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Wesley House in the 1950s

The Revd Dr Brian E Beck


Attendance at chapel was obligatory. Legend was that if you missed morning chapel the Principal would come round with a thermometer, assuming you were ill! On Wednesday mornings there were no college prayers as Meth Soc gathered (50 or 60 strong, with chairs brought in) for prayers at 7.30, followed by breakfast in Wesley students’ rooms. Every House man was assigned to a Meth Soc group, of which at the time there were over thirty. On Saturday mornings Morning Prayer, in a shortened version, was said, with a sung Venite and one sung canticle, often the Te Deum. It had to be truncated because there were University lectures for some on Saturday mornings. There were no prayers on Saturday evenings, or on Sundays when men worshipped in local churches or were out preaching.


A weekly feature in the Michaelmas and Lent Terms was the sermon class. Each Wednesday evening a first- or second-year student would preach to the whole college. In half an hour there was time only for a hymn a sermon and a short prayer. The pulpit on the organ side was used. Each student preached twice overall, once in each year. The service was followed immediately by the sermon class in the lecture room. One student was assigned to comment on the content of the service and overall style, the other on the substance of the sermon. It was then open to contributions from other students. The proceedings were concluded with a comment from the voice production tutor (Michael Prior, who came in for the occasion and stayed over to the Thursday to give individual tuition as needed), followed by the Tutor and finally the Principal, who would generally try to restore the balance if the comments had been unduly positive or negative.

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