St. Alban’s

Pembroke West Sunday School opened for the first time on September 22, 1907, having been founded by Archdeacon James Davidson. The school’s treasurer and superintendent was Mr. Jeremiah Darrell, 37 scholars attended. This building, during the week, was Miss Rosa Butterfield’s school.

This Clarence Avenue building in which the school was located was purchased by the Sunday School in August 1926 when the name was changed to St. Alban’s. Archdeacon Davidson had carried out the negotiations for this purchase from the Butterfields It was held by a board of twelve trustees.

St. Alban’s, actually a small mission church, worked in close harmony with St. John’s, the scholars processing from the Sunday School to the church for morning service each Sunday. In addition to the Sunday School, there was a Guild, a Mothers’ Union, and a Friendship Club. The Guild was officially founded on January 17, 1920, by Canon Groves at a meeting at the rectory, “Westfield”, the fore-runner of “Maria’s Hill”. Canon Groves was elected president as was each succeeding rector.

Canon Chapman took a close interest in St. Alban’s various groups which after his death gave a stained glass window to St. John’s in his memory. When he started the Church of England Men’s Society, with members coming from all parts of the parish, they met for a time in St. Alban’s Hall and later moved to St. John’s. The CEMS flourished until 1989 when the then new rector was not supportive and it discontinued its activities.

One of the mission’s best known activities was the organisation in 1936 by Pilot Robert Kennedy and Mr. Wilfred Robinson of the St. Alban’s Sea Scouts. Mr. Palmer Wade, one of the senior Sea Scouts tells of two most interesting events in connection with the St. Alban’s troop.

In 1937 two of these scouts, Palmer Wade and Richmond Smith, were selected to represent Bermuda at a World Scout Jamboree held in Washington DC. Later, during the Second World War when merchant ships assembled at Bermuda to travel in convoys these scouts performed an important service. Mr. Kennedy, one of the senior pilots, would take one of his Sea Scouts with him in the pilot boat out to a ship which they would board by the Jacob’s Ladder and travel with it until it had taken up its station in Murray’s Anchorage.

The name of the ship had then to be reported to Fort George. Due to wartime security, wireless could not be used, so the scout would put to good use his training and make this report by semaphore. St. Alban’s Sea Scouts were disbanded in about the mid-1950s.

Extensions were made to the building in 1961 which were dedicated by Canon Chapman on June 4 of that year.

The popular Friendship Club was enthusiastically promoted by Rev. Piers Warburton for elderly members who could not get around as easily as previously. It survived the closure of St Alban’s and continues on Thursday afternoons in the Hinson Cooper room at St John’s In the early 1980s the Mothers’ Union joined with that of St. Monica’s but placed its banner in St.
John’s where it is still to be seen today.

The Sunday School amalgamated with Pembroke Sunday School and the Guild with that of St. John’s. And so St.Alban’s as a separate entity came to an end, but its individual members served as teachers, sidesmen, guild members, vestrymen, and churchwardens.

The trustees agreed to give the building to St. John’s Church and it is today managed by the vestry.