The Glory of the Temple Church Choir


The Choir

The Temple Church Choir in 1903

Back Row L to R: R. Stansfeld, G. Layton, R. Perdue, L, Hall, R. Hall, H. Lee, D.E.M. Hay.
Middle Row L to R: L. Heyes, A.R. Waddams, C. Corking, P. Walford, M. Capener, A. Capel Dixon.
Bottom Row L to R: F. Steele, H.W. Capner, W. Irons, N. Stone, L. Adams,
Walford Davies is standing behind the back row.

 

The Temple Church Choir in 1928

 

The Choir in 1928/29

The choristers of 1928 were: E.A. Lough, R. Mallett, D. Horton, J. Salisbury, J.C. Williams, J. O’Brien, L.T. Hemmings, B. Redmond, A.V. Bartlett, K. Martin, A.G. Reed, S. (Tim) Leibe, J. Phillips, P. Watson, M. Vinden, T. Burdess and D. Barthel.

In 1929: Lough, Mallett, Horton, Salisbury, Reed, and O’Brien all left the choir and H. Langston, W. Arnold, A. Hales, B. Martin, W.F.D. Spencer, and J.A. (Tubby) Curtayne joined.

The gentlemen of the choir throughout the period covered by this CD included: Messrs. A.C. Dixon, F. Hastwell, G. Ives, N.M. Stone, C.T. Waddams, S. Horwood, H. Kempe, W. Millard, G. Conning, and T. Budgett.

 

The Temple Church Choir in 1931

Harold Langston is seated front row second from the right.

 

The Choir in the 1930s

Thanks to Stephen Beet and my old friend David Lewer, who was one of my ‘twelve boys’ during the time I was Head Boy, Amphion Recordings have produced this CD. Ernest Lough is naturally included. He was a man of great charm and with an infectious sense of fun. I had the privilege to succeed him as principal soloist when he left the choir in 1929.

The choir was restricted to twelve boys and six to eight probationers. During my tenure as Head Boy from September 1931 to July 1933, the choristers and probationers were at various times:

Harold Langston, Billy Arnold, Tom Burdess, Jack Berry, Dennis Cooper, Robin Jeffries, Farley Leach, Tubby Curtayne, Dennis Medland, David Lewer, Peter Watson, Maurice Vinden, Doug Ratcliffe, Gilbert Simpson, Jack Phillips, Ken Harvey, Tom King, Dennys Lake, Tom Meddings, Tony Ratcliffe, Raymond Marquis, Doug Morgan, and Arthur Hales. The following of ‘my boys’ lost their lives during the war: Billy Arnold, Noel Arnold, Peter Watson, Farley Leach, Dennys Lake, and Robin Jeffries. Sadly, Gilbert Simpson was killed in a motor accident in 1933, whilst in the choir.

I would also like to record that Ronald Mallett, Lough’s fellow soloist, lost his young life at the hands of the Japanese in 1944. The ‘lost voices’ of these boys will live forever on this disc. Details of the prominent soloists are recorded elsewhere in these notes, but it is worth recording that Jack Berry became a chartered surveyor employed at the Minstry of Works, overseeing maintenance of all overseas embassies; Arthur “Binnie” Hales spent the war years working for the Post Office research department at Dollis Hill, where much of his work was involved with the code-breakers at Bletchley Park; Doug Ratcliffe became the headmaster of a comprehensive school; Ken Harvey was a talented pianist, who, while serving in the army in the Middle East, frequently performed on the forces radio programmes. In the evacuation from the beach at Dunkirk, Ken found a piano which he played whilst troops were boarding naval ships, freighters and small craft: very heroic! David Lewer became an ARIBA and a noted historian, archivist of the Temple Church and celebrated author of “A Spiritual Song” and, more recently, co-author of “The Temple Church in London”.

Many of my ‘first twelve’ boys returned to sing in the choir after the war, thus preserving the tradition of wonderful singing. After what seems a lifetime, this re-issue will give my surviving peers and myself considerable pleasure as I am sure it will ‘Charlie’ Lough (Ernest’s widow) and her sons.

Denis Barthel, 2001

 

The Temple Church Choir in 1937

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