To the Glory of God and in deathless memory of those of the parish who died in defence of King and Country in the Great War 1914 -19
The first eight were actively engaged in definite Christian work in connection with the Church when called to the colours.
WALTER GEORGE GOSLING
IPSWICH VOLUNTEERS at CHURCH
UNVEILING MEMORIAL TABLET
The Boer War.
March 1901 Suffolk Chronicle & Mercury newspaper
A very interesting and attractive service was held at St. Michael’s Church, Ipswich, on Sunday afternoon, the occasion being the unveiling of a memorial tablet to the late Sergt. Garrard, who died whilst serving with the Volunteer Companies in South Africa. Parade formed up at the Drill Hall at three o’clock, there being five Companies of the 1st V.B.S.R., including the cyclists, and the Boys’ Brigade connected with St. Michael’s and other churches of the town. The officers present included Major F.G. Bond (in command), Major W.A. Churchman, Captain and Adjutant F. Murray, Captain F.W. Turner, Captain W. Tertius Pretty, Lieut. W. Catchpole, Lieut. M.F. Mason, and Lieut. G.B. Steward. There were altogether about 230 on parade, including officers, but the muster would have undoubtedly been larger had the recruits, numbering about one hundred, received their equipments and clothing. Leaving the Drill Hall at 3.15, the Volunteers, headed by the band , under Band-Master Dunt, followed by the Cyclists Company, looking very smart and trim, under Capt. Pretty, the rear being brought up by the Boys’ Brigade. Arrived at St. Michael’s Church, the Volunteers occupied the seats reserved for them. A hymn having been sung, the Vicar, the Rev. W.J. Garrould, announced that the tablet on the south wall of the transept would be unveiled, and thereupon Capt. Turner and Segt.-Major Sparkes, and Colr.-Sergt. W. Fenner and Colr.-Sergt. A. Mills formed up and marched to the south transept. The Colr.-Sergeants unveiled the tablet and the Sergt.-Major, at the request of the Vicar, read the inscription aloud, as follows:-
“This Tablet is erected by the non-commissioned Officers of the Ipswich Companies 1st V.B.S.R. as a token of fraternal regard to the memory of Sergeant E.C. Garrard, who died while serving with the Volunteer Company at Germiston, South Africa, July 7th 1900, aged 27 years.”
The service was then resumed, the Vicar delivered an admirable discousre, chosing for his subject “A Good Soldier,” in the course of which he referred to the late Sergt. Garrard, as essentially coming within the category of a good soldier, and said it must be gratifying alike to his friends and conrades to see how highly he was respected, and how greatly his services as Captain of the Boys’ Brigade, and in other capacities as an ardent and efficient Volunteer were appreciated. The offertory was in aid of the Widows and Orphans of the soldiers who had fallen in South Africa.
After church, the Volunteers marched back to the Drill Hall, where the Companies formed up in the outer rink in quarter column, and the Volunteer long-service and good conduct medal was presented to Bandsman C. Butcher by Major F.G. Bond, who, in a brief address, pointed out that the medal was one much coveted amongst Volunteers, and one which they highly prized when it fell to their lot to receive it, as a member had to do twenty years’ service, while his conduct had to be satisfactory to entitle him to be recommended for such an honour. He (Major Bond) might say that he believed that that was the first medal of the kind presented under the new reign. He hoped that the presentation that day would act as an incentive to the recruits present to try and deserve a like acknowledgement of their services.
On March 7th 2011, a fire devastated the church, destroying the roof and internal structure. Many memorials within the church were believed to be lost, one being the WW1 Memorial, an oak panel with carved gilded lettering. In 2019, the project team were kindly granted permission to search for the Boer War memorial which was made of stone, so was assumed to be capable of surviving the fire. Sadly this was not the case, only the bolts on the wall remained. To the teams surprise it was revealed the WW1 memorial had been removed from the church in 1997, being kept in storage.
In 1997 St. Michael’s church was made redundant. The population had fallen as the Pottery’s and water front area of Ipswich had been knocked down through slum clearance in the 1930’s and 1960’s. Then Planning blight of the new development of the Mint Quarter (shopping centre) in the 80’s and 1990’s held back the redevelopment of the area.
JIMAS a Muslim educational charity which works to create greater understanding about Islam amongst Muslims and people of other faiths or none, through Education, Engagement and Service. They bought St Michael’s Church in 2011 with the intention of redeveloping it into a community centre. Following the fire (arson), the Church Hall, next to the church has since been restored and is active within the surrounding community. The community group continues to raise money to restore and develop the church.
Upper Orwell Street, Ipswich, IP4 1HN
The church’ foundation stone was laid in 1890