Man of God - Story of a Norfolk Parson
(published privately in memory of the late Rev R C Page)
"In 1901 the Rev R C Page was appointed Vicar of St John the Baptist, Whaplode Drove, Wisbech, the parish consisting of an isolated Fen district of about 750 people, scattered over a district eight miles long.
"On his appointment Reginald Page found the Church in a deplorable condition, and he set about the task of restoration and rehabilitation of the parish with energy and enthusiasm. By 1904, a Parish Hall had been built, fitted and equipped as Church Rooms. From this centre of parochial work sprung many activities. A Men's Club was started. Mothers' Meetings and Girls' Club evenings were well attended. Facilities added to village life were a Library and Reading Room, a Mutual Improvement Society, and a Clothing Club."
Extract from a letter written by the Rev R C Page, 1909
"Since I have been in charge of this Parish, some seven years, the following works have been carried out:
1. A Parish Church Room has been created. This was opened by Canon Bullock, R. D., in 1903. This room, which is 52 feet long by 20 feet wide, is an iron building with brick foundations. It is painted outside to imitate red tiled roofing and stone walls: inside it is match boarded and varnished throughout, and can be divided into three rooms by moveable partitions. This place is invaluable. It is used as a village reading room and club, and also for social gatherings, missionary meetings, lectures, concerts, and all sorts of parochial work. There are now three small billiard tables, a piano, a library, cupboards, tables, chairs and benches belonging to the Room. In 1904 a cloak-room was added at a cost of £17 14s. 1d., making a total cost of the Room, with fittings, £292 3s. 8d."
To give an idea of the costs involved in building and furnishing the Churchroom in 1903-4, £292 3s. 8d. would be worth £30,106.34 in today's money.
(thisismoney.co.uk - historic inflation calculator)
This section of timber was found during the recent Churchroom renovations when a section of steel was removed. To the right is a transcript of what is written on it:
T W Newbery - Overseer and Clerk of the Works
Information from the census of 1891 show Thomas Newbery, aged 21 and a wheelwright, (worker) lodging with his aunt and uncle Mr & Mrs Muskett (née Money) at Woodbine Cottage, Chapel Gate, Whaplode Drove.
By 1901 he was a Joiner and Carpenter, (own business) married with one child and living at Fengate Moulton Chapel. His mother Mary Musto, (née Money) also lived with them.
In 1911 he was a Cycle and Motor Engineer (worker) living with his wife, two daughters and uncle, John Money, in Whaplode Drove.
Rev A H Lash
Rev Lash was Rev Page's father-in-law. He was a member of the Church Missionary Society, living and working as a missionary in Ootacamund, South India.
Rev R C Page
Rev Page was vicar of St John the Baptist Church from 1902 to 1909.
Mrs Page (née Lash) was born in Southern India and married Rev Page in 1898.
Rev & Mrs Page
As may be seen on the 1901 census, Rev and Mrs Page were living in Norwich and in 1911 were in Trimingham, Norfolk.
Messrs. Rolfe and Co.
No information has been found concerning the builders of the Church Room, who were Messrs. Rolfe and Co., Contractors, Shepherd's Bush, London.
They were paid 168 pounds and 15 shillings “for the whole Building, less foundations, including partitions, stoves, painting inside and out. The Building is 52ft. By 20ft. Of corrugated iron, match-boarded and felt lined throughout.” The equivalent cost today would be £17,387.86.
Mr Money was a local builder who laid the “Brick Foundations, &c”. This work cost 19 pounds and 2 shillings. The equivalent cost today would be £1,968.05.
According to the 1901 census, there were two brothers, Thomas and George Money who were Builders and Contractors (own business), both unmarried and living on Broadgate, Whaplode Drove.
Nottingham Evening Post, 23rd June 1905
Stamford Mercury, 22nd October 1909
Spalding Today, 14th April 2013
Spalding Today, 25th August 2013