the Second World War.

And now we take a look at St John’s (Stourbridge) and see some good glass in the East window, centred around the crucifixion scene.

The Majestus here comes from the large West window the gift of, the Fellows family commemorating a son who was killed in action in the 1914 War, and whose likeness is shown in small panels at the base of the window.


The Sower – leaving the cloisters of Worcester Cathedral – at the glass works with a group of workers – and with the school rugger team at King Edwards

Two panels showing the diversity of types in the Worcs. regiment.

Just down New Road to the Methodist Church to see the glass there with three small panels in the sanctuary. Above one of the entrance doors is a window of exceptional beauty and is the creation of Miss Florence Camm of the Smethwick firm of that name. Miss Camm was a fine and talented artist who had some of her work exhibited at the Royal Academy. This window, which was the gift of Mrs Fellows of Stourbridge, is an outstanding example of her work. Although it portrays Christ blessing the little children, this was no Pot-Boiler, it being so different from the usual run-of-the-mill windows. The idea however is not original and is a copy of a similar window at Claverley church, by Davis of the Bromsgrove guild. As you can see it shows Christ as a boy with playmates all around, with butterflies, birdies and bunnies and baa-lambs. It is set in a very warm colour key and is one of the most exquisitely beautiful pieces of stained glass around. See here the great character portrayed in the face of the young Christ and observe the very natural attitudes of the children. Some of you may know this lovely work of art but those who do not, do please go and see it for yourself and then, if possible, see the one at Claverley which is even better.

Now comes the bad news. Some years ago a sum of money was left by Mr Hickman of Stourton for a window to be placed opposite to that very fine one and I was asked to prepare ideas for this to match up with it. At that time I was helping one or two of the very good students at Foley College and suggested that the work be done there as a project and I would supervise the work. Nothing came of this as I imagine that the Fine Art Director and teacher took fright after seeing the window which had to be matched. Months went by and one of the College teachers came to see me and told me he had got the job to do the window and would I make it for him to his design. I told him, ‘Not on your Nelly!’, as it would be a sin to put his type of work in a church which had traditional stained glass. I there and then washed my hands of the whole business.

The window eventually went into the church and I leave it to you to judge how it matches up to the Camm window opposite. Mr Hickmann was musically minded and I think some representation of music should have been incorporated into the window instead of those horrid psychedelic squiggles. He was also a great friend of Mr Stanley Griffiths and I dread to think what he would have made of this awful window.

The lamp was made by me for Mr Stanley Griffiths some years ago and hangs above the pulpit.

The offices of Mr Jack Downing on the opposite side of New Road also contain glass from the Camm studios, consisting of fragments of stained glass all harmoniously joined together.


The Carlisle Hall also opposite was built to preach the virtues of temperance and contains a memorial window to Mary Stevens to whose memory we should all be ever grateful, for the gift of that wonderful park. A photographic likeness of Mary Stevens appears on the window in the central group representing Benevolence, while on either side are figures representing Temperance and Courage. What a headache for an artist to make up an allegorical figure of Temperance. One usually turns to a text book and a well known one comes to mind, Emblems of Saints. But what saint was this Temperance? So, probably in desperation, he shows the figure pouring the wine down the drain. The other figure, of Courage is now synonymous with a very famous brewer of that name.

Let us take a look at the church of St Thomas and see the large East window above the altar, where the risen Lord can be seen with the disciples grouped around. From the shape and appearance of the leaded ornament used to fill up the empty spaces, it looks very much to be the work of Samuel Evans in Victorian times. About a hundred years or more ago he employed something like sixty people churning out stained glass of all kinds during the great churchgoing boom of Victoria’s days. The three story factory building which he built was only demolished a few months ago. It used to be said that most of the stained glass firms around Birmingham were started by men who learned at the works of Samuel Evans of Smethwick. I worked for a time at the firm of Evans & Co., a minor offshoot of Samuel Evans workshops.

The vicar of St Thomas’ drew my attention to what he termed the cross-eyed disciple, and I must say it does seem to be so.





There are some quite hard expressions upon the faces, particularly on those in the West window.

Other lights in the church are from the Camm studios and are inserted into clear panes of antique glass.