The Dayrell’s Road Gospel Hall is my second Church. It has been around for about 113 years.
It was not until I was a solid eight years old that I entered its doors and life.
I had known of its existence of course, as I lived on that road and had friends who went there. Yet it was only then that I became a member, and part of that life. A happy, strict, loving, fun-filled life. It was so unlike my first church both in size and manner. Smaller, more concentrated and compact, none of the regalia and procedural practices of a colourful theatre, and more homely, and, for me, more intense.
The fact is I had to go stay with relatives, on my grandfather’s side, and they were part of this Church, so off I went to the Dayrell’s Road Gospel Hall…
On Sundays of course, then on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and probably Thursdays, and some Fridays, definitely on Saturdays, then back again on Sundays, ALL day on Sundays it seemed. Maybe we went on Mondays as well??? I didn’t mind, I loved it.
Despite my initial childish balking at having to go live with the relatives and missing my grandparents’ home, in that Church I felt warm, loved, cosseted, protected, oh, yes and WATCHED. Maybe it was the size, but I could always feel them watching over me; caring about me, caring for me. It was a wonderful part of my development mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. More than that the Dayrell’s Road Gospel Hall was where I experienced a meaningful grounding in who I was/am.
It has recently been redecorated, as per the above picture; and even the out-buildings at the back seemed renewed to me when I visited in 2016. The former main Church building was un-imposing. A solid old-stone structure of weathered blue-grey that gave to the idea of strength and long life.
It faces onto the road leading to Navy Gardens and I remember tripping down that slanting road feeling that the Dayrell’s Road Gospel Hall had ‘got my back’.
I remember the afternoons, Saturdays I think, with old Miss Clements….Sunbeams Class…singing our hearts out.
I remember fondly the Elders. Among them Mr. Ashby, a stalwart.
There was also a younger Mr. Grant than when I last laid eyes on him at a funeral there.. And Mr. Haynes who had the shop down Dayrell’s Road was also a member.
My ‘uncle Earl’ was also an elder at that time, or something such. It was he, and his wife who was related to my grandfather, with whom I lived then. They had no children of their own so were very careful of me.
In fact other relatives lived in the same gap as they, a sort of cul-de-sac, and I got to know them all so much better. It was a time of peaceful space, learning and love. I got to meet everyone in that sphere, including the guy who owned the cows I could hear mooing at night; and the lady who sold produce -mainly her own peas and corn- and with whom I had very instructive conversations while we sat on her doorstep shelling peas to the rustle and smell of the cornfield as the day broke. I was able to accept and appreciate them all, more profoundly, because of the Dayrell’s Road Gospel Hall. It was their time with me. My time with them. This I grasped and dived into wholeheartedly, as only a child could.
The Dayrell’s Road Gospel Hall is part of the Gospel Hall Assemblies, and welcomes Christians and those so inclined. They like you to “come as you are.” I went as I was, and the Brethren were open to me.
It brought really strong men and their families into my life when I needed it (I know that now) showing me another way of life that was was not so dissimilar to what I had known, just less cluttered.
The Dayrell’s Road Gospel Hall is part of who I am, who I have been, and who I shall be always. Long may it stand.
telephone: +1 246-230-5934