The 1940s

'The twenty or so young men who gathered in the Chapel in October 1939, found themselves surrounded by war in Europe and filled with a conflict of feelings...To the academic courses were added A.R.P. lectures and later, fire watching rotas.' G.W. Underwood - Wesley House Magazine.

 

Many students were surprised at how 'normal' the House seemed at first but as the war progressed things became more and more difficult. Student numbers dwindled. 'A' block was given over to undergraduates from Jesus College. Lodgers and students from other Cambridge colleges took up rooms. Other Universities that had been evacuated from larger cities took advantage of the facilities. Students from the London School of Economics received lectures at Wesley House.

 

As war continued one Methodist training college after another closed its doors. In the summer of 1943 it seemed that Wesley House would also have to close its doors. However the presence of one solitary student - Joseph de Graft Johnson from The Gold Coast (now Ghana) kept the doors open.

1940

31st October: Memorial service for Maldwyn Hughes

1946

21st October: Second Decennial Commemoration (delayed from 1941)

1949

28th September: Dedication of the brass cross given by the Hughes Family in memory of the first Principal

The 1940s

'The twenty or so young men who gathered in the Chapel in October 1939, found themselves surrounded by war in Europe and filled with a conflict of feelings...To the academic courses were added A.R.P. lectures and later, fire watching rotas.' G.W. Underwood - Wesley House Magazine.

 

Many students were surprised at how 'normal' the House seemed at first but as the war progressed things became more and more difficult. Student numbers dwindled. 'A' block was given over to undergraduates from Jesus College. Lodgers and students from other Cambridge colleges took up rooms. Other Universities that had been evacuated from larger cities took advantage of the facilities. Students from the London School of Economics received lectures at Wesley House.

 

As war continued one Methodist training college after another closed its doors. In the summer of 1943 it seemed that Wesley House would also have to close its doors. However the presence of one solitary student - Joseph de Graft Johnson from The Gold Coast (now Ghana) kept the doors open.

The fact that there was only one student in the latter years of the war meant that the new intake of students in 1945 were effectively starting a new college. The war in many ways broke the continuity of the way the college had been run.

 

There was also a significant change in the student body. They were older (usually in their mid 20s) and virtually all of them had seen war time service in one way or another. For example Ben Drury had been in Singapore, become a prisoner and was transported to Japan. He was lucky to have survived.

 

The new student body was a heady mixture of maturity and exuberance. They were changed by what they had seen and experienced, less prepared to put up with petty restrictions and rules. There were lots of high spirited practical jokes.

1940

Dr H Maldwyn Hughes, born 17 September 1875 died on 20 August 1940. The funeral service took place at Muswell Hill Methodist Church on 23 August and a memorial service was held in Wesley House Chapel on 31 October. The Revd Dr Harold Roberts gave an address.

1942

Newton Flew became the first Methodist since John Wesley at Oxford in 1744 to preach a University Sermon. (The minutes of the Governors in November 1941 record "The Bidding Prayer having been suitably altered, the University Sermon was opened to Free Church Preachers for the first time on November 23rd 1941.")

1946

Flew became President of the Conference and to help cover his teaching duties Gordon Rupp was appointed to Wesley House as President's Assistant. He was far closer to the age of the students and understood them better. A past student of the college he was a lucid speaker with a brilliant mind, stimulating the study of Martin Luther and the Reformation. He became a firm student favourite. 

The second Decennial Commemoration, delayed from 1941, was held in October. 

1947-48

In 1947-1948 Dr Flew held the office as Moderator of the Free Church Federal Conference. During the Easter Term of 1948, accompanied by Mrs Flew, he was away in Australia, delivering the Cato Lecture. In the years following the war he became an increasingly promiment figure in ecumenical circles and through his many links with members of other communions he inspired in his students much of his own zeal for Christian unity.

1949

On 28 September 1949 a Service was held in Chapel at which a brass cross in memory of the first Principal was presented by the Hughes family. Dr R Newton Flew conducted the service and the Revd H Trevor Hughes gave an address. The Cross was placed on the Table by Mr Hughes and was dedicated by Dr Flew.

Eyewitness

WFF Flemington, John Stanfield

Wesley House, Jesus Lane, Cambridge, CB5 8BJ

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