Film ID:
YFA 461



Visitor Tabs


This is a film made by Charles Chislett on behalf of the C.P.A.S. documenting the charitable work of St George's Church Crypt in Leeds. It shows the work of providing food and shelter for the homeless and gifts for poor children at Christmas.

Titles - A C.P.A.S. Production

Taken with the co-operation and practical help of the Rev. Tony Waite and his "team" at St George's, Leeds.

Photography, Editing and Script by Charles J. Chislett

Intertitle - At St George's, Leeds, the Rev. Tony Waite is carrying on and developing the great work established and built up by the Revd. Don Robins during the eighteen years of his ministry.

A photograph of Don Robins hangs on a wall as the Rev. Tony Waite delivers a sermon from the pulpit along with a group of children.

Intertitle - Let's see the parish through the eyes of two newly appointed "CPA" curates - Rev. Douglas Bell and Rev. Arthur Simpson. Rev. Tony Waite acts as guide.

The three vicars leave the church. One of them gets on a miniature motor bike, whilst the other two get into a car and they drive off.

Intertitle - The area presents problems of many kinds.

They arrive at another church, among terraced houses, with a small boy with a dirty face wandering around just in shorts. They fix the billboard outside the church which is falling over. It reads: 'New roads to Adventure', an exhibition on world affairs. They visit a nearby shop, with children playing outside. Metal bins line up at the end of the road, and people hang their washing across the road. There is a nearby pub, the Adelphi Inn. A boy sits on the pavement covered in muck, whilst another inspects the motor bike. A small child sits in a pram outside a turf accountant, J W Burton. Several women come out. In the terraced streets children play, dogs roam and an old fella sits asleep. The three vicars stop to talk to a woman with a pram who is surrounded by children.

Intertitle - The story of St George's Crypt is known throughout the country. Towards 9.0 pm the night's visitors begin to arrive.

Several world weary looking men walk to the church and up to the Crypt Rest Room.

Intertitle - Inside the doorway there is a stained glass window.

The top half of a stained glass window depicts a Christian story (NT. Matthew 25:35).

Intertitle - Booking-in.

The men, all looking rather forlorn, form a queue, and they each in turn hand a man seated behind a desk a booklet which he stamps.

Intertitle - Changes sometimes make new men.

One of the men swaps his old ragged clothes for new ones.

Intertitle - Evening meal. St George's never refuses a meal.

Again the men queue, this time for a tin mug of tea and a couple of rolls.

Intertitle - The Crypt had its tiny Chapel.

Inside the Chapel of St Francis of Assisi the men sing a hymn and kneel in prayer. Again men are seen entering the Crypt and having their booklets stamped. Two men sit talking.

Intertitle - On Sunday afternoons many of the 'visitors' return and pack the crypt for a special service.

At the service hymns are sung from the hymn book, and the men kneel with bowed heads as the priest says prayers, followed by a reading. The canteen opens and tea and sandwiches are served.

Intertitle - . . . And so to bed.

The men lay down on pews to sleep, without any bedding.

Intertitle - Next morning some feet move with a lighter tread.

The men emerge from the crypt, many with smiles looking up at the bright sunshine, and appearing less dishevelled and disheartened than when they went in; and walking with more purpose. The bottom half of the stained glass window is now revealed to show the words: 'I was a stranger and you took me in'.

Intertitle - At Christmas time the St George's toy service is a memorable and stirring event. The church is packed long before the time for commencement.

The notice board for the Church advertises The Christmas Tree service for Sunday 19th December [1948], requesting the bringing of toys for "the poor kiddies of Leeds".

Intertitle - In the Church Hall over fifty small trees are dressed with presents a ready for the eventual distribution.

Church helpers decorate the trees.

Intertitle - As the time for the service draws near - on the Sunday before Christmas - there is great activity in the choir-boys' vestry.

The boys put on their gowns, having a laugh whilst doing so,

Intertitle - In the church hall a procession forms up, headed by the choir swinging lanterns, and the decorated trees are carried into the church.

The procession is shown, with the trees being carried as part of the procession.

Intertitle - Within the church there is an atmosphere of hushed expectancy. Outside the joyous clamour of the bells has ceased.

Inside the church the trees are shown lit up.

Intertitle - The carol music swells the rich crescendo as the long line of dancing points of light flows in through the door and moves round the aisles.

In the darkness the points of light are shown bobbing up and down.

Intertitle - Still they come across the church yard.

The three clergymen stand at the front of the church.

Intertitle - The trees are then accepted by the Ministers who stand between the twenty foot trees which flank the holy table.

The procession proceeds to the front of the church where the trees are handed to the three ministers. There follows singing, with the choir around the outside and local boys gathered in the middle.

Intertitle - Later in the service the moment arrives when members of the congregation are invited to bring forward their gifts. There is a rustle throughout the great building as hundreds rise and move to form a seemingly never ending procession in the central aisle.

The church is jammed with bustling people as they take their gifts to the front.

Intertitle - Children clutching cherished toys, men and women of the services, old people and family groups; - a sight to bring a lump to the throat and a warmth to the heart.

More gifts are shown being donated.

Intertitle - The service proceeds and 'Christmas' is in the air.

The Minister gives the service standing between two large Christmas trees.

Intertitle - There is hardly standing room, even in the pulpit.

The minister gives a sermon from the pulpit surrounded by children hemming him in.

Intertitle - Next week the 'free toy-shop' opens (you present your voucher and take your choice).

Goods are laid out on a table, and people make their selections.

Intertitle - . . . And the free food shop: - the result of gifts from all over the country and well-wishers overseas.

A line of women seated behind a table give out items of food to women who collect it in cardboard boxes.

Intertitle - The on the afternoon of Christmas Eve . . .

A man, one of the new Ministers dressed as Father Christmas, loads a Christmas tree into the St George's Crypt van, followed by more Christmas trees and presents.

Intertitle - No reindeer for this Father Christmas!

Father Christmas jumps into the van ready to drive off.

Intertitle - Anything for us?

A group of boys peer into the van, and then it arrives in a street as the postman passes.

Intertitle - Even with many trees to give (St George's provides five hundred families with Christmas presents) selection is not easy. There is often disappointment next door.

Father Christmas delivers a tree and presents to a house, whilst boys peer out of the door of a neighbouring house. Whilst delivering to another house, Father Christmas gets a dog to jump for some food. He continues to deliver to different houses as children look on. Inside a house children group around their newly acquired Christmas tree. Back at the crypt more trees and presents are loaded onto a cart being towed by a car, with a group of scruffy looking children clustered around. Father Christmas hands out presents inside a house.

Intertitle - Father Christmas is still at work when the street lamps come on, but there are always some empty stockings.

Father Christmas is still delivering gifts in the semi-dark with the street lights on.

Intertitle - back at St George's Crypt the welcoming sign shines strongly through the night.

There is a lighted crucifix.

The End