A Lamp Miscellany

Title Pic Possible

This blog is written to accompany the first draft of a newly compiled Roll of Lamps – the link to which is at the end of the article – which attempts to catalogue all the Lamps of Maintenance of Toc H. The catalogue is a work in progress. This article recaps the history of the Lamp of Maintenance and explores some of the dedications and other facets of the many lamps issued over the years.

The Lamp is perhaps the image most evocative of Toc H to many people, and like it or not, the phrase “As dim as a Toc H Lamp” will be remembered in popular culture long after all achievements of the Movement are lost in the winds of time.

The focus of this particular article is the Lamp of Maintenance, the symbol of the Men’s branches. I don’t mean to do the Women’s Movement a disservice and I hope to put a similar effort towards cataloguing their Lamps of the Magnificat at a later date. And yes, cataloguing, because accompanying this article is a report from a database of Lamps I have been compiling. I must stress at the outset that this is a work in progress. Ultimately I want it to contain every lamp, every dedication, and all pertinent information relating to it, including its ultimate fate. This I fear could be a lifetime’s work but it is begun. I also want to add colour to the Lamps by exploring the person behind the dedication. This article contains a few snippets like that as well as some statistics based on the database so far.


First let us recap the basics. Most scholars of Toc H and those with an interest in its story will be aware of the history and purpose of the Toc H Lamps so I won’t dwell on these aspects. Suffice to say that in the June 1922 edition of The Journal, Barclay Baron reflected on the ceremonies of organisations such as the Church and the Freemasons, and acknowledged that a group of Toc H men couldn’t gather together in one place without bursting into a verse or two or Rogerum. He bemoaned that fact that Toc H had not then produced a distinctive badge by which the world might know it except the wristlet (which I believe was only available to Foundation Members).

Leonard Wrist Strap

A Foundation member’s wristlet – the only badge or emblem of early Toc H

So yearning for something to rival the YMCA’s red triangle; the Freemason’s square and compasses; the Rotary Club’s cog-wheel, Barkis put forward the idea of a lamp. A lamp he described as

the simplest and most beautiful kind of lamp, the little boat-shaped lamp which the Romans used when they wanted a bottle of Falernian out of the cellar.

It appears that these thoughts of Barkis has emerged the previous month when he and Tubby were sitting in the waiting room of a stockbroker in Bristol with whom they had an appointment. Shortly after the article appeared a wooden model had been commissioned from Wippell & co and soon the lamp and casket designed by W. R. Paterson, was made available.

Wippell AdvertWippell were from the west of England and initially established themselves as grocers. By 1851, Joseph Wippell had expanded the business into church decorations, many of which were displayed at the Great Exhibition that year. By 1897 they had acquired London premises in Duncannon Street near Trafalgar Square and became the de facto supplier of religious furniture and the like. Wippell and co are still trading today.

The Lamp, which I trust readers of this blog will be familiar with, comprises a cast bronzed lamp with a detachable Cross of Lorraine (The arms of the city of Ypres, use of which was granted to Toc H by the city) replacing the traditional XP of a catacomb lamp, and an extinguisher cap covering the wick at the other end of boat shaped lamp. This was the Lamp of Maintenance (definitely not the Lamp of Remembrance as they are often mistakenly called, even by members, and certainly not the Lamp of Memory which appears in the press many times). Fifty were cast initially but more must soon have been made as by the time of the first Lamp Lighting festival in December 1922 sixty-three Lamps would be lit.

Lamp Sketch

Barclay Baron’s original design sketch

Whilst symbolically critical to branches, materially the lamps were of little consequence; it is the caskets and the dedications thereon that make these historically valuable.


Sheringham Lamp showing an earlier sliding door casket

Be aware that there are two types of lamp and casket. From 1922 until 1939 the lamps had a green patina and the caskets, a sliding door to access the storage inside. From 1939 the lamps were Bronze-Brown and the caskets had a lifting lid. There were also some Silver Lamps but more of these later.

The Lamp and the Light
He who now holds this token, may his soul
Remembering of its form and flame the birth
Resolve the Chapel of the lamp be known
For service, not for ease; where Self a throne
For ever lacks, and where the exhausted Earth
From hate by love is conquered and made whole

Leslie Nicholls

MArk I Petition

Mark I Petition for a Lamp

So much for the physical item but what about the use and regulations.

Until this point, all units of Toc H were known as Branches but the arrival of the Lamp as a badge of merit enabled some changes to the system. Now a unit of Toc H would start out as a Group (later a pre-Group status of Grope would be used informally) and only be elevated to a Branch at the discretion of the Central Council. If they were happy that the unit were ready to become a Branch then a Lamp would be bestowed upon them as a symbol. From 5th June 1923 the Central Council appointed a Guard of the Lamp (originally Tubby, Barclay Baron, and John Hollis), a committee whose duty was to regulate and safeguard all matters concerning Lamps. The Guard would recommend promotion to the Central Council and the Branch would then expected to submit a petition. If granted the Lamp would be loaned to the Branch in stewardship to be returned or recalled if the standards fell or the Branch closed. The Guard were to be reappointed annually.

Bradwell Petition

Bradwell’s petition

The date the unit was elevated to Branch status would often be recorded under the Branch name as was the date on which the Lamp was ceremonially bestowed and first lit (Originally by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales). This would happen at a suitable event, normally the December Birthday Party until the Bestowals grew so much in number that the Lamp lighting had to take place at other times and on other continents.

Lamplighting Festival 1922 Query Name People

The first lamp-lighting at the 1922 Birthday Festival

PoW Lighting Lamp

The Prince of Wales’ lights his taper from his Lamp

The first lamp-lighting took place at the Guildhall on the 15th December 1922 at the Second Birthday party. Holding a long wax taper, the Prince lit each new Branch lamp (44 Branches, those of 18 schools, and his own) as they approached him in threes; the first man holding the Lamp, the second it’s casket, and the third a Branch banner (Nothing like the banners we later became familiar with).

Guildhall 1922

A Barclay Baron sketch of the first lamp-lighting

Despite the long established assumption that all Toc H Lamps were first lit from the Prince’s Lamp, descriptions of the evening in The Journal and the contemporary press are clear that the Branch and School Lamps were lit first then Tubby knelt whilst the Prince’s Lamp was lit. The Prince of Wales Lamp, a silver lamp (See below) was provided by the Prince himself to Toc H as a whole, in memory of his friends. Afterwards it was placed on Croke’s Tomb at All Hallows, firstly in the open but later in a magnificent casket (Described later). Here it remains to this day burning eternally….OK, it’s no longer allowed to be alight most of the time but at least it’s still there.

PoW Lamp on Crokes before casket

A rare picture of the Prince’s Lamp on Croke’s Tomb before the Casket was built

Binyon wrote these words about the Prince’s Lamp for the 1928 Christmas Annual:

The Pilgrimage
The flame upon the Altar lives
In its own home of Light apart,
And yet it shines on secret tears
And in the darkness of the heart.
More real than any world of ours
Is that still Presence of the Light,
Happy are they who harbour there,
Happy, who keep it whole in sight.
How still, amid our noise and fret,
It burns and trembles and aspires,
Drawing our spirits from the cloud
And aching of our old desires.
The young-eyes spirits whom we knew
Who smiled, and whom we called by name.
Who went in their own faith to die,
Are flames within that trembling flame
Now all the corners of the earth
Look on them where so clear they shine,
A single glory, a radiant fire,
By day and night a silent sign.
O dear, untroubled, happy Dead,
Comrades eternal, now and here
When most we falter in our fight,
When most we fail you, be you near

Lawrence Binyon

It is worth taking a few minutes to document when and where the lamp-lighting normally took place. The Birthday Festivals of Toc H, were in those early years, the most magnificent of festivals. The first was held in December 1921 at Grosvenor House in Park Lane. Not the hotel that stands on the site now but a magnificent townhouse that was the London residence of the Duke of Westminster, a good friend to Toc H. It was a gathering of the growing band of Toc H men including Prince Henry, the third son of George V. It was held to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the opening of Talbot House as well as the approximate second birthday of the founding of Toc H as an association.

Stott Sketch of First lamp Lighting.jpgW R S STott Illustration of First Lamplighting Festival

A reproduction of R.S. Stott’s sketch of the first lamp-lighting

The following year though was when the celebrations really found their feet. This time events were held over an entire weekend (15-16th December 1922) and at several venues. The date being celebrated was the 15th as – at that time – it was believed to be the date Talbot House opened. 1922 had been Tubby’s annus mirabilis with Toc H receiving its Royal Charter at the Birthday weekend, Toc H getting its Guild Church (or Anglican anchor!) when Tubby received the living of All Hallows, the LWH starting, Peter Monie joining as Honorary Administrator, and, as we have seen, the introduction of the Lamp. The first Lamps were lit at the Guildhall on the Saturday Evening.

Dec 1923 Lamplighting 2

The 1923 lamp-lighting

In 1923 the party was again held at the Guildhall on the 15th but by 1924 had moved to the Memorial Hall in Farringdon Street, then, in 1925, the size of the Movement necessitated moving to the Royal Albert Hall.

In 1926, Tubby unearthed some letters he sent to his mother that showed that Talbot House actually opened on the 11th December and the birthday moved to that day where it remains. By chance, the following day is also Tubby’s birthday! The 1926 Festival was actually held at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester and 1927 it was back to the RAH. There was no new Lamps lit at the 1928 Festival at the RAH because the Prince of Wales was in Africa but in April 1929 Lamp Lighting took place in Great Church House in Dean’s Yard, Westminster. In December that year they were back at the RAH but 1930 even that venue was outgrown for a National event so Regional Festivals were held without lamp-lighting. Instead a huge summer celebration took place at Crystal Palace in June 1931 where the new Lamps were lit for the first time.

December 1932 saw the festivities move to Birmingham Town Hall whilst 1933 was at the RAH and 1934 at De Montfort Hall in Leicester.1935 was skipped in favour of another summer festival at Crystal Palace in 1936 this time celebrating Toc H’s ‘Coming of Age’. In 1937 they were at the Exhibition Buildings in York and in 1938 back at the RAH then Hitler intervened and it would be 1948 before the Birthday Festival returned in full, once again at the RAH.

1924 festival Programme

Part of the programme for the 1924 Family Party which included the lamp-lighting

Use of Lamps

A Branch was expected to light its Lamp at every meeting although precisely when was not prescribed. The ceremony though was set and was called simply Light. At the appropriate time the Chairman would call Light and all present would stand. The room lights were dimmed and the lamp was lit. It was placed where all in the room could see it and one was expected to gaze on the flame and not to shut one’s eyes. The words of Remembrance would then be spoken by the leader. The original words were based on the middle stanza to Lawrence Binyon’s famous Ode To Remembrance (Itself a subset of three stanzas for the seven stanza poem, For The Fallen)

With proud thanksgiving let us remember our Elder Brethren
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

The last line would be echoed by those present. There would then follow a full minute’s silence before the lamp was extinguished and the house lights turned back on.

Later an alternative form based on The Prayer of St Francis was introduced.

Lighting a Lamp

A second rite that utilised the Lamp was the Initiation Ceremony of a new member. In this ritual the lighted lamp was put in the candidates hands by the chairman and the following dialogue played out

Chair: What is this?
Candidate: The Lamp of Maintenance
Chair: What first lit it?
Candidate: Unselfish sacrifice
Chair: What alone will maintain it?
Candidate: Unselfish service
Chair: What is service?
Candidate: The rent we pay for our room on earth

What few will remember is the ceremony of Grand Light! It was decreed that at a common meal or other meeting of the branch deemed proper, the greater rite known as Grand Light could be taken. There is lengthy diatribe about how it should be performed which I’ll precis here. The newest or youngest branch member lights the lamp. All present bring forward a taper which they light at the lamp. The chairman shall strike a bell or bang a hammer on the table and say

“By the Spirit, which this Lamp betokens, let me re-light my torch.”

At which point every member holds his taper aloft. There follows a minute’s silence after which each member extinguishes his taper in a convenient glass or bowl of water. It didn’t catch on!

And one final ceremony which is too large to do justice to here is the World Chain of Light. I will look at this in a separate blog someday.

As mentioned earlier, it is the caskets and their dedications that make the lamps unique and of historical value. It was decided early on that Branches should attempt to get their lamp paid for by a donor in memory of someone they have lost, mostly in the Great War but not exclusively.

Nice ful set for Harry Burgess

A full set of Lamp plaques

This is what the Guard of the Lamp had to say about the rules around this in 1928:

The oak Casket of every Lamp should bear four engraved bronze plates, which are supplied by the Guard of the Lamp. The first plate gives the name of the Branch, the second the date on which the Lamp was ceremonially bestowed and first lit. The other two plates should be engraved with the memorial inscriptions e.g., “The John Smith Lamp” — “In memory of John Smith” (with the particulars of the date and place of his death, etc.). The dedication may, of course, be to any one or more men or women, who have passed over to join the Elder Brethren—whether in the War or otherwise. Clearly a local donor and a name which has particular meaning to the Branch will be specially valued. The cost of the Lamp is £10 10s. A printed form describing the Lamp, etc., for the use of donors can be obtained from the Guard.

Most branches took this task on with gusto which is why, when compiling the database that accompanies this article, it was disappointing to increasingly see the rather unimaginative number of lamps simply dedicated to “the Elder Brethren of Anytown” donated by “the Branch”

Bradwell by me

Bradwell (Norfolk) Casket

There was some discussion about where Lamps should be kept when not in use. Some Branches planned elaborate shrines and caskets; some stood it in a convenient chapel; most bunged them in a cupboard or locker in their branch rooms (from whence they were occasionally stolen e.g. Colchester 1938). At the meeting they normally stood on the table in front of the chairman but some branches favoured a repurposed aspidistra stand (Still in use at the chapel at Talbot House!). For the creative carpenter’s a wall mounted shelf akin to that illustrated was favoured.

Example of Stand for Lamp

An example of a wall-mounted Lamp stand

Now, it is time to take a look at some non-standard lamps. When the Lamp was introduced and became the emblem of a fully-fledged Branch, it was soon realised that the fledgling Groups would also need something so the Rushlight was introduced in late 1925.


A Rushlight

In the thirties a new unit status was introduced – from the US units – for men just starting to gather together in the name of Toc H. It was, rather perfectly, known as a Grope. Although never formally adopted, it did seem to gain currency for a time (including with the LWH) and most Gropes used a simple candle as their emblem.

Mentioning the LWH, I must just reference their emblem, the Lamp of the Magnificat. As I said, I will revisit this in due course but cannot cover it in this article.

Lamp of the Magnificat

Lamp of the Magnificat

Silver lamps

Perhaps the most intriguing set of lamps are the almost forgotten silver lamps. Actually just bronze lamps coated in oxidised silver they have no real intrinsic value above the standard lamps but were reserved for special use.

The Prince of Wales Lamp
Endowed and first lit 15th December 1922
Current whereabouts: All Hallows

Tubby with POW Lamp 2

Though not often realised, the first of these Silver Lamps is the Prince of Wales Lamp. If you see it in All Hallows, its gleam is dull where it stands constantly in the open. A recent close inspection by Adey Grummet, the Education and History Officer at All Hallows, revealed that in the deepest nooks and crannies of the Lamp, there are still traces of the silver plate but mostly it has eroded to reveal the bronze lamp below. Whether this is due to exposure alone, over enthusiastic polishing, or it was deliberately stripped back is currently unknown.

It was decided early on that the Prince’s lamp would need a special casket to house it on Croke’s Tomb. Alex Smithers (Former Major 154th Heavy Brigade) and a member of the Executive presented the design in the early summer of 1923. Branches all asked to send a sketch of the coat of arms for the city or town they represented. The casket was made from bronze, gilt, and enamel set behind polished stones. It is adorned with tiny glass panels on which are painted the arms of the cities and towns aforementioned which are lit from behind.

PoW Lamp by me close up

The Prince’s Lamp in it’s Casket

The City of Ypres Lamp
Endowed 25th March 1923
Current whereabouts: Burgomaster’s Office, Cloth Hall, Ieper

“To the Glory of God and in memory of the men of the Belgian Army who gave their lives in the defence of Ypres”

Presented to M. Colaert, former Burgomaster of Ypres in the Grande Place on Palm Sunday (25th March 1923) by a Lamp Party consisting of B. S. Browne, S.S. Paterson and B. Baron. Dedicated by the Dean of Westminster somewhat belatedly on 8th December 1928 (As part of that year’s Birthday Festival), it was kept in the Hotel de Ville (Former name of Cloth Hall) where it remains to this day in the Burgomaster’s office. (Confirmed by Jan Dewilde, Conservator – March 2020)

The Belgian War Museum Lamp
Endowed 21st August 1924
Current Whereabouts: Royal Museum of the Armed Forces, Brussels

“In memory of Talbot House Poperinghe-Ypres, 1915:1918”

This Lamp was presented to the Belgian War Museum in 1924 by the Prince of Wales, through Colonel Maton, Belgian Military Attaché in London. The Lamp, described as a Model, sits on an Oak pedestal on which there are four silver plates engraved as follows.

  • Model of the Lamp of maintenance of Toc H:
  • In memory of Talbot House Poperinghe-Ypres, 1915-1918
  • Presented to the Royal War Museum of Belgium, 1924
  • By His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Patron of Toc H

An inscription, illuminated by A.A. Moore, accompanied the lamp. The Lamp remains in the museum’s collection (Catalogue No. 1102322) though the museum is now called the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces. (Confirmed by Dr Pierre Lierneux, War Heritage Institute – February 2020)

The Forster Lamp
First lit 13th December 1924
Current Whereabouts: The Saint Michael (Warriors’) Chapel, Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

“In memory of John, 2nd Lieut., 2nd Batt. K.R.R.C., killed in action 14.9.1914; and of Alfred, Lt., Royal Scots Grey, died of wounds near Le Cateau 17.10.1918.”

This lamp was given by the Governor General, Lord Forster, and is the lamp from which all other Toc H lamps in Australia were lit. In 1923, the then Governor General of Australia, Lord Forster wrote to Tubby Clayton indicating that he and Lady Forster wished to endow a Toc H Lamp in memory of their two sons who were killed during the Great War. In December 1924 the Forster Lamp was lit by the Prince of Wales at the Royal Albert Hall in London. It was brought to Australia by Tubby Clayton and Pat Leonard in 1925 and given to Lord and Lady Forster.

At first, it was intended that the Forster Lamp should be presented to the first Toc H Group in Australia to be granted full Branch status, but with Groups starting up almost simultaneously in all States, some Toc H members thought that this could lead to unhealthy competition. It was then suggested that the Forster Lamp should become the Federal Lamp and be kept burning in Christ Church Anglican Cathedral in Newcastle. A Ceremony of Enshrinement was held in 1926 during which the Forster Lamp was placed in the Warriors’ Chapel. In 1927 a great Toc H Festival was held in Christ Church Cathedral and the Forster Lamp was used to light five other Toc H Lamps – from Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle.
Forster Casket

The Forster Casket (A sketch by Barclay Baron)

The Herbert Fleming Lamp
First lit 14th May 1925
Relit 11th December 1926
Current Whereabouts: Still being determined

This lamp stood before the Empire Roll of Honour in the Government Pavilion at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1925. Lit by H.M. the Queen on the 14th May and remained burning until the exhibition closed on the 31st October.

After temporarily resting on the Boardroom table at Toc H HQ, it was presented to the Royal Army Chaplains Department in proud thanksgiving for the life and example of Herbert Fleming, Honorary Administrative Padre 1923-1926. It was lit in his memory at the Eleventh Birthday festival at Manchester on the 11th December 1926 by the Prince of Wales, and dedicated by the Chaplain General to the Forces on the 19th June 1927.

Fleming lamp

Herbert Fleming Shrine (Sketch by Barclay Baron)

Originally held in a shrine in the chapel of the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich, a panel on the shrine bore the following inscription:

“To the Glory of God and in memory of Herbert James Fleming, C.M.G., C.F., who was Chaplain of the Royal Military Academy from 1911-1914 and 1918-1922, and died while watching the R.M.A. v R.M.C. Rugby Football Match on 17th December, 1926”

A further panel behind the Lamp explained how it came to be donated by Toc H


It was to be lit on Armistice Day each year and then again on 17th November which was Fleming’s birthday.

The Lamp of India
First lit 15th December 1925
Current Whereabouts: Still being determined

Lit 15 Dec 1925 at St Paul’s Cathedral, Calcutta by the Hon. Mr Justice H.G. Pearson Chairman of the Toc H Council of India in front of a congregation the Viceroy and Lady Irwin, and the Governor and Lady Lytton. It was entrusted to the All-India Council of Toc H and burned perpetually on a pedestal in the Chapel of Remembrance with a War Graves cross from the grave of an Unknown Soldier below it.

Lamp of India

Lamp of India sketch

The Sidney Byass Lamp (The Lamp of Wales)
First lit 7th December 1929
Current Whereabouts: Toc H Archive, Cadbury Special Collection, Birmingham

“In memory of Sir Sidney Byass, Bart., First President of the Toc H Council for Wales, who died on February 18, 1929.”

Lit by the Prince of Wales in London on the 7th December 1929, this silver Lamp was dedicated on the 18th January 1930 by the Archbishop of Wales, a President of Toc H in Wales in Llandaff Cathedral.

Instead of being kept in one place like other national lamps, it was kept a year at time in various Welsh Cathedrals or Churches such as Merthyr, Neath, Swansea and Pontypridd. It also put in appearances at events like the National Eisteddfod in 1953.

Returned to HQ it is now in the Toc H archives at Birmingham University

Silver Lamp of Wales

The Sydney Byass Lamp (The Lamp of Wales)

The Plumer Lamp
First lit 3rd December 1932
Current whereabouts: Silver Store, York Minster

“In memory of Field-Marshall First Viscount Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer of Messines, 1857-1932, President of Toc H”

Lit by the Prince of Wales at Birmingham on the 3rd December 1932, it was deposited in the Zouche Chapel of York Minster and dedicated by Dean of York 3 Sep 1933. It was kept in an aumbry designed by Walter Tapper, the Minster architect. It was later removed from display and is currently in the Silver Store at the Minster.


The aumbry at York Minster

School Lamps

At the same time as Branches started being granted lamps, Toc H also issued some to affiliated schools. The first 18 listed here were lit at the inaugural Lamp-Lighting festival 15 Dec 1922 but although Toc H continued to work with schools the practice of issuing lamps was stopped as it was a badge of Branch status. Only Bradfield received a Lamp after this time.

Firstly we must mention Knutsford Test School which seems to straddle both the Branch and School camps in those early days. Knutsford was of course the Ordination Test School established by Tubby in the old gaol. They were gifted a lamp that was lit on 15th December 1922 at the Guildhall and they appear at the top of the first School Lamps list. However they also appear in the Branch lists as Branch no. 41. Whatever the position then, the Lamp later became The Padres’ Lamp: In memory of Oswin Creighton, C.F., attached 42nd Bde. R.F.A. 15.4.1918, though I’m not clear where it went to. Creighton was one of Neville Talbot’s officers and chaplains.

Eastbourne EBN 1922 16 Dec TOC H lamp

And so to the schools proper.

Berkhamsted School
Tubby preached at Berkhamsted School in June 1922 just as the concept of the Lamp was being born. So perhaps it’s no surprise that this Hertfordshire School were one of those to receive a Lamp at that first Lamp Lighting festival on 15th December 1922. Leslie Koulouris, the school archivist, was not able to shed any light on the Lamp’s history at the school but we do know that the plaques are in the archives at Talbot House which suggests the lamp and casket were destroyed.

Bishop’s Stortford College
I currently have no information on the Bishop’s Stortford College lamp. The college do not know its fate.

Blundells School
Mike Sampson at Blundell’s School in Devon assures me that not only do they have the Lamp still but it is on permanent display in the School Chapel on its casket. They have even retained the box in which it was presented including a small explanatory booklet. The school representatives at the Guildhall receiving the Lamp that evening were Mr Gerald Vernon Hotblack (Westlake Housemaster), L. N. Cholmeley, and R. Purvis. Mr Hotblack worked closely with the Schools Section of Toc H and there are records of him speaking at a London Conference in 1928.

Brighton College
This Lamp is still on display at Brighton.

Brighton College Lamp

Brighton College Lamp on display still

Bromsgrove School
The fate of this Lamp has not yet been ascertained.

Christ’s Hospital School
Like Bromsgrove its whereabouts currently unknown. We do know that two Grecians (Upper Sixth pupils) and one Dep. (Deputy Grecian or Lower Sixth pupil) attended the Guildhall to receive the Lamp. It then stood in the Chapel near the organ to be lit on special days (Armistice etc.) but it is not known when it left the school.

Eastbourne College
Paul Jordan explains that the college only have the wooden casket and even then one of the wooden panels (Presumably the sliding one) is missing. Another panel is blank and the other two have plaques inscribed ‘Eastbourne College’ and ‘Bestowed 15 XII 1922’. We know that Mr Tanqueray, R.F. Bateman, and A.B. Carter received the Lamp from the Prince on the College’s behalf.
Eastbourne EBN March 31 1923 TOC H lamp `

Harrow School
Another Lamp missing in action. School Curator Julia Walton is not sure what happened to it.

King’s School, Canterbury
Mr Mayne along with the School Captain and House-Monitor received the Lamp from the Prince in December 1922. Peter Henderson, Harrow Archivist, is not sure when it went missing but feels it may have been when the school was evacuated during World War II. It must have ended up at Toc H HQ though and scrapped along with the others as the brass, casket plaques have end up in the Talbot House archives.

Marlborough College
The fate of the Marlborough Lamp is unknown but curator Gráinne Lenehan is keeping an eye out

Mill Hill School
I’m still waiting hear from Mill Hill about their Lamp.

Sedbergh School
The whereabouts of the Sedbergh School Lamp is currently unknown but in 2013 local historian and sometime Talbot House Warden Mike Wilson presented the school with the old Sedbergh Branch lamp (Dedicated “In memory of the Old Sedberghians who fell in the Great War 1914-1918” and First Lit in London by the Prince of Wales 27.04.1929) which was given to him by a neighbour.

Solihull School
The Solihull School casket plaques are in the Toc H archive so I am fairly confident the lamp was returned to HQ and subsequently destroyed.

Solihull School

St Edward’s School, Oxford
Another of the original Lamps, St Edward’s School sent a deputation of a master and two boys receive their Lamp from the Prince of Wales on 15th December 1922. It was placed in the Chapel. I haven’t yet established its fate.

St George’s School, Harpendon
I was delighted to hear from the School Chaplain, the Revd. Steve Warner, that this Lamp is still in the care of the school and is used at every Remembrance service.

Harpendon School

St. John’s School, Leatherhead
Bestowed on the school by the Prince of Wales on 15th December 1922, the lamp then stood in the chapel on the ledge of the west window. The name plaque is now in the Toc H archive so at some point it was returned to the Movement and almost certainly melted down.

St Johns School

St. Paul’s School
Ginny Dawe-Woodings, School archivist, confirms they received a Lamp but doesn’t know of its fate. According to The Paulian, the school journal, the Lamp was received from the Prince by the Captain of the School, A. M. Farrer accompanied by E. P. C. Cotter and Mr. Temperley. The Lamp was to be stood in the school’s Memorial Chapel which, at the time, was still being completed.

Westminster School
Elizabeth Wells, Archivist and Records Manager at Westminster School, could find no records of the lamp. A lot of the school’s possessions were destroyed in the blitz, including our First World War memorial, and it may well be that the lamp was lost at this time. It was one of the originals lit in December 1922.

Bradfield College (1925)
The only School Lamp not lit in December 1922, this one was given to the college in early 1925 by Mrs Robertson, the mother of an old Bradfield boy, Edward John Macrory Robertson who died at the Battle of Festubert in May 1915. He is buried at Beuvry Communal cemetery. The dedication reads, In memory of Mac Robertson, Lieut., 70th Battery, Royal Field Artillery. Festubert, 22.5.1915; and of the boys of Bradfield College who gave their lives in the war. Mrs Robertson had also already given The Unknown Heroes’ Lamp to Portsmouth Branch and paid for the Unknown Heroes’ Room at Mark V (Southampton). Bradfield College was where Kate Luard [link] was Matron but whether this had any bearing on the bestowal is not known. The Mac Robertson Lamp was later earmarked for reendowing to Bushey and Oxhey Branch and lit on 4-Mar-1936 (although I have contradictory information about the dedication on the Branch lamp that is yet to be unravelled). The whereabouts of the Mac Robertson Lamp are unknown.

The above list mentions the destruction of lamps several times so it is worth a brief note on what this is about. Essentially as Branches closed and members died, some Lamps were returned to HQ and were stored in a shed at Wendover. Eventually, and with an office move on the horizon, a decision was made to get rid of many of these surplus lamps. Plaques were taken from the caskets and stored – eventually being split between the Talbot House archive in Poperinge and the Toc H archive in Birmingham. Those who were around at the time believe the lamps were melted down to prevent them being sold on the open market whilst the wooden caskets were skipped. Letters were semnt out to known branches and holders asking for the return of Lamps to prevent them being sold on eBay or in antique shops.

GY Lamp

Great Yarmouth Lamp

Thankfully many lamps survive with remain branches and members, in museums and churches or in collectors hands. Others probably sit in attics across the world and will one day resurface.

A word about logos and badges

The Lamp has, of course, been central to Toc H logos and badges since it was introduced and whilst the earliest logo – the lovely art deco monogram – didn’t incorporate a Lamp, everyone since did, until the unpopular ‘rugby posts/TV aerial’ that was used briefly in the new millennium. And since badges were generally based on the logo, they too have largely included a lamp or a stylised interpretation of a lamp on them. See this blog [link] for a look at badges. And here’s a rare example of a logo that included a lamp. This is the little used combined Toc H and Rover Scouts Logo for when the former were largely responsible for forming and running the latter throughout the UK.

Rover Scout Logo

Toc H Rover Scouts’ logo

This is the first ever Toc H logo that incorporates the Lamp. It’s from 1922 and was used for literature of the period.

First Lamp Design Logo for Literature 1922

When is a Toc H Lamp not a Toc H Lamp

Finally in this section, we have spoken a lot about what the Lamp is, so perhaps a cautionary word on what it isn’t!

You will frequently see Scripture Union badges being sold on eBay as Toc H badges. Sure they feature a catacombs style lamp but that is a very common icon. Early British Nursing Association badges also featured one as did the pictured American Lamp Lighters badge which may or may not be connected to the Christian Lamplighters Ministries.

Perhaps though the worst case of mistaken identity is this one. In a New Zealand chapel?? It claims that the lamp in the larger picture is a Lamp of the Brotherhood or Fraternitatis Lumen, one of 84 decorative oil lamps cast from the bronze doors of the destroyed Monte Cassino Abbey in Italy. Clearly this is a Toc H Lamp of Maintenance. The Lamp of the Brotherhood (Inset) is quite different. Not quite sure who managed this fubar!

Lamp Of The Brotherhood Illustration

And thus we end our look at the story of Lamps in Toc H and now turn to the stories of some of those memorialised with them.

Tubby setting off from Southampton with teh Malay lamp

Tubby leaving for New York with a Lamp for the Branch there

We Will Remember Them

A look at some well-known figures associated with Lamps. Please note, if I say someone is commemorated on a Lamp I do of course mean the casket plaques.

Sir Henry Rider Haggard, the author of She and King Solomon’s Mines (Amongst many other titles) along with his brother, Major Arthur Haggard, donated the Lancelot Haggard Lamp to Montreal Branch in memory of Arthur’s son.

The poet Rupert Brooke, was remembered by the Branch of his birthplace, Rugby. The Rupert Brooke Lamp was inscribed with the dedication, “In memory of Rupert Brooke, Poet. Died at Seyros, 23.4.1915, whilst serving with the Royal Naval Division.” It was donated by his mother Ruth.

Another war poet remembered with a Lamp is Julian Grenfell who is commemorated on the Buenos Aries Lamp. On 13 May 1915 Julian a shell landed yards from where Julian was standing. A splinter of shrapnel hit him in the head. He was taken to hospital in Boulogne where he died of his wounds two weeks later with his parents and sister at his bedside. The text on the Lamp reads “In memory of J. H. F. Grenfell, D.S.O., Capt., 1st R. Dragoons. Ypres. 26.5.1915.” It was donated by his father, Lord Desborough.

When Baron Sackville (Lionel Edward Sackville-West), who served in Gallipoli, Egypt, Palestine and France, passed over in January 1928, the Sevenoaks Branch Lamp was donated in his memory by his daughter. She was Victoria Sackville-West better known as Vita, a notorious novelist, poet, diarist, and garden designer whose bisexuality caused waves in society at the time.

An intriguing pair of plates unearthed in a box of lamp plaques at the Birmingham archives caught my attention. Unfortunately they are separated from the other plates so I don’t yet know which Branch Lamp they belong to. There are two plates, the first of which reads ‘In memory of Sister Julia Childers and Sister Julia Lake’ whilst the second says ‘Founders of the Nursing Sisters of St John the Divine 1880’. So what makes these interesting? Well the Community of St John the Divine were founded in London in 1848 (They are now based in Birmingham) but it was their midwifery service based in St John’s House, Poplar that made them well-known. Though I can’t establish that date of 1880 as being the start of this service, certainly at the 1881 Census the two women were both living at St John’s House, 210 East India Dock Road. Childers was listed as Sister in Charge of Nursing Home whilst Lake was a nurse. OK, but why so interesting. Well St John’s House was written about by Jennifer Worth in her best-selling trilogy of books about midwifery in London in the 50s and, under the pseudonym of Nonnatus House, was central to the popular TV series Call The Midwife!

The Nursing Order who inspired Call The MidwifeChilders and Lake

In less literary fields, the Bootle Lamp was “Dedicated to Samuel Plimsoll, the originator of the Plimsoll Mark in Shipping”

The Street Lamp is dedicated “In memory of John Bright Clark. Street, 6.4.1933. “The path of the just is as the shining light.” Clark was the head of Clark’s shoes and the grandson of the founders Cyrus and James Clark.

John Bright Clark

Barking’s Lamp was “In memory of G. A. Studdert Kennedy. Passed over, 8.3.1929”. Kennedy was better known as Woodbine Willie, one of the more famous chaplains of WWI

Evesham dedicated their Lamp “In memory of Gino Watkins, Artic Explorer. Drowned Lake Fjord, Greenland, 20.8.1932, aged 25”.

Shackleton, in Buenos Aries, unsurprisingly dedicated their Lamp “In memory of Sir Ernest H. Shackleton, C.V.O., O.B.E., LL.D., Explorer. South Georgia, 5.1.1922”.

The Devonport Lamp was dedicated to Captain Falcon Scott (Scott of the Antarctic) whilst the Isle of Dogs, more generically, paid tribute “To those who, while exploring uncharted regions, found comradeship and life through death”

Captain SCott Cutting

The New Plymouth (New Zealand Lamp) was dedicated to Arthur Ambury who, on June 3rd , 1918, went to the aid of William Gourlay,​ who had become stranded on ice near the summit of Mount Taranaki. Ambury, a 37-year-old father of four young children, was climbing with his wife Annie and two friends when, up ahead, they saw Gourlay, 20, and two other men having difficulty walking down as a heavy mist descended. Then, suddenly, Gourlay lost his footing and began to slide. The Horowhenau Chronicle reported

“It was here that Mr Ambury showed his heroism. Taking a chance which he must have known would be a very remote one of saving the falling man, he stuck his alpenstock (ice pick) fast in the ice, took a firm hold with his feet, and endeavoured to catch the body of Gourlay and check his descent. The impact, however, was such that Ambury was unfooted, his alpenstock broken, and the two men slid, it is estimated, a distance of about 1200ft and finally went over into a gully.”

It took a team of about 20 men to recover the men’s remains the following morning, far beneath what is now known as Ambury Bluff.

Whilst many lamps were dedicated to those who lost their lives during the Great War, others commemorated heroes from other times:

The Oliver Gosnold Clark Lamp (Bradwell)

In memory of Ranger Clark, who gave his life for others while fighting a forest fire. Vancouver Island, 25.6.1925

The Lindsay Lamp (Abadan, Persian Gulf)

In memory of Robert Leiper Lindsay, who lost his life preventing the spread of fire at an oil station at Tembi, 9.7.1917

The Noble Fleming Jenkins Lamp (Grimsby)

In memory of Brig.-General Noble Fleming Jenkins, C.M.G., C.B.E., who gave his life in attempting to rescue a girl from drowning, St Leonard’s-on-Sea, 19.8.1927

The Douglas Frederick Ogborn Lamp (Wood Green)

In memory of Douglas Frederick Ogborn, medical student, who passed over summer 1926: he gave his life to save his friend’s mother from drowning at St Ives, Huntingdon.

Ogborn Cuttings

This is one of the most intriguing

The Blackall Lamp (Leytonstone)

In memory of Reginald Griffith Blackall, who gave his life for his friends; he died 29.11.1925, aged 44, a victim of X-ray research

Whilst this, is many ways, one of the saddest

The Abbey Lamp (Darlington)

In memory of William Byland Abbey who died at Ferryhill in the discharge of his duty. 16.2.1928


I wonder if the subsequent execution of his kkiller was discussed at length during Branch meetings?


Coventry’s Lamp was retrieved virtually unscathed from the ruins of the Services Club in Middlesborough Road following the Blitz

Colchester’s Lamp was stolen from the branch’s HQ in 1938. It apparently turned up in the river much later

The earliest commemorated Great War death on a Lamp I have found is that of John Forster. He died on 14th September 1914 and is commemorated on the silver Forster Lamp which is the Federal Lamp of Australia.

John Forster

Perhaps the last commemorated War death before the treaty of Versailles was signed is that of Karl Krall who died 28th February 1919 and is remembered on the Agra (India) Lamp

Karl Krall graveKarl Krall CWGC

The Brislington (Bristol) Lamp is dedicated “In memory of Paul Klimas, a German Soldier unknown to us, whose grave we continually tend.”

A  Few Lists

The 44 Branch Lamps lit at the 7th Birthday festival
On Friday 15th December 1922 at the Guildhall in London, the Lamps of 44 branches were lit for the first time (plus the Prince’s Lamp) along with 18 School Lamps. The Lamps were lit in order of Foundation:

  1. London Mark I
  2. Cheltenham
  3. Manchester
  4. Cambridge
  5. Maidstone
  6. Swindon
  7. Oxford
  8. Edinburgh
  9. Bristol
  10. Barnet
  11. Exeter
  12. Shotton*
  13. London Mark II
  14. Wolverton
  15. Durham
  16. Portsmouth
  17. Sheffield
  18. Birmingham
  19. London Mark III
  20. Liverpool
  21. Bradford
  22. Brighton
  23. Cardiff
  24. Spen Valley
  25. Glasgow
  26. Coventry
  27. Southampton
  28. Colchester
  29. Leicester
  30. Winnipeg
  31. Middlesbrough
  32. Farnham
  33. Halifax
  34. North Staffs**
  35. Derby Central
  36. Northampton
  37. Canterbury
  38. Sleaford
  39. Hertford
  40. Hull
  41. Aldershot
  42. Huddersfield
  43. London Mark VII
  44. Knutsford

*Later renamed Deeside & District
** aka Stoke-on-Trent

Guildhall Plan

A plan of the 1922 lamp-lighting


Now we look at some other lists of Lamp dedications. They are not definitive lists of the subject matter explorer, simply examples. Information shown is Name of Lamp, Branch and the Dedication on the Casket.

10 Lamps Dedicated to Officers and Men Awarded the Victoria Cross

The Frank Maxwell Lamp Guildford
In memory of Frank Maxwell, V.C., Brig-Gen., 27th Lowland Brigade. Ypres, 21.9.1917

The M.O.’s Lamp Oxford
In memory of N. G. Chavasse, V.C., R.A.M.C., and of Aidan Chavasse.

Four Brothers Lamp York
In memory of Four Brothers : Lt.-Col. W. H. Anderson, V.C., 12th H.L.I., Maricourt, March, 1918 ; Capt. C. H. Anderson, 1st H.L.I., Missing, December, 1914 ; 2nd Lt. A. R. Anderson, 1st H.OL.I., Vieille Chapelle, October 1915 ; Capt. E. K. Anderson, R.F.C., Winchester, 1918.

The Good Hope Lamp Capetown Central
In memory of T. O. L. Wilkinson, V.C., Loyal North Lancs. 5.7.1916 : and of Eric Hitchcock, 3rd South African Infantry. 11.6.1918.

The Rupert Lamp Port Talbot
In memory of Rupert Hallowes, V.C., M.C., 2nd Lt., Middlesex Regt. Ypres, 1.10.1915

The Carter Lamp Truro
In memory of Herbert Augustine Carter, V.C., Major, 101st Grenadiers, Indian Army. Mivele Mdogo. B.E.A. 13.1.1916

The Parsons Lamp Basingstoke
In memory of Hardy Falconer Parsons, V.C., 2nd Lt., 14th Battn. Gloucester Regt., aged 20. The Knoll, Villers-Faucon, 22.8.1917; and of Ewart Moulton Parsons, Lt., R.A.F., aged 19. Eastbourne, 17.6.1918

The Congreve Lamp Malta
In memory of General Sir Walter Congreve, V.C., and of his son, Brevet Major William Congreve, V.C.

The Ranken Lamp Irvine
In memory of Harry Sherwood Ranken, V.C., Capt., R.A.M.C. attd. 1st K.R.R.C. Died of wounds, the Battle of Aisne, 25.9.1914, aged 31 years.

The Sydney Woodroffe Lamp Marlborough
In memory of Sydney Woodroffe, 2nd Lieut., V.C., 8th Rifle Brigade. Hooge, 30.7.1915.

10 Lamps Dedicated to officers awarded a Distinguished Service Order

The Parker Lamp Perth, Western Australia
In memory of Frank Parker, D.S.O., Major, 8th Field Artillery. Egypt, 27.3.1915.

The Tebbut Whitehead Lamp Port Elizabeth, South Africa
In memory of Tebbut Whitehead, Lt.-Col., D.S.O., M.C., O.C. Prince Alfred’s Guard, and late of 13th Royal Fusiliers. Died at Port Elizabeth, 6.1.1926

The Douglas Hall Lamp Boldre
In memory of Major-Gen. Douglas Keith Elphinstone Hall, C.M.G., D.S.O. 29.9.1929

The Dunster Force Lamp Spen Valley
In memory of Bernard John Haslam, Major (acting Lt.-Col.), D.S.O., R.E. Baku. 26.8.1918

The Reginald Henry Napier Settle Lamp Bath
In proud and loving memory of Reginald Henry Napier Settle, D.S.O., M.C., Major (tempy. Lt.-Col.) 19th Royal Hussars, attached M.G.C. Killed in action in the Great War.

The King Lamp Auckland, New Zealand
In memory of George Augustus King, Lt.-Col., D.S.O. with Bar, Croix de Guerre, 1st Canterbury Regiment and N.Z. Staff Corps. Passchendaele. 12.10.1917

The Lukin Lamp East London, Cape of Good Hope
In memory of Major-General Sir Henry Timson Lukin, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., South Africa, 1926

The Knox Lamp Nuneaton
In memory of James Meldrum Knox, D.S.O., Bt. Lt.-Col. Royal Warwickshire Regt. Asiago Plateau, 23.9.1918; and of Andrew Ronald Knox, 2nd Lt., Royal Engineers. Albert, 12.3.1915.

The Gus King Lamp Mount Eden-Auckland, New Zealand
In memory of Lt.-Col. George Augustus King, D.S.O. with Bar, Croix de Guerre, 1st Canterbury Regiment and N.Z. Staff Corps. Passchendaele, 12.10.1917.

The Bertie Blair Lamp Whitehaven
In memory of R.C.R. Blair, Captain, D.S.O., 5th Battn. Border Regiment. France, 21.7.1916. “He died as he had lived – a gallant English gentleman in the midst of men who loved him.”

10 Lamps Dedicated to Officers & Men who fell on the first day of the Somme

The Neville Woodard And Richard Leonard Hoare Lamp Sheffield
In memory of Neville Woodard, grandson of the founder of the Woodard Schools. Died 3.7.1905; Also of Richard Leonard Hoare, Capt., 12th London Regt. (“The Rangers”) Gommecourt 1.7.1916

The Jack And Geoffrey Lamp Derby Central
In memory of J. B. Hoyle, Lt., 7th Batt., South Lancs., Ovillers-la-Boisselle. 1.7.1916, and of G. M. Hoyle, Lt., 2nd Batt., Sherwood Foresters, Hooge, 9.8.1915.

The Three Brothers’ Lamp Belfast Central
In memory of Ernest Hewitt, Lt., 4th Batt. K.O.R.I.R., 15.6.1915, Holt Hewitt, Lt., and William Hewitt, Inniskillem Fusiliers, 1.7.1916.

The Bickersteth Lamp Cudham
In memory of Stanley Morris Bickersteth, Lt., 15th Batt. West Yorks. (Prince of Wales’ Own). Serre. 1.7.1916

The Loughburian Lamp Loughborough
To the glory of God and in loving memory of Arthur Donald Chapman, 2nd Lt., 1/5th North Staffordshire Regt., Somme, 1.7.1916, and of all his fellow Loughburians who fell, 1914-1918.

The Willie Frost Lamp Doncaster
In memory of Willie Frost, Sergt., Yorks and Lancs Regt. Somme. 1.7.1916.

The Nephews Lamp Keston
In memory of John Sydney Allen Stoneham, Sergt., 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles, killed at Festubert, 2.6.16 ; of Philip Allen Stoneham, L/Cpl., Lord Strathcona’s Horse, missing after the First Balle of Ypres, 24.5.1915 ; of Greville Cope Stoneham, 2nd Lt., 1st Royal Berks Regt., killed on the Somme, 10.11.1916 ; of Allen Barclay, B.Sc., 2nd LT., Royal Engineers, killed at Givenchy, 24.4.1915 ; of Kenneth Barclay, Pte., London Scottish, killed at Zillebeke, 12.11.1914 ; and of Eric Henry Lloyd Clark, 2nd Lt., R.F.A., killed on the Somme, 1.7.1916.

The Paul Pollock Lamp Duncairn, Belfast
In memory of Paul Gilchrist Pollock, 14th Battn. Royal Irish Rifles (Y.C.V.s). Somme, 1.7.1916

The Lionel David Lamp Codsall
In memory of Lionel Adolf David David, 2nd Lt., 7th Yorks. Regt. Fricourt, 1.7.1916

The Ludlow Lamp Solihull
In proud and loving memory of Stratford Walter Ludlow, Capt., 8th Battn. Royal Warwichshire Regt. Beaumont Hamel Serre. 1.7.1916. “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.”

10 Officers and Men who fell at Hooge with Lamps Dedicated to them

(To the best of my knowledge Gilbert Talbot has two lamps dedicated to him and W.T.M. Bolitho also has two. My first thought regarding Bolitho was that Exeter had their Lamp withdrawn and reissued to Penzance. This does not appear to be the case as Exeter remained a Branch whilst Penzance became one. Therefore I must conclude that Bolitho had two lamps dedicated to him – one by his father and one by his mother. I wonder if there is a further story to read between the lines!)

The James Clark Lamp Edinburgh
In memory of James Clark, Lt.-Col., C.B., commanding 9th Battn., Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Hooge, 10.5.1915

The Bolitho Lamp Exeter
In memory of W. T. M. Bolitho, Lt., 19th Royal Hussars. Chateau Hooge. 24.5.1915.

The Penzance Lamp Penzance
In memory of W. T. M. Bolitho, Lt., 19th Royal Hussars. Chateau Hooge, 24.5.1915; and of the Elder Brethren of Penzance

The Frederick Usherwood Lamp Bishop Auckland
In memory of Frederick William Usherwood, Sergt., 3rd Dragoon Guards, who fell in action on the night of May 31-June 1, 1915, at Hooge, Belgium.

The Gilbert Talbot Lamp *
In memory of Gilbert Talbot, Lieut., Rifle Brigade. Hooge, 30.7.1915.

*This lamp was first issued to Franham in 1922 but withdrawn. In 1925 it was reissued to Keiskama Hoek in Cape Province and then Relit when they merged with King William’s Town in 1936.

Gilbert’s Lamp Norwich
In memory of my friend, Gilbert Talbot (Hooge, 30.7.1915), from whom Toc H derives its name. G.R.R.C.

The Keith Rae Lamp Blackburn
In memory of Keith Rae, Lt., Rifle Brigade. Hooge. 30.7.1915

The Sydney Woodroffe Lamp Marlborough
In memory of Sydney Woodroffe, 2nd Lieut., V.C., 8th Rifle Brigade. Hooge, 30.7.1915.

The Jack And Geoffrey Lamp Derby Central
In memory of J. B. Hoyle, Lt., 7th Batt., South Lancs., Ovillers-la-Boisselle. 1.7.1916, and of G. M. Hoyle, Lt., 2nd Batt., Sherwood Foresters, Hooge, 9.8.1915.

The Willoughby Lamp Malton
In memory of Digby Willoughby, Comdr., HMS Indefatigable. Jutland, 31.5.1916; and of Godfrey Willoughby, Capt., The Rifle Brigade. Hooge, 9.8.1915.

The Jeffries Lamp Market Harborough
In memory of Harold John Fotheringham Jeffries, Major, 5th Battn. Leicestershire Regt. Hooge Salient, 26.9.1915.

Let me end with whast is perhaps my favourite dedication on any lamp. It was on the casket of the Greenford, Middlesex Lamp, endowed in November 1938 and first Lit that December at the Royal Albert Hall:

To peace among men. Say not the Elder Brethren of Greenford and of the world died in vain.

Herewith is the link to a PDF report from the database. Clicking on this link will open the file in a new window (tab). Please be aware that this is still a very early version of the database and there is much more data to be recorded and many errors to be unravelled. What you see is what you get!

Toc H Roll of Lamps (Version 1 March 2020)

At the Sign of Toc H

Despite Tubby’s oft quoted maxim to “Do something good each day but don’t get found out”, Toc H would go to great lengths to extend the Movement and that included ensuring the places that they met were well-publicised. From the famous signboard hanging over the door of Talbot House via the parcel tag on a string that hung from the flat in Red Lion Square to the uniform signs of the seventies, this short, visual blog takes a look at some of the signs of Toc H.

Hopefully it will keep you ticking over whilst I complete my next mammoth article on Toc H Lamps of Maintenance

Talbot House

The original – outside Talbot House

The Boddy Brothers were Norwich metal-workers and Toc H members whose firm was probably most famous for its milk-churns. Perhaps that inspired this 3d Toc H sign they developed in 1927

The Boddy Sign

The Boddy Brothers metalworked sign (1927)


Over the years many branches made up their own efforts


But few as magnificent as this one constructed through Mr Bryant’s glass business (Clarks of Hoxne in Drysdale Street) for Cuffley and Goffs Oak branch.


The restored Cuffley and Goffs Oak sign in 2019

Toc H made some directional signs available.

Directional Sign

Directional Sign in Situ

Though they were sometimes confusing

Both ways

This one was introduced in 1972 to bring some unity

New 1972 Sign

And came as a lower tech plastic on wood version

Orange sign


But there would always be something on the door

Or over it

Hanging Light

And someone to put it up

Putting SIgn Up

A Toc H Timeline

I originally put this together for Toc H Belgium as part of the Centenary celebrations in December 2015. Parts of it appeared in a huge display in the Slessorium that week. I thought it was worthwhile reproducing it here. I have decided against illustrating it as I see it as a simple reference tool rather than an enlightening article. Anyway, I’m knee-deep in another research project for my next Toc H post.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the dates used in this timeline are accurate. However it should be noted that Tubby was never one to let facts get in the way of a good story so there have been certain discrepancies over the years which may be reflected in this timeline.

A good example of this confusion is that of the opening of Talbot House and the subsequent birthday celebrations. In the early years the date of 15th December was given as the official opening. Thus in 1921 and for a few years after, the birthday party was held on or adjacent to December 15th. Sometime after his mother’s death Tubby discovered amongst her papers, the letters he had sent her from Flanders. These were edited by Barclay Baron and published in the Journal before being published as a book. A letter written on 6th December shows that the house in fact opened with a concert on Saturday 11th December 1915 and the first Communion was held in the Chapel (Still the landing on the second floor) the next day.

Early logo


Dec 1918 The Whizz Bang
Just before Talbot House closes its doors, Tubby sends out a Christmas card to those who took Communion in the House and whose addresses survive. It contains an army style field postcard that Tubby calls a Whizz-bang in which he asks men to commit to buy a planned booklet (What will eventually be Tales of Talbot House). This Whizz-bang is the first indication that the spirit of Talbot House is to be maintained in peacetime.

Dec 1918 Tubby sent to Le Touquet
Tubby and a pile of furniture and fittings from Talbot House move to the newly established ex-Service Candidates Ordination Test school at Le Touquet

Jan 1919 Tubby called to War Office
Tubby asked to find suitable premises to move the Test School to England

Mar 1919 The Test School opens in Knutsford prison
On the 26th March the school for ordinands opens in the old prison at Knutsford

Apr 1919 Tubby in London
Whilst the Test School take an Easter break, Tubby borrows some flats in Red Lion Square (where his sister has been living). It becomes a recruiting station for Toc H where many friends visit. Lieutenant E.G. White acts as secretary when Tubby returns to Knutsford.

Sep 1919 Tales of Talbot House published

Nov 1919 First Committee meeting of Toc H
On the Saturday (15th) after the first anniversary of the Armistice, at the RAC in Pall Mall, a committee was convened. They passed a resolution to reconstitute Talbot House at the earliest possible moment. The first plan was for it to be sited on Trafalgar Square. To avoid confusion with the Talbot House Settlement in Camberwell, it was decided to use the soldier’s slang of Toc H for the movement. An Executive Committee is formed

Nov 1919 Executive Committee meeting
The Executive meet for the first time on 19th November, at the offices of solicitor Montague Ellis at 17 Albemarle Street. Reggie May is chairman, a position he will retain for the next 10 years. The Executive meet three more times before Christmas and on 23rd December No 8 Queen’s Gate Place, formerly occupied by the wartime Anglo-South American Committee was being considered as Club premises

Feb 1920 Tubby issues circular
On the 26th February a letter from Tubby and a set of rules are sent out to the growing band of members

Mar 1920 Mark I opens
The property at 8 Queen’s Gate Place, Kensington is leased and opened as Talbot House Mark 1, a hostel for men who find themselves in London and need somewhere to stay. The stewards were Sam Pickles and his wife.

May 1920 Mark I moves
After just a few weeks Mark 1 moves to bigger rented property just a few hundred yards away at 23 Queen’s Gate Gardens where it will remain for the next eight years. Colonel Herbert Shiner becomes the first Warden of a Toc H Mark and remains in position until Lancelot Prideaux-Brune takes over on 6 May 1921.

June 1920 Tubby reaches out
Tubby sends a letter to selected Talbotousians outside of London asking them to gather men together

Summer 1920 The Four Points Of The Compass
Tubby draws up the original Four Points based on Alec Patterson’s Four Rules of Life

July 1920 Foundations in place
A list is produced showing 50 UK groups and 20 overseas

Sep 1920 Mark II opens in Pimlico
The Duke of Westminster (Hugh Grosvenor) allows Toc H to use his property at 123 St George’s Square in memory of his mother Lady Sibell. Toc H headquarters would be based here until 1926. Father Wimbush was its first Warden.

Sep 1920 First Official Football Game
The Toc H Football team play their first game beating a team from the Brigade of Guards HQ on 25th September

Nov 1920 First provincial group formed at Cheltenham
To date, gatherings of Toc H men had tended to happen in London at the Marks but on 22nd November the first provincial group meet for the first time in Cheltenham

Dec 1920 The Christmas Spirit published
Toc H put out The Christmas Spirit, the first Christmas Annual of Toc H, a miscellany of short stories and Toc H related material. It includes a list of secretaries covering 65 towns and cities in Great Britain and nine countries abroad. HQ is listed as Effingham House which is the editorial office of The Challenge, a church newspaper that Tubby contributes to.

Dec 1920 Punch notice
The issue of Punch or the London Charivari published on 22nd December includes a notice explaining the purpose and aims of Toc H. The editor, Owen Seaman, is a great friend to the early organisation.

Also in 1920 Toc H in Canada
George Goodwin and Tony Grant start Canadian Toc H in Montreal. The group would move slowly forward until Tubby’s tour of 1922 when they would get a boost. They achieved branch status in 1923

Feb 1921 Group matters
A memo from Cheltenham group makes two significant suggestions for Toc H. The first is that Service becomes a key element of Toc H’s purpose alongside the Friendship ideal that was an extension of the Old House. The second suggestion was that some form of Remembrance be part of a branch evening. The seed for the Ceremony of Light was sown.

May 1921 The first Toc H News Sheet
A four page news sheet is issued

May 1921 Mark III opens in Waterloo
This Mark was at 148 York Road and was demolished when County Hall was expanded

Jun 1921 Toc H merges with Cavendish Society
This merger brought Barclay Baron and others into the organisation and started a Toc H schools section

Dec 1921 First Birthday Party
Toc H celebrates its first birthday (also the sixth anniversary of the original house opening) at St Martin’s Crypt and Grosvenor House on 15th December. The Round Robin is signed.

Also in 1921 Sports ground opens
Toc H open a sports ground on a field at Folly Farm, Barnet

Jan 1922 First World Tour
On 6th January Tubby sails to Canada from Liverpool on the Empress of Britain. This is Tubby’s first post-war trip abroad and the start of many tours to promote Toc H in the Dominion and elsewhere

Feb 1922 First Canadian branch
Winnipeg are the first Canadian group to be awarded full branch status

Apr 1922 First Provincial Mark
The first Mark outside of London, Gartness in Manchester is opened. it is run by Pat Leonard

Apr 1922 First Council meeting
The Central Council meet for the first time

May 1922 The Lamp of Maintenance
Whilst buttering up a wealthy stockbroker, Tubby tells Barclay Baron that it is a shame the movement has no emblem. Baron suggests a lamp such as those used by early Christians in the catacombs under Rome. Soon a wooden model is created and the lamp takes its place in Toc H

Jun 1922 The Journal launched
The Toc H News Sheet becomes The Journal. It is edited initially by Lionel Bradgate

Jul 1922 Dawn of the League of Women Helpers
Inspired by the Women’s Auxiliary of the Church of Canada encountered on his recent trip, Tubby calls some key people for a meeting in Mrs Edmund Horne’s drawing room on 4th July with a view to creating a women’s auxiliary for Toc H. The new organisation will be led by Alison MacFie, a nurse in Flanders who visited Talbot House during the war and is thus one of the few female Foundation Members.

Jul 1922 The Executive Committee petitions for a Royal Charter
As an association Toc H is unable to own property or employ people in its own name. One of the ways an association can become incorporated is by Royal Charter which is granted through the Privy Council

Jul 1922 Birth of the LWH
The Executive approves a resolution by the London Club Committee to proceed with the formation of a Toc H League of Women Helpers. However it rejects the part of the resolution that would recognise the League in the new Royal Charter.

Nov 1922 Peter Monie becomes Honorary Administrator
Peter Monie was a British administrator in the Indian Civil Service. On his retirement he became the first Administrator of Toc H freeing Tubby up to take over All Hallows. He is known as the architect of Toc H for the way he shaped the organisation.

Dec 1922 Royal Charter granted
The Royal Charter is officially granted by the Privy Council on 6th December thusToc H is incorporated. The Girl Guides receive their Royal Charter on the same day!

Dec 1922 Tubby appointed Vicar of All Hallows
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson approached Tubby in the summer of 1922 and asked him to take over as Vicar of All Hallows. Initially Tubby was against the idea as he saw Toc H as his life’s work but the Archbishop and Tubby’s own Executive convinced him that it could be the centre of Toc H not a distraction. Peter Monie was to take up some of Tubby’s burden within the movement. Much admin was carried out from the porch room at All Hallows.

Dec 1922 Second Birthday Party
The 7th Anniversary of Talbot House and second birthday party of Toc H at Guildhall celebration includes the first lamp-lighting Ceremony by the Prince of Wales. The party starts on Friday 15th and continues to Sunday 17th

Apr 1923 The Main Resolution passed
Central Council pass the main resolution:

May 1923 Toc H & the Scouts
Toc H becomes a Kindred Society of the Boy Scout Movement and many branches set up Rover Crews to train up future Scoutmasters and assistants. Tubby and Baden-Powell are good friends

Nov 1923 First overseas Mark
The first overseas Mark opens in Winnipeg, Canada

Dec 1923 Toc H in Australia
Lord Forster, the Governor General of Australia, wrote to Tubby saying that he would like to endow a Toc H Lamp of Maintenance in memory of his two sons killed in World War 1. He said he wished to get Toc H started in Australia

Aug 1924 Toc H Western Australia
Padre Hayes arrives in Fremantle to help establish Toc H in Western Australia

Dec 1924 The Forster Lamp
The Forster Lamp, the parent lamp of Australia was lit by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at a Toc H Festival in London.

Also in 1924
First hostel for women opens
New June is opened on Tower Hill by the LWH. It stood at 50 Great Tower Street (now covered by the Tower Place shopping centre). Tubby’s sister Belle was one of the residents

Toc H Rugby Club
Members of the Manchester Mark formed a rugby club which they called Toc H Manchester. After moving to various sites the club arrived in Didsbury and in 1986 the name was changed to Didsbury Toc H. It is still active today

Derby Camp for Boys
Originally set up as a local branch of Toc H, the Derby Toc H Camp for Poor Boys began in 1924 and continued until 1940. The Camp reformed in 1948 with the word Poor dropped from its name. It became a separate charity in 1952 and is still running. Similar camps were run throughout the UK and elsewhere

Feb 1925 First Staff Conference
The first staff conference is held at Stratford-on-Avon

Feb 1925 Tubby’s Tours
On the 6th February Tubby and Pat Leonard sail from Southampton to New York on the Antonia on the first leg of their world tour

Feb 1925 First group in South Africa
A telegram from Bert Oldfield announces that a group has been set up in Keiskama Hoek. Bert was housemaster at the mission school and started the group on 24th February with ‘Uncle Harry’ Ellison

Jun 1925 Down Under
After passing through New Zealand and helping birth groups in Wellington and Christchurch, Tubby and Pat arrive in Australia on 16th June

Sep 1925 Australian Council
An Australian Toc H council is formed and meets for the first time in Melbourne

Dec 1925 Toc H starts in Ceylon
Toc H gets underway in Colombo and Kandy as Tubby and Pat journey through

Dec 1925 Toc H Victoria
Toc H Victoria (Australia) is incorporated with its own constitution

Feb 1926 Headquarters moves
Toc H HQ moves to No.1 Queen Anne’s Gate on 20th February

Apr 1926 Toc H Australia formalised
On April 28th an Interstate Conference in Melbourne is held with the objective of forming a Toc H organisation of Australia

Jun 1926 Tubby meets Lord Wakefield
Tubby meets Sir Charles Wakefield at a service in London commemorating some of those who had fallen on the Somme. Tubby found a fellow philanthropist and Londonphile who could add considerable political clout and cash to his dreams. As well as what he did for Toc H, Wakefield and Tubby drove the work of the Tower Hill Improvement Trust (Now known as the Tower Hill Trust)

Sep 1926 The Forster Lamp relit in Australia
Australia’s parent lamp – The Forster Lamp – is lit at Christchurch Cathedral, Newcastle, New South Wales on 29th September.

Oct 1926 Launch of The Mark
South America’s journal, The Mark is first published

Dec 1926 The Lamp of India
The Lamp of India is lit for the first time in Calcutta Cathedral

Also in 1926
First group in Belgium

A Toc H group is set up in Ieper

The Log first published
The Log is the newsletter of the LWH

The Link is first published
Toc H’s Australian newsletter is first published

May 1927 Mark I on the move
Mark I, recently homeless, finds itself a new address at 24 Pembridge Gardens, Notting Hill where it will see out its days

Also in 1927
A South African Mark

Toc H South Africa opened its first house, in Johannesburg, known as Mark I (Transvaal)

Feb 1928 Tubby speaks at Parliament
Tubby and Barclay Baron speak at parliament on 29th February leading to formation of House of Commons Toc H group

Mar 1928 First house in India
A Toc H House opens in Calcutta

Dec 1928 First Lamplighting Festival for League of Women Helpers
22 lamps lit by Duchess of York at Christs’ Hospital Hall in Great Tower Street. Only one was a Lamp of Magnificat; 21 were hurricane lamps from a hardware shop opposite All Hallows due to an accident

Dec 1928 Birthday Festival
One of the special guests at this year’s festival is Madame Van Steene better known to soldiers as Ginger

Dec 1928 First Indian Conference

May 1929 First World Chain of Light
The first World Chain of Light, organised by Toc H Australia, takes place. It starts at the Federal Festival in Perth on the 14th May.

Dec 1929 Birthday Festival
The Prince of Wales announces that Sir Charles (later Lord) Wakefield, of Castrol Oil wealth, has bought Talbot House and given it to Toc H.

Spring 1930 Headquarters moves
Headquarters moves to the former Guards’ Industrial Home for Girls at 47 Francis Street.

Apr 1930 Talbot House Association founded
The Association de Talbot House de Poperinghe is formed with Paul Slessor as its chairman. This is the legal body that will own Talbot House under Belgian Law. It is now known as the Talbot House Association

Dec 1930 Tubby moves into his vicarage
42 Trinity Square was bought by Charlotte Tetley – the wife of self-made industrialist Henry Tetley – in 1928 for use by the clergy of All Hallows but Tubby didn’t move in until 1930

Apr 1931 Talbot House reopened
After being bought by Lord Wakefield in 1929 the Old House is given to the Talbot House Association on 27 Oct 1930. Wakefield officially opens it on Easter Sunday – 5th April 1931

Mar 1933 Toc H and leprosy
Whilst touring West Africa, Tubby comes face to face with leprosy. He immediately strikes up a relationship with the British Empire Leprosy Relief Association and sends Toc H men to Africa to help. BELRA later becomes LEPRA

Also in 1933 Warden Manor donated
Warden Manor on the Isle of Sheppey is made available to Toc H as a holiday hostel by the business man Cecil Jackson Cole. Cole was a Toc H member and for a while a Central Councillor. He later co-founded Oxfam and founded Help The Aged and other charities. Warden Manor was sold by Coles in 1978 with the proceeds going to a special trust administered by Toc H.

Jan 1934 Death of Edward Stuart Talbot
Known as the father of Toc H, Bishop Talbot was the father of Talbot House co-founder Neville Talbot and Gilbert Talbot for whom it was named.

Jul 1934 Children’s Beach reopened
This sandy stretch by the Thames in the shadow of Tower Bridge was one of the achievements of Tubby through the Tower Hill Improvement Trust

Feb 1935 Hubert Secretan becomes Honorary Administrator
Hubert Secretan, a former Warden at the Oxford and Bermondsey Boys Club, replaces Peter Monie as Honorary Administrator of Toc H.

Jun 1936 Coming of Age
A massive Coming of Age festival is held in London to celebrate 21 years of Toc H

Jan 1937 New HQ for the League of Women Helpers
The LWH HQ moves from New June to 18 Byward street, an ‘ugly little building’ on the pavement outside the north wall of All Hallows and a cover over an extra exit for Mark Lane was purchased by the Wakefield Trust so it could be demolished. The Luftwaffe began the job which the Trust later completed.

Nov 1938 LWH move again
The LWH move to Crutched Friars House, 42 Crutched Friars. It was given to the Wakefield Trust by Charlotte Tetley for the use of LWH.

1939 Service Clubs
With the advent of war, Toc H moves its focus to Servicemen (and Women’s) Clubs both in the UK and in the theatres of war. During the course of the war Toc H will run 400 Service Clubs, 1800 Mobile canteens and employ 358,000 workers. Their work is coordinated with other organisations like the YMCA by the newly formed Council of Voluntary Welfare Work.

May 1940 Poperinge over-run
Talbot House falls into German hands. Back home it is believed Talbot House is destroyed and that is what Toc H members believe until Poperinge is liberated.

May 1940 Prisoners of War
Toc H staff Rex Calkin, Reg Staton, Lt-Col. Brian Bonham Carter, Hugh Pilcher and Padre Austen Williams serving with the BEF in France, are taken prisoner of war.

Dec 1940 All Hallows destroyed
The church on Tower Hill is struck by a high explosive bomb on the night of the 8th/9th December and then on 29 December it is hit by incendiary bombs which burn it to a shell

Apr 1943 Death of Neville Talbot
On the 3rd April, Neville Talbot, the tall padre who established Talbot House alongside Tubby dies. It was for Neville’s brother Gilbert, Talbot House was named

Also in 1943
LWH becomes Toc H (Women’s Section)

In recognition of its much changed role during wartime, the domestic sounding League of Women Helpers becomes Toc H (Women’s Section)

Sep 1944 Polish Troops liberate Poperinge
On 6th September Polish troops drive the Germans out of Poperinge. Their departure was so fast an uneaten meal lay on the tables. The many artefacts of Talbot House, spirited away by local people in 1940 are taken from their hiding places and restored to the Old House

1945 Post War Work
After the war the Services work continues overseas (especially clubs with the British Army On the Rhine)) whilst the branches go back to community service. An expected surge in numbers from servicemen who had come into contact with Toc H during the war, doesn’t happen

Jan 1947 Harold Howe becomes Honorary Administrator
Howe was formerly the headmaster at Keswick Hall School. He will be ordained in 1953

July 1948 Foundation stone laid at All Hallows
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, lays the foundation stone as All Hallows begins to be rebuilt.

Also in 1948
Winant Volunteer programme launched

This programme was named for Tubby’s friend and US Ambassador to the UK, John Gilbert Winant. Young Americans were brought to the UK to work in the community in projects organised by Toc H. Later a second programme would send UK students to America. Winant committed suicide in 1947. The Winant Clayton Volunteers are still going as a separate charity.

Sep 1949 Death of Paul Slessor
Major Paul Slessor died in Rottingdean, Sussex at the age of 78. He did much to ensure that Talbot House came to Toc H and the washhouse in the garden was named for him.

Dec 1950 TB Settlement at Botha’s Hill founded
Toc H establishes a TB settlement at Botha’s Hill, Natal, South Africa to combat the disease that ravages the African people. It soon becomes a village known in Zulu as Entembi (A Place of hope). It was founded by Don Mackenzie of Pinetown branch and the South African writer Alan Paton worked there for a year.

Mar 1952 Toc H (Women’s Section) becomes Toc H Women’s Association

Apr 1952 Ranald MacDonald becomes Honorary Administrator

Apr 1953 Barclay Baron becomes temporary Administrator
Ranald MacDonald is asked to stand down and Barclay Baron fills in until a new Administrator is found

Jan 54 John Callf becomes Administrator
John Callf becomes the new Administrator of Toc H. Callf was formerly Toc H Commissioner in India

Jun 1954 Death of the General
Tubby’s former batman and old friend, Arthur Pettifer dies aged 80 on 16th June

Jul 1957 All Hallows reborn
On 23rd July the rebuilt All Hallows is dedicated by the Bishop of London

Feb 1958 This Is Your Life
Tubby is the subject of a live This Is Your Life on 3rd February Guests include Leonard Browne, Alison MacFie, Inky Bean and the Rev. Ronnie Royle

Also in 1958
Dor Knap becomes training centre

Dor Knap in Broadway, Worcestershire was first acquired as a training centre by Toc H in 1958, needing ‘sympathetic modernisation’. This led to an upsurge of enthusiasm that made it a place of tranquillity, engendering caring practical leadership

Oct 1960 15 Trinity Square is new HQ
15 Trinity Square on Tower Hill has been purchased through a special fund and will be Toc H’s UK HQ for the next 12 years

Jun 1962 Rex Calkin retires as General Secretary
After 31 years, including a spell as a Prisoner of War, Rex Calkin steps down as General Secretary of Toc H and is replaced by Cyril Cattell

Nov 1962 Tubby announces resignation as Vicar of All Hallows

Jul 1963 Death of Pat Leonard
Tubby’s long standing friend, lately Bishop of Thetford, Pat Leonard dies in Middlesex Hospital on 21st July

Sep 1963 Death of Alison MacFie
Just two months after losing his great friend Pat Leonard, Tubby must grieve the loss of foundation member and founder of the LWH, Alison MacFie

Also in 1963
George Davis becomes Administrator

Apr 1964 Death of Barclay Baron
For the third time in less than a year, Tubby has to bear the death of close friend. This time it is Barclay Baron who dies

Jun 1965 Toc H Straat opens
A new street in Poperinge is named for Toc H. Tubby receives the Freedom of Poperinge

May 1966 Queen visits Talbot House
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visits Talbot House

Dec 1967 Desert Island Discs
Tubby is the guest on the radio show Desert Island Discs on 4th December. His choices include Alvar Lidell & Gerald Moore’s Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes, Peter Jackson’s Waltzing Matilda and Peter Sellers’ My Old Dutch

Also in 1967
Alison House acquired

A house, formerly owned by the Arkwrights, in Cromford, Derbyshire is bought by Toc H as a training centre. It is named for Alison MacFie, founder of the LWH.

Point 3
The Journal and the Log merge to become Point 3 and Ken Prideaux-Brune is appointed editor

Jul 1969 Sandy Giles becomes Director (Formerly Administrator)
Sir Alexander (Sandy) Giles is appointed Director (replacing the position of Administrator). He assumed the role of Director Designate from 12 Feb 1969

Also in 1969
Colsterdale opens

A dilapidated Yorkshire farmhouse near Ripon has undergone a transformation and opens up as a Northern Dor Knap for training and projects. It was opened by the Countess of Swindon

June 1971 Royal Charter Amended
Most significantly, Toc H and the Toc H Women’s Association become integrated officially although it will be several years for all the branches to become joint men and women’s

Apr 1972 Toc H HQ Sold
Toc H’s prestigious HQ at 15 Trinity Square is sold for over £2m giving an incredible boost to the Movements funds. HQ leaves London for the first time for Wendover in Buckinghamshire

Dec 1972 Tubby Clayton dies
On 16th December, just 4 days after his 87th birthday, Phillip Thomas Byard Clayton, known to most as Tubby, dies

Dec 1972 Tubby’s funeral
Tubby’s funeral took place at All Hallows on 21st December. The service was conducted by the Rev. Colin Cuttell and Yeoman Warders from the Tower acted as Pall Bearers.

1973 Number 7 Opens
Number 7 The Crescent just behind Talbot House on Trinity Square, owned by the Wakefield Trust and formerly a Merchant Naval Hostel called Seamark, is taken over – rent free – by Toc H. It is to be run as a hostel for young Bangladeshi men recently arrived in this country. It not only provided accommodation for some 20 young men; it became a centre for the whole community. Some of the first Bengali community organisations were founded at Number Seven and Peter East’s work there bred a generation of leaders.

June 1974 Colsterdale holds its first Open Day
Founded by the Rev Bob Purdy it was donated at a peppercorn rent by the Earl of Swinton

July 1974 The birth of Friendship Circles
North Tees hospital ask Ann Crouch, a Voluntary Help Organiser, to consider volunteer run day centres to help patients rehabilitate. Ann developed the idea of mixing volunteers and patients as peers in a Friendship Circle. These groups became an important expression of Toc H’s work for the next 30 years

Also in 1974
Ken Prideaux-Brune becomes Director

The appointed is ratified by the Central Executive Committee on 25 October 1974

May 1975 Diamond Jubilee
Toc H celebrates 60 years with a Festival in London and exhibitions around the country

1977 Port Penrhyn opens
Toc H’s new activity centre is opened by Her Majesty the Queen after six years of redevelopment work.

29 Mar 1980 Cuddesdon House formerly opened
A property near Oxford, Cuddesdon House, is acquired as the new Toc H training centre to replace Dor Knap. It is formerly opened by the Bishop of Oxford, the Right Reverend Patrick Rodger, on 29th March.

Dec 1981 Poacher’s Den opens
A former Wesleyan Chapel, bought as a branch room for West Pinchbeck Men’s branch in 1958, is converted into a Toc H Centre where projects can be based.

Apr 1982 Seafarers’ Club closes
The Talbot House Young Seafarers’ Club in Southampton finally closes its doors after nearly 60 years

1986 John Mitchell becomes Director

Nov 1993 Mike Lydiard becomes Director

Mar 1999 Ken Prideaux-Brune becomes acting Director
Following Mike Lydiard’s sudden death whilst at Talbot House

Mar 2000 Geoff Smith becomes Director

Jul 2000 Royal Charter Amended
On 16th July the Royal Charter is amended further

Feb 2007 Mary Rance becomes Chief Executive

Compiled by Steve Smith with additional info by Marolyn and John Burgess. With grateful thanks to Barkis.