St John the Evangelist, Crawshawbooth - Centenary Booklet 1892 - 1992


Social life resumed after the war, one of the most spectacular events being in 1921 when the Rev. Paton-Williams wrote and produced a pageant, 'Fallen Leaves of an Ancient Forest', in which scenes of Crawshawbooth's history were performed in the grounds of Sunnyside and Crawshaw Hall. Photographs of the large cast still exist, as does the script and programme; a 'plain tea' was available for 1s. 3d., fruit and custard 4d. extra, ham and tongue 6d. extra, and a salmon and salad tea could be had for 2s. 3d. An 'Olde English Faire' was held over three days in the schoolroom in April 1922 to raise funds for the organ, with an associated concert at the Assembly rooms featuring 'Shang-ti-Woo and Ung-ti-Woo, who will perform their amazing Chinese magic, including the mysterious disappearance of a Crawshawbooth boy'.

Throughout the 1920s and 30s church groups flourished. In 1931 there were the Church Lads Brigade, Mens Class. Football Club, Mothers Union, Girls Friendly Society, Guides, Rangers and Brownies. Guides, under the leadership of Miss C. K. Brooks, went to camp at Tarporley, Miss Brooks holding office as both Divisional and County Commissioner for Guides. The Sunday School had both Senior and Junior sections, with 36 teachers.

Times were not always easy. Mills were closing; "I have been playing one month and more — fed up, no work" recorded one Sunday school teacher in her diary for May 1926, followed by "July 26th. Scholar's Walking Day. Walked in front in white and roses round our heads. Carried crook". Walking Days, particularly at Whit week, were major events, and such attractive spectacles no doubt lightened worrying days.

In December 1935, while opening the 'Sale of Work', the wife of Rossendale's M.P. Ronald Cross paid tribute to the villagers. "In the past, the people of Crawshawbooth had found it difficult sometimes to carry on and support the church as well as they would have liked, owing to trade being very bad . . . they had suffered a great deal owing to the closing down of the mills. They were to be congratulated in having some very good friends at their church".

At the same event, Marshall Brooks, then aged 80, declared that "There was one thing he did want to tell the younger lot of that place. They of the old lot built the church, endowed it and kept it going. Now they felt that the younger lot must play a more prominent part".

Sunnyside Print works, once the flagship of the Brooks' 'Empire', closed in 1936. Although it had been owned for many years by Steiner and Co. (Steiner being the 'inventor' of the 'Turkey Red' dye) it was still the major employer in Crawshawbooth.

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Reproduced by kind permission of St John's P.C.C. 1992