EXPECTATION

"According to my earnest expectation and my hope that Christ shall be magnified "

Philippians 1 verse 20

We have heard the proverb that a watched kettle never boils, and all those concerned with the progress of the building of the new school must have felt the truth of it. Periodical reports were made on progress, but even as late as the end of August 1878 it was not possible to "determine the time, etc., of opening".

However, the proverbial kettle must have come to the boil almost unexpectedly, for on 3rd October 1878, only four weeks later, the Minister announced that the work the Building Committee had directed and supervised was well-nigh complete, and the probable cost of the building was "about 2,900" whilst subscriptions were some 750 short of the seventy five per cent target.

A programme of services and events was agreed for the opening of the premises and was successfully carried out in the following way:-

On Sunday, 20th October 1878, the children, for the first time, went into the new school for singing. I suppose this was a trial run before the school officially assembled there. On Sunday 27th October 1878, they all walked to Hunters Lane for a special afternoon service, conducted by the Rev. E. Hassan. Morning and Evening Adult Services were addressed by the Rev. W. C. Stallybrass, a former Minister of the Church.

A prayer meeting was held in the large hall of the new school on Wednesday, 30th October 1878, which was "largely attended", with Mr. Blyth, Mr. John Hicks, Mr. Stevenson, Mr. Morgan, and Mr. James Tyson, deacons of Hunters Lane taking part.

The following day a Public Meeting was held in the Wellington Road School, chaired by the Rev. E. Hassan, when Mr. Blyth presented a Treasurer's Statement on the Building account and addressed the meeting, and it is particularly interesting to note that Mr. James A. Picton, (later Sir James Picton, J.P., F.S.A.) together with Ministers from Rock Ferry, Waterloo, Woolton and Birmingham, "spoke in advocacy of this important enterprise in Wellington Road". The first Sunday' School gathering of the children in their new building was on Sunday 3rd November 1878, with an attendance of 262 children and 16 teachers.

On Sunday, 13th July 1879, Mr. Picton gave the address to our Sunday School, and on the 8th October, The Picton Reading Room, William Brown Street, built by Liverpool Corporation at a cost of 20,000 was named after Mr. James Picton "in recognition of his many useful public services, cheerfully rendered to the Town for upwards of 30 years". The Reading Room was opened by the Earl of Derby.

Picton Reading Room

It was on 18th August 1881 that James Allanson Picton, received the honour of Knighthood at the hands of H. M. Queen Victoria. In 1884 Sir James presented the Public Clock and Tower to the inhabitants of Wavertree, in memory of his beloved wife. He died at his residence, Sandy Knowe, Olive Mount, in 1889 aged 84 years.

Wavertree Clock Tower

Another item of interest, to at least two of our ladies is that the Liverpool College for Girls, Grove Street, was opened by the Countess of Derby on the 29th October 1878 - the week in which our new Mission premises were opened.

Gradually various old and new activities and services were introduced, including Sunday evening services, all arranged for the children, but an Adult service held on Thursdays at Hunters Lane was transferred to Wellington Road. The Sunday evening services were very successful, as many as 200 children and young persons attending. There was also an increasing attendance of youths, but very few adults.

In May 1879, the grounds surrounding the building were laid out and according to an early plan there was much more space in front of the main doors than there is today. No doubt when Wellington Road was developed, after Wavertree was absorbed into the City of Liverpool in 1895 (Liverpool was created a City on 11th May 1880) some ground was taken from the front of the Mission for road widening purposes. It also seems likely that this work was linked with the laying out of newly acquired land as a recreational park to become known as "The Mystery' because of the anonymity of the donor - said, later, to Mr. Philip Holt.

The organist at Wellington Road at that time was Mr. John Hicks, and on 31st January 1883 the Management Committee for Wellington Road stressed at the Church meeting in Hunters Lane, the desire for the appointment of a pastor to work among the many families now dwelling in the neighbourhood of the Mission, and "such a ministry might be secured for little more than 200, and that 110 a year, from several donors, had been guaranteed for four years. " The proposal was accepted.