The building work has started on the turret at Avenue St Andrew’s URC (ASA) and the rest of the Avenue 2020 project is well underway! The project research team are busy exploring the history of ASA, looking at the music of Isaac Watts, the architecture of James Cubitt, and the story of the church in World War One [WWI].
The WWI strand began with the discovery of some fascinating archive material at ASA. This part of the project tells the story of how volunteers from ASA were involved in supporting thousands of soldiers from the Rest Camp on Southampton Common and those passing through The Avenue, before embarking for France.
As a way of sharing the WWI story, the Church Archive Group have designed a school visit programme called ‘Avenue St Andrew’s URC and WWI’. On 8th October 2019, over 60 pupils and staff from Bevois Town Primary School arrived for a successful morning of activities at ASA. The children were welcomed with refreshments outside the Concourse, as a way of reflecting the story of the ASA members who did the same for WWI soldiers as they marched by. Other activities included ‘writing letters home’, ‘getting hands-on with primary sources’, and exploring ‘trams and drill’, to name a few! The morning’s activities were very well received and Assistant Headteacher Dan Steel, told us that after returning to school, the children were ‘buzzing’ and that it was ‘clear that immersion in the life of a soldier travelling through Southampton has really resonated with our children and staff!!’.
Following on from the success of the school visit, we are planning to launch a ‘School Visit Pack’. This will be sent out to prospective schools and will also be put up on the ASA website. WATCH THIS SPACE!