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Barry Swift


The church as the centre of the community in the 1940s and 1950s

Colour photograph of the face of Barry Swift.
Barry Swift in 2006 © Carl Rose

I always worshipped at St James' which is now a United Reformed church, on the corner of Abbeyfield Road and Scott Road. The reason I went there was because my mother grew up in the area and, as a girl, went to the church Sunday School in the 1920s. My parents then moved away but when we moved back to Pitsmoor in 1946, she gravitated back there and I started going too.

The church then was very much a social gathering place. We're talking now about the 1940s and 1950s, 1960s. And I think that's one of the big changes that's happened since the 1960s. Then it was a social centre, as were most churches, small or large, for the people roundabout. And we had the usual dramatic society, choir, badminton club, ladies meetings, autumn sales, garden parties - and I very quickly got involved in very many things that were going on. That's where I met my wife.

Extract from an interview with Barry Swift recorded by Jill Whitfield for the Burngreave Voices oral history archive, January 2006.