Time Line 1870, 1890, 1914, 1939

Archives of Edwin Roberts

Warrington, London, Billericay 30.10.1919-5.11.2000

File to list and annotate records in the archives of Edwin Roberts that may be of interest to others. Jacqueline Harris (daughter), looking at the piles of papers:
    "Everything seems to be done on the internet nowadays. Could we list them there?

Civil Service Prayer Union
Background and history from 1872 to 1914

Junior Civil Service Prayer/Christian Union
History from 1891 to 1914

Civil Service Prayer and Christian Unions
History from 1914 to 1938

Civil Service Christian Union
History from 1939 to 1951

History from 1952 to 1967

History from 1968

Thursday 30.10.1919 Edwin Roberts born. 34 Dickenson Street, Warrington, Lancashire. His mother and father were Lily and Bert Roberts. His father's full name was Herbert Edwin Roberts - a point that had to be emphasised to anyone who questioned the propriety of calling "Bert's" eldest son "Edwin". Young Edwin was born at home, at milking time, in the evening. 34 Dickenson Street was at a sharp kink in the road, opposite which was a passage with a shippen on one side and houses on the other. The shippen was where milking cows were kept, to supply the neighbourhood with fresh milk. When he was older, Edwin would hold the tail of the cow being milked, to keep it from flicking the face of the milker.


After an illness extending over six years, three of which were spent in the Whitecross Hospital, the death took place on Friday last week of Mr. John McKenzie, 44, Dickenson Street.

A native of Largo, Fifeshire, Scotland, Mr McKenzie came to Warrington as a boy, and later married Miss Urmston of Lower Walton. He was 72 years of age, and until he was injured some years ago, was employed as a locomotive driver at the Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Co. Ltd. Mr McKenzie was one of the founders of the Gospel Hall, and a few years ago held the office of superintendent and conducted a young men's Bible class. He leaves a widow, two sons and five daughters.


Mr J. Street conducted the funeral service at the Cemetery on Tuesday, and the chief mourners present were: The widow; Mr and Mrs Alexander McKenzie and Mr and Mrs Eli McKenzie (sons and daughters in law); Mr and Mrs Shaw, Mr and Mrs Simpson, Mr and Mrs Mousdale and Mr and Mrs Roberts (sons-in-law and daughters); Miss Alice McKenzie (daughter); Miss Whittaker, Bolton (niece); Messrs J.W. McKenzie and Edward Roberts (grand-sons); and the Misses Jessie McKenzie, Ethel Shaw, May and Eva Roberts (granddaughters. The bearers were former members of Mr McKenzie's Bible class.

Sunday (?) 18.9.1938 Edwin Roberts moved to London. Lodgings in (38?) Belitha Villas, Barnesbury. He had passed his Executive Officer's exam and moved from Inland revenue to Exchequer and Audit. First ten weeks in London were like being plunged into history - largely because he sometimes audited in the Foreign Office, opposite No.10 Downing Street.

On the first day took a no. 68 bus from Kings Cross to Blackfriars Bridge. Heavy traffic. Introduced to the First Secretary, Sir Francis Dickson, who was the first Sir he had ever met. Other people he met included a man wearing a monocle, someone with a wooden leg, someone with wing collars and a black hat. Porters' chair in hall had sides and top to keep out draughts.

Later took a 1d tram ride to the Foreign Office.

Thursday 29.9.1938 Munich Crisis. When Edwin turned up for work there were police across the entrance to Downing Street. He saw Henderson(?) arrive from Berlin and he saw Neville Chamberlain go off in his car to Heston airport. Chamberlain flew to see Hitler in Munich.

September 1944 A Forces Witness Team reformed after flying- bomb hiatus. Edwin's wife, Lily, and eldest surviving son, Andrew, were in Warrington. Edwin and the small team of Bible Christians were holding services at the London Embankment Mission, under the arches at Charring Cross. The meetings were smelly. Joan Douglas, who lived at the Foreign Missions Club, invited Chas ("Chris") Christensen from the USA, and he invited Edwin and Harry to the Bible Class at the American base (Green Street). A union of effort developed, which became the United Nations Witness Team. The American part of the Team was always changing, as they were sent off to Europe and others came in. The British part did not have the same energy, and had domestic commitments, but they provided a continuation and an administration. Edwin organised the team with a pencil and little notebooks. Everything was organised an preserved. When he died, the receipts for every collection taken were amongst the records stored in his loft.
26.3.1946 Fred Tatford revived the moribund national executive of the Civil Service Christian Union. The old executive was almost extinct. In its last years before the war there had been divisions between those who would appease and cooperate with the Nazi's, and those like Fred Tatford who opposed fraternal links with Nazi organisations. Most of the old executive wanted to retire. Fred recruited new members from London Assemblies of the Christian Brethren. Some of these, like Edwin Roberts who became Assistant Secretary, do not seem to have belonged to the Union at the time they joined its executive.
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Headings alphabetically indexed

1872, 1891, 1900, 1923,
1942 or 1943, 1946,
1972, 1980,

American Bible Class

Army Scripture Readers

Bankers' Prayer Union (1875)

Boy Copyists - Boy Clerks

Billy Graham 1943
Billy Graham 1946
Billy Graham 1952
Billy Graham 1954
Billy Graham 1966


City of London Forces Witness Team

Civil Service Catholic Guild

Civil Service
Christian Union

Civil Service
Prayer Union

Civil Service Prayer/Christian Union histories:
E.E. Heathfield's 1886 "Retrospect"
V.P. Peacock's history 1872 to 1911. Civil Service Observer 15.11.1911 p.249
G. F. Lane's history 1872 to 1932
1872 (London) to 1958 (Wales)
Planned Centenary
September 1982

Edwin Roberts' archive list

Danny's restaurant

Faith for the Times Campaign

Federation of London Prayer Unions 1904


Hymn Books and Song Sheets

Independent Gospel Team

Junior Civil Service Christian Union

Moody and Sankey


Non Combatant Corps and conscientious objection

Orange Street Church



Post Office:

Revival in our Time



Tell London Campaign,


Tom Rees Campaign 1945
Tom Rees Campaign 1946

United Nations (Forces) Witness Team