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Branches and Organisations

Civil Service Christian Union Branches
1936 1950S 1996

C.S.C.U. Branches 1936

Based on The 13th Annual Report: For the Year Ended 30.9.1936


Crown Agents for the Colonies

The Inland Revenue Branch

The London Telephone Service

H.M. Office of Works

Public Trustee Office Branch

Savings Bank Christian Union

Branches - Provinces

Acton. In 1936, A.E. Dale and Miss M. White were members of the CSCU Council representing Acton Branch. Both due to retire in 1937.


Isle of Wight.

Kew. In 1936, Miss D. Baxter and Miss E.M. Russell were members of the CSCU Council representing Kew Branch. Both due to retire in 1938. Other people connected with Kew Branch are J.F. Howard, John Lidbetter, James Payne and Ernest Hawkins.




Northern Ireland

Branches - Overseas

Poona. Meeting monthly.

Blenheim, New Zealand. Meetings suspended.

Sierra Leone. Efforts to establish a branch unsuccessful.

C.S.C.U. Branches 1950s

    "We are really, in the main, a sort of fellowship of different Christian Unions (which we refer to as branches) and the Executive Committee seeks to bring them together so that they can combine to do things which would be impossible for any of them singly, particularly the smaller ones." (Letter 27.2.1959 from Edwin Roberts to Miss L. Pearce, Secretary/Treasurer of a Christian Fellowship meeting at the London Executive Council of the NHS. The fellowship was formed shortly after relays from the Billy Graham Scotland Crusade. It was enquiring about affiliation to a larger body.)

C.S.C.U. Branches 1952

Based on reports in Service. The reports are not all from affiliated branches. "The union has continued to maintain links, wherever possible, with several Independent Fellowships, and reports from these are included among Branch Reports." (Annual Report for 1951, Service 4.1952 p.22)

London Branches

Admiralty. Leonard P. Turner (Chairman), Ellen C. Wilson (Secretary). Reported 1.1952, 4.1952, 7.1952,

Air Ministry Prayer Fellowship/ Air Ministry Christian Fellowship. Miss N. Bloxsidge reported 1.1952, 4.1952, 7.1952,

Building Research Station (D.S.I.R.) Fellowship, Garston. A.G. Speed reported 1.1952, 4.1952, 7.1952,

Canons Park J.R. Watson reported 4.1952, 10.1952.

Central Office of Information. Miss J.M. Reid reported 1.1952, 4.1952, 10.1952,

Civil Service Commission. Miss J.R. Wingfield reported 1.1952

Colonial Office. Founded 1948. J.C. Auker (a founder member) reported 1.1952. He was transferred to the Ministry of Supply, Manchester. F.H. Brown reported 4.1952.

Crown Agents for the Colonies. Philip Elliot Philip J. Elliot worked in this department from 1911 until his retirement in 1948. He was initially a member of the Junior Civil Service Christian Union. S. Colmer referred to him (10.1952) as "our leader of many years". S. Colmer reported 1.1952, 4.1952, 10.1952,

Customs & Excise Branch. J. G. Acton reported 4.1952, 10.1952,

D.S.I.R. Headquarters. Started 1951. Miss A.D. Crews reported 4.1952

Hinchley Wood. Miss Grace Parker reported 1.1952, 4.1952, 7.1952, 10.1952,

Home Office. Miss R.L. Wright reported 4.1952

The Land Registry. Miss H. Taylor reported 4.1952

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Started 1950. Miss E.J. Coldman reported 4.1952

Ministry of Civil Aviation. Miss P.C. James reported 4.1952

Ministry of Housing and Local Government. Formed 1951 partly by members of former Ministry of Health branch and partly by members in the former Ministry of Town and Country Planning. No reports in 1952.

Ministry of Labour and National Service Watford (Headquarters) Branch. A previously independent group. Affiliated in 1951. J. Lidbetter reported 4.1952, 7.1952,

Ministry of Food. Miss M.A. Sheldon reported 1.1952, 4.1952, 10.1952,

Ministry of Fuel and Power Christian Fellowship. D.M. Clark reported 1.1952, 4.1952, 7.1952, 10.1952,

Ministry of Transport Christian Fellowship. (Formed in 1939, with its own branches in different parts of the country, and its own newsletter). Miss E.M. Ellen reported 1.1952, 4.1952, 10.1952, Later evolved into the St Christopher House Christian Fellowship. At the St Christopher House Anniversary Service in May 1970, Edwin Roberts said that it might be the last anniversary service in the present form.

Ministry of Works, Horseferry Road. F.A. Smith reported 1.1952, 4.1952, 7.1952,

Paymaster General's Office. Miss Alice Gardiner reported 1.1952, 10.1952,

Post Office, Headquarters. D.O. Pearson reported 4.1952

Post Office, London Telecommunications Region. Miss G. Gates reported 4.1952, Miss L.F. Lidbetter reported 7.1952,

Post Office (AG.D.), Finsbury Circus. Miss A.B. Hazel reported 4.1952

Public Trustee's Office. Miss W.A. Dawson reported 4.1952

Stanmore. Miss K.M. Gibbs reported 4.1952, Miss G.M. Robinson reported 10.1952,

War Office Christian Fellowship. Miss B.G. Charles reported 4.1952, 10.1952,

Branches - Provinces

Birmingham. L.G. Florence reported 1.1952, 4.1952, 10.1952, 7.1952,

Blackpool. Miss A. Munday reported 4.1952, 10.1952, "Miss Audrey Butler, a converted actress" had visited.

Bristol (Flowers Hill) John H. Goddard reported 1.1952, 4.1952,

H.M. Underwater Detection Establishment, Portland, Dorset. Formed November 1951. Miss Doreen Chapman reported 4.1952, 10.1952,

Lytham St. Annes (Heyhouses) Branch. F.A. Faircloth reported 1.1952, 4.1952,

Newport. Isle of Wight branch closed in 1951 due to depletion of membership.

Reading. J. Childs reported 1.1952, 4.1952, 10.1952, 7.1952,

Newcastle upon Tyne, Ministry of National Insurance Central Office. Officially formed in 1951. Miss M. Warden reported 1.1952, 4.1952, 7.1952. Peter James reported August 1996,

Risley, Lancashire (Ministry of Supply). Formed 1952 on J.C. Auker's transfer fom the Colonial Office in London. J.C. Auker reported 10.1952,

Worthing (Inland Revenue) Branch. Miss E.G. Wright reported 4.1952


Llanister/Llanishen Branch, (Inland Revenue) Cardiff. On the perimeter of Cardiff. "functioning for some years". Miss E.A. Gower reported 7.1952

Cardiff. (Central) "On 7th April 1952, Mr Roberts gave the branch its official 'send off'. There were about forty members present to hear him speak of the history of the Union, its growth and its work in the Civil Service today." The majority of members were from the Ministries of Labour and Works, with a "sprinkling" from about eight other departments. Walter Morgan reported 7.1952

The history of the Union was used as a leaflet from Walter Morgan (Hon. President (Wales), in (about) 1958, which sought to establish branches throughout Wales:

Branches - Scotland

Scotish Branch. W.S. Kerr (Chairman), D.D. Rose (Secretary), Miss O.W. Matthews (Treasurer), John Cape (President). Other memvbers of the Scottish Committee: A.M.M. McGlashen and Miss C.M. Graham. Photograph in Service (p.66) 10.1952. D.D. Rose reported 1.1952, 4.1952, 10.1952,


Northern Ireland: C.F. Darling (Chairman), W.P. Stanfield and Miss Elinor Wilkinson (Joint Honorary Secretaries). Reported 1.1952, 4.1952, 7.1952, 10.1952,

Dublin Branch: A.G. Beavan reported 4.1952

Board of Trade

Cromwell House - Lacon House - Hillgate House

From letter of 8.11.1963 to Miss Woodford from V.E. Armstrong, seeking affiliations to the Civil Service Christian Union. Originally in Lacon House, Theobalds Road. Building opened "sometime in 1946". [The Board of Trade (Export Services Branch) was located at Lacon House" in 1957]. Armstrong said the Fellowship had existed since the building opened in 1946. Letter suggests Lacon House was opened in 1962 and states "we occupied the place in July 1962".

From handwritten lists of meetings: An "opening meeting" of the "Cromwell House Christian Fellowship" was held 29.2.1956. Mr R.E. Pettifer spoke and 25 people attended. Weekly meetings were held on Wednesdays. The last meeting in Cromwell House was on 13.2.1957, after which they "transferred to Lacon House" and became [or joined?] the "Lacon House Christian Fellowship" for five years. In July 1962 they moved again and became "Hillgate House Christian Fellowship"

Hillgate House Christian Fellowship, Hillgate House, 35 Old Bailey, London, EC4. 8.11.1963 letter: Average attendance normally about 10. There was a "special series running" ["The Only Way"] and attendance had gone up to 15- 18. Met on Tuesdays for prayer and Wednesdays for a speaker or Bible study. Individuals responsible for the Fellowship were V.E. Armstrong, Mr F. Guy and Mr A. Hardy. Four members were also members of the Civil Service Christian Union and A. Hardy had undertaken to be "our point of contact"

Board of Trade Christian Fellowship - Victoria Street Branch

Meeting notices for 1966 and 1967. Branch may have been started by V.E. Armstrong who is now located in Room 050 Victoria Street.

C.S.C.U. Branches Branches listed in Service August 1996 .

London Branches

Customs & Excise
Department of the Environment
Department of Health
Department of Trade and Industry
English Heritage
Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Diplomatic Service
Health and Safety Executive
Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food
Treasury & Cabinet Office

Branches - Provinces
Bath, Ministry of Defence (Two)
Blackpool (Marton) D.N.S.
Doncaster, Her Majesties Inspector of Taxes
Eaglescliffe, Cleveland R.N.S.D.
Hastings, Ashdown House
Newcastle upon Tyne, Department of Social Security Central Office
Peterborough, Passport Agency
Southend-on-Sea, Customs & Excise
Weybridge, Central Veterinary Laboratory
Worcester, Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food
Worthing, Inland Revenue


Swansea (Morriston) Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre
Newport, Gwent, Central Statistical Office

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Branch, Belfast

Education Branches Civil Service Christian Union

Ministry of Education Christian Fellowship and
Canons Park Branch

The Civil Service Christian Union

    "flourished in the Pensions and Salaries Divisions of the Ministry of Education in 1939 and proved a clear witness during the early days of evacuation in North Wales. The calls of National Service, however, took away nearly all the active members, and by 1942 the group had ceased to exist as a separate unit. The remaining members joined forces with Christians in other evacuated Departments" (J.R. Watson Service January 1951 page 5.

Curzon Street and Canons Park: The Ministry of Education Christian Fellowship (Curzon Street) was "reconstituted" after the second world war. It was not affiliated to the Civil Service Christian Union and its history was not recorded by the CSCU until the mid-1950s. A meeting at Canons Park, however, was linked to the CSCU, and is reported in Service January 1951.

Canons Park was a multi-department site. One of the main departments was the Ministry of Education and there were often changes of membership between Canons Park and the Ministry of Education in Curzon Street. One of those who was moved backwards and forwards between Curzon Street and Canons Park was John R. Watson, a member of the CSCU Committee and of the Christian Brethren.

Canons Park 1946 to 1956: The Pensions and Salaries Divisions of the Ministry of Education were moved to Canons Park in 1946. As numbers of staff grew, attempts were made to restart CSCU meetings, but a room was not available:

    "In 1948, quite unexpectedly, facilities were granted for weekly lunch- hour meetings...for prayer and Bible Study". (J.R. Watson Service January 1951 page 5)

Two of the active members at Canons Park in the early 1950s were J.R. Watson and Mr Graham.

By 1956 the Canons Park Branch was meeting for prayer and bible study on alternate weeks, with special "open meetings" with a speaker or film on the third Tuesday of the month to which "all friends" were invited.

Curzon Street 1940s to 1960: The autonomous Ministry of Education Christian Fellowship at Curzon Street had an "initial boom" after the war, but later began to decline. John R. Watson ascribed the reason for the decline to "the bias of its leader towards British Israelism". "In 1956", he said, "it was discredited in the eyes of many who had formerly been members and was reduced to a struggling handful. The B.I. man was then transferred to another ministry and simultaneously several keen christians arrived..."

In 1958, J.B. Watson was the chair of the Ministry of Education Christian Fellowship. The secretary was John H. Rose. Meetings included members from other departments, including Stuart McKenzie from Exchequer and Audit (later a Christian Brethren missionary to East Pakistan) and members from a nearby branch of the War Office. All members were "evangelicals" and many were individual members of the CSCU, although the branch was not affiliated. They were in touch with the Ministry of Transport Christian Fellowship in Berkley Square "and attend their meetings on occasions". Another member of the Fellowship, Derek R. Pollott, later became the minister at Sudbury Baptist Church.

Following a visit from Gladys Woodford, in the summer of 1958, the Ministry of Education Christian Fellowship applied for and was accepted as a branch of the Civil Service Christian Union. A leaflet of the Fellowship, at about this time, said it was "linked with the Civil Service Christian open to all colleagues who love the Lord Jesus Christ and are anxious to study His Word together." It met weekly for bible study. At this time they were working through the First Epistle of Peter.

In November 1959, John Rose sent Gladys Woodford a copy of a leaflet from the Catholic Enquiry Centre that had been circulated as an advertising filler with Civil Service Opinion, the journal of the Society of Civil Servants. He also sent an 1881 booklet on The Second Coming of Christ by George Muller of Bristol, one of the founders of the Christian Brethren movement. In this, John Rose drew attention to a passage: "Fearful as the delusions of popery are, and awful as the picture of what the popes have been" an even more fearful "apostasy" was foretold (the "Antichrist"). He wanted a "strong protest" and suggested the CSCU should collaborate with the Protestant Truth Society to "counteract the propaganda". The CSCU avoided open confrontation on this issue, but encouraged members who were concerned to send individual letters of protest. The Editorial Board of Civil Service Opinion "carefully considered the many letters received" - blamed its advertising agents, and "took steps" to ensure that advertising of a political or religious nature was not published in future. This was a natural enough response of an editorial board when advertising proved controversial. Similar caution by editors of journals circulating in the Civil Service made publicity for religious organisations (including the Civil Service Christian Union) difficult - A possible outcome that the CSCU committee warned about in a letter to John Rose from Gladys Woodford on 17.11.1959.

Canons Park 1956 to 1963: When John Watson moved to the main Curzon Street office in 1956, he was succeeded as Secretary of the Canons Park Branch by Raymond H. Hawker. The chair was Derek R. Pollott. Mr D.C. Pickup was Treasurer in 1957, when the branch had 22 members from the Ministries of Education, Health and Inland revenue. It also welcomed staff from a nearby section of the General Electric Company. In reply to a standard question from the CSCU about the "most successful method" the branch used to "reach the unconverted", Raymond Hawker wrote in 1958:

    "We try not to think in terms of 'converted' and 'unconverted', although we acknowledge that there must be such. We endeavour to extend the right hand of friendship to all and then leave it to God to decide who is 'converted' and 'unconverted'...we feel that it is important that we should invite colleagues to our meetings as friends and solely as friends."

In Summer 1960, Raymond Hawker had moved to Curzon Street and John Watson had taken over the secretaryship on a temporary basis. Janet R. Jones took up the post by January 1961, and John Watson was chair.

At the Civil Service Christian Union's Orange Street meeting on 13.8.1962 the speaker was

    "Rev. D.R. Pollott ... for some years chairman of the Canons Park Branch ... left the Ministry of Education a few months ago to become Minister of Sudbury Baptist Church ... His message ... will be related to his life in the Service."
In 1963 Janet Jones left the Ministry of Education to take up either nursing or teaching, and was succeeded as Secretary by Brian Wakeman. John Watson had moved back to Curzon Street and Peter Barnicott had become chair. However Peter Barnicott resigned from the CSCU, telling the Branch Committee that his views were now "modernist". Brian Wakeman thought he had taken the "correct and proper action" in resigning. In Mr Wakeman's view, the chair needed to be "an out and out evangelical Christian ... and not a liberal or modernist". But it was not easy to find someone who not only had those characteristics, but also "a good knowledge of the scriptures and mental powers for inducing and introducing discussion and keeping it within long suffering limits". Peter Barnicott was continuing as chair until a new chair could be found. (letter to Edwin Roberts 17.4.1963)

Canons Park after 1963: Roger Beaumont became the secretary of Canons Park in 1966 when he was conducting subject studies on "sin, sacrifice, redemption, faith and eternal life". These meetings were interspersed with studies of St John's Gospel, which they were intended to illuminate. W.R. Clark reported from the branch, which Rev. Derek Pollott continued to support by conducting a Holy Week service. The branch also had an annual Carol Service and on 20.12.1966 "about 120 people packed the Parish Church of St. Lawrence, Whitchurch Lane. W.R. Clark reported that "Canons Park has become very popular in recent years." Speakers in 1966 and 1967 included missionaries and prison chaplains. The branch completed its study of St John's Gospel in 1968, and moved on to the Acts of the Apostles. Dispersal of staff meant its numbers were smaller, but it met regularly in the same room it had used for many years.

Curzon Street in the 1960s: In 1963, Raymond Hawker was reporting from the Ministry of Education HQ about the Book of Psalms:

    "'There is nothing new in the Bible.' Well it all depends on your approach. We have just been having another look at the Psalms - a 'new look' if you like - and we have been thrilled with the freshness of the experience. Why do we all love these Psalms? It is probably because the psalmists are saying what we all feel; and saying the sort of thing which we know to be so true of our own experience. Nothing new...? H'm, let us have another think." Service July-December 1961 p.42.

In December 1968 the annual Carol Service of the Department of Education and Science (Curzon Street) Branch was held in St. James's Church, Piccadilly. Lessons were read by the Secretary of State (Edward Short) and Assistant Secretary (Miss S.M. Goodfellow) and the Chief Inspector of Schools (Mr H. French). "The church was filled by representatives of all grades from Sir Herbert Andrew, Permanent Secretary, to office messengers".

North of England Branches

Stafford Branch Civil Service Christian Union

Lytham St. Annes Branch Civil Service Christian Union

Liverpool Branch Civil Service Christian Union

Manchester Branch Civil Service Christian Union

Newcastle Branch Civil Service Christian Union

Officially formed in 1951, but meetings had been instigated by Muriel Warden, a member who had moved north from the London Air Ministry about 1948. The branch was well established by the time that London officers made contact:

    14.9.1950: "Dear Mr Roberts, You wrote to me some long time ago [ 23.2.1950] about CSCU in Newcastle and I must apologise for not having answered you long before this. However, as you know, Gordon Watts has just come up to Newcastle and he is starting to bring me up to scratch!"

    As you may know, I wrote to Mr Code before we started our meetings up here. I thought the best official approach this end was to mention CSCU as an established union in the Civil Service. There are so many organisations up here that I thought we would be more likely to get approval for something that was well established than for an entirely independent C.U.

    There are a nucleus of us up here who are pukka CSCU members, although I wouldn't like to say that our subscriptions are up to date...

    Owing to travelling difficulties etc we only manage a meeting once a month when anything from 18 to 15 attend. I do, in fact, send notices to about 50 people, but we have not yet had anything like that numbers at the meeting. the transfer of staff from Blackpool has not increased our numbers as we had hoped, but there are still more to come."

CSCU, Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance, Newsletter No.1, April 1965. Edited by Anne Hedley and Bill Mitchell.

At the beginning of 1995 there were 9,000 staff at the DSS central office at Longbenton, Newcastle. Then, in mid-year, 2,000 of these were moved to a new site about a mile away. Branch numbers were reduced as some of the members of the branch moved.

Peter James (Branch Secretary) reported in Service August 1996 that "between five and eight of us meet every week for really blessed times of informal sharing and prayer". The branch holds an annual carol service in the local parish church and around 50 people had attended at the end of 1995. "A visiting minister gave an excellent gospel message and the offering of 88 was donated to Christian relief work in Romania".

At the start of the year a notice in a magazine for DSS staff all over the country resulted in Peter James receiving enquiries from 15 civil servants. "Unfortunately the only branch of CSCU in the DSS is here at Newcastle. However, I did write to encourage some of them to either start a CU or join an existing CU."

Nigerian Civil Service Christian Union

Federation of Christian Unions

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