Rev. J. H. Coram Davies, 1951-1957

Rev J H Coram Davies

Coram Davies certainly had a hard act to follow after Herbert Barnes. Born in Wales, he had been on Tyneside during his early teens when his father was appointed marine superintendent of shipbuilding for a Cardiff firm at the Northumberland Shipbuilding Company yard at Howdon. After leaving school he spent four years before the mast, followed by academic studies at Oxford, Wales and Manchester. He completed his theological training at Unitarian College Manchester and took up his ministry at Cardiff church where he had been a member. He moved to Lewins Mead, Bristol in 1945 before accepting the invitation to come to Newcastle in 1951, on the retirement of Herbert Barnes.

In those days the church owned a manse in Jenifer Grove, High Heaton, and Mr & Mrs Davies moved in with their son, Huw, aged 8 and a half, who became a friend.
The Calendar for December 1951 includes the announcement of a Toy Service to be held at the evening service on 16th December. This was the great innovation of Coram Davies, and established a tradition which continues to this day. When first introduced we had children from both Senior and Junior Sunday Schools taking part, and originally the toys brought were second hand and given by the children to go to those less fortunate than themselves. The Christmas tree with its coloured lights was also introduced, and the senior children would collect the toys from the congregation by the light cast from the tree. After 6 years, Coram Davies felt the pull back to Wales, but his later years brought sadness with the death of Huw in 1986.