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MU Jubilee service at Winchester 1926
Jubilee Services to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Mothers’ Union in 1926
Archives in the Winchester Diocese
Recently I was handed a set of large photographs from the Old Alresford branch. I have been researching them one by one. One was a picture of ladies and banners processing into Winchester Cathedral. The ladies all wore “tickets” and I realised this would have been a Festival Service of some sort where seats were allocated. After some searching in our Archives at the Hampshire Record Office I found the Diocesan Council Minute File describing the organisation of the Jubilee Services to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Mothers’ Union in 1926. A Conference Week was set for June 1926 and it was decided to invite Central Council to visit Winchester and that a “great service of thanksgiving should be arranged in the Cathedral”. Having established that this service was held on 23rd June 1926 I then searched the archives of the Hampshire Chronicle and found just the report I needed. The newspaper reports in those early years did not include any photographs. However, there is a complete page describing the events of the whole week.
The week began with a Conference at Mary Sumner House which included an Overseas Meeting. Delegates reported on the Mothers’ Union in Australia, Canada, Ceylon, Honolulu, Gibralter, North China, West Indies, Uganda, India, New Zealand, and Winchester. There followed a Jubilee service at Westminster Abbey attended by representatives from the branches in the Home Counties and overseas. On the third day delegates made a Pilgrimage to Winchester. A luncheon was held in the Guildhall then members processed to the Cathedral for the service.
Banners in the procession came from Canterbury and York, many of the Dioceses, Ireland, and interestingly from the Army and RAF, where branches had been formed. Also Provincial Banners including overseas, the Deanery of Christchurch, Isle of Wight and Lyndhurst, headed by the Winchester and Central banners. Banners were carried by Men and members of the Girl Guides. Some 3581 tickets were allocated. After the service wearers of badges could file past Mrs Sumner’s grave and visit her old garden, whilst The Dean and Canon Robinson also invited members to walk in their gardens. Reduced Rail Fares were offered for groups travelling to Winchester but members of branches were asked to make their own arrangements for tea and a list of suitable caterers in Winchester was given. Delegates and other guests proceeded to the grounds of the Bishop’s Palace at Wolvesey for tea, entertained by the band of the RAF.
The photograph will now be lodged in our Archives held at the Hampshire Record Office in Winchester.
January 2019 Christine Clode.
Mothers’ Union Archivist Winchester Diocese