Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: March 15, 2016.
Webpage updated: March 15, 2016

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Church of Saint Nicholas, Royal Naval Barracks

From a postcard

The foundation stone for a new Anglican church within the Royal Naval Barracks was laid on Thursday March 16th 1905 by the Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Sir Edward H Seymour GCB OM LL D.  It is to accommodate 1,000 officers and men.  Those who were actually taking part in the service were accommodated in a large marquee, decorated with flags, and accompanied by a guard of sixty bluejackets, under Lieutenant B W M Fairbairn, the bluejacket band from HMS "Vivid", with their Chief Bandmaster, W Betteridge, and the choir of the Depot under the direction of Schoolmaster, Mr J J Cramer.  About a thousand officers and men watched the ceremony, the officers of the Barracks, the Warrant Officers, and the representatives of the Press being sheltered by separate marquees. 

On a table near the foundation stone, guarded by a bluejacket and a Marine, was an oak casket lined with Royal blue, containing copies of "The Times|", "The Western Daily Mercury" and "The western Morning News" along with coins of the Realm.  Together with a parchment scroll recording the event, the casket was laid beneath the stone and Sir Edward, using a silver trowel with an ebony handle, which was taken from a green morocco case and handed t him by the Superintending Civil Engineer, Mr W J Clarke MICE, mallet and level, truly laid the stone.  After three hearty cheers led by the Captain of the Barracks, Captain W B Fisher CB, and the National Anthem, the ceremony ended.

Colonel Edward Rabas CB RE, of the Royal Engineers, was Director of Works, and Mr A Carkeek the contractor.  Mr H Williamson CE was in charge of the works and Mr F W Short the foreman for Mr Carkeek.  In the absence of the Chaplain of the Fleet the religious part of the ceremony was conducted by the Chaplain of the Barracks, the Reverend J J Smith, assisted by the Chaplain of the Dockyard, the Reverend F C Stebbing.

The Bishop of Exeter, Doctor Robertson, and the Chaplain of the Fleet, the Venerable Archdeacon Wood, performed the consecration ceremony on Monday February 18th 1907  Mr G Warde, who has been appointed as organist, accompanied the hymns on a harmonium.  The Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Sir Lewis A Beaumont, was also present.

The three-manual organ manufactured by Messrs Hele and Company, of Plymouth, was dedicated on Thursday August 18th 1907.