Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Rev.H E Dowson B.A. Hyde Chapel, Gee Cross, Hyde, England. 1867-1925

Rev.H E Dowson B.A.

A video tribute by
David Barlow

David contacted me a while back with this fine tribute but at that time I was taking a health break from blogging. Thankfully David contacted me yesterday and we had a very enlightening conversation, and it was obvious I was talking to a man who was proud of the area in which he was born, schooled and lived. David has a respect for Hyde and it's history and our forefather that nurtured it's growth and dealt with people that lived, worshiped, worked, and farmed here. It is these far-sighted, good folk that made the town grow from a farming community with a knowledge of hand weaving at home into an industrial town of much respect.        

Henry Enfield Dowson was born in Geldeston, Norfolk, on November 23rd 1837, and on the maternal side desended from the Rev. Dr. Enfield, one of the tutors of the Warrington Acadany, and the author of many works. Part of Mr. Dowson's education was received at London University Collage, and he also attended classes at Heidelberg University. He took his B.A. in the first class with classical honours at University Collage, London in 1860 and then went through a three years' Theological course at Manchester New Collage. In 1863, he was appointed co-pastor at the Church of the Messiah, Birmingham, and there became acquainted with the Rt; Hon. Joseph Chamberlain, who was an active member of the congregation. From Birmingham he came to Hyde.

Mr.Dowson's commanding personality, his strenuous labours in every branch of public life, his wonderful powers oratory, and his kindness and tact, won the respect and honour of all denominations in Hyde. He devoted much time to the cause of education, took an active part in the management of three British Schools in the town as well as in the Gee Cross schools, and when the non denominational schools were taken over by the Town Council, he generously paid off the entire debts over hanging some of these schools. His educational work included many years active membership of the Hyde Public Library committee. For over 40 years he was a leader of the Liberal party, figuring prominently in political battles, and it specks much of his character when it can be said that he never lost the friendship of a single political opponent. Local sport in all its branches found in him a staunch friend and supporter, and in recognition of this, he was asked to preform the ceremony of opening the Public Baths' extension on October 18th, 1913; he also had the honour of opening the Maternity and Child Welfare Centre on May 6th, 1924. His public services were rewarded on May 10th, 1917, when he was presented with the Honorary Freedom of the borough. Mr Dowson had a true helpmate in Mrs. Dowson, and they laboured together in the interests of child life and public health in Hyde. Mrs. Dowson died in 1921, Mr Dowson, passed away on August 20th, 1925, at the age of 87 years, having been pastor at Hyde Chapel over 58 years.

In his ministry at Hyde Chapel Mr. Dowson was assisted from 1872 to 1887 by the Rev. Frederick Ashton, M.A. After voluntary resigning a portion of his salary in order that the financial position of the chapel could be improved, Mr. Dowson, on the appointment of the Rev A. R. Andreae as his co-pastor, persuaded the congregation to allow him to carry on his ministry without any stipend, and for the last 21 years of his life he faithfully discharged the duties of the position on these unusual terms. After Mr. Andreae's departure in 1910, Mr. Dowson had as successive co-pastors the Revs. E.H. Pickering, and F. Heming Vaughan.

My thanks to David for this post and for the great work he is doing. 

1 comment:

Werneth Low said...

Rev Dowson was a much loved and respected churchman in Hyde in the late 19th Century. There are tributes to him in Hyde Chapel and his name lives on in the roads named after him - Enfield Street and Dowson Road.