Where did that one come from?

My Christmas card

I always get direct questions you know – that is when I don’t get direct criticism. “I think your card is unusual this year…” hang on folks this could be a compliment. “But why have you cropped the image so close?”

All will be revealed.

The picture on my card is taken from a window in St Paul’s Church Hellesdon in Norwich. It has been described as the most unusual church in the city. In fact it is a converted green corrugated iron nissen hut with a brick façade at the west end. The church is a post second world war construction to replace the original St Paul’s church at Hellesdon which was destroyed in the blitz. Its hasty construction, or perhaps I should say conversion was to serve the housing development in the area.

This is not an affluent area of the city and presumably the nissen hut church must have been something of a community development. The window at the east end is a 1950s window by the William Morris workshop of Westminster. It depicts the Risen Christ in Glory. Not the most glamorous window I have ever seen, but quite striking in its own way. Interestingly no one seemed to know where it had come from. My suspicion is that it came from a bombed out church – possibly the original St Paul’s.

What interested me much more were the other windows. I thought they also must be stained glass but the ladies and gents who showed me round said they had been hand painted in the 1950s by a member of the congregation. No one seemed able to remember the name of the painter, but they were quite clear that it was a local person.

They have a distinctive style but the whole thing struck me as so unusual – the windows and the hastily constructed building, that I felt somehow I wanted to share the nativity scene with friends. So it became the picture on my 2018 Christmas card.

Go and see the windows for yourself.