It’s started – the St James’ Exhibition Spaces
By David Fleming
It’s all very exciting. After over three years of detailed research, and much hard work by many volunteers, plus generous support from a number of funders, the Exhibition Spaces at St James have started to arrive. Yesterday, Monday 18th February 2019, a furniture van drew up full of the woodwork need to provide the display surfaces, and the panels, lighting and other equipment running all across the back of the Nave.
Once the joiner has completed the main stage of his work this week, we will start to put out all the historical artefacts that have been discovered and prepared. There will be seven Bibles and Prayer Books, the earliest dating from 1716, and one dated 1737 which was owned by a cousin of the bard, Robert Burns. They will be accompanied by explanations of their historical relevance, and over the next few months, much greater detail will be added on to the church’s website http://www.stjames-stonehaven.org.uk
You will also be able to see most of the beautiful silverware and pewterware, some dating from the 1600s, which have been used in the chapel and church, and which lain unseen in our cupboards for decades.
Our design contractor has done wonders with the texts, pictures and graphics to explain the long and fascinating history of the Episcopal Church in Stonehaven starting from 1688 and running through to the present day. There will also be an interactive Virtual Reality app for your smartphone, so that you can stroll round the church and hear details of some of the key features of the church in front of you.
The Exhibition Space devoted to the organ will have material from the John Wardle archive. John built the St James’ organ (which is still in use) and was Organist and Choirmaster for 58 years from 1882 to 1941. We are fortunate in receiving from John’s great-grandson a mantlepiece clock and vases given to John for 25 years’ service in 1907.
Further displays will explain how a church organ works, and why it is such an important musical instrument. John built over 150 church organs during his time in the North East and as the agent for Edward Wadsworth of Oldham, and details of all these installations (and others that John tuned and maintained) will be shown.
St James Church will remain open from morning to evening and entrance is free. All visitors will be most welcome.