Jill Guest (August 2014)
My memories and connections with Two Gates Ragged School
My mother, Dorothy Edna May Beasley, was christened at Two Gates Ragged School in October 1924, her family lived in an old tenement opposite the Ragged School in Two Gates. My Beasley connection, however, goes back to before the chapel was built. In 1843 my maternal 3x great-grand-father John Beasley lived in Two Gates and rented a field in Cradley Upper Field belonging to the estate of George Biggs (tithe map and schedules 1843, Margaret Bradley & Barry Blunt). This was an arable field from its placement on the map and its size, and it appears to be the field on which the chapel was built in1867.
My family connections continue with my Great aunty May (May Andrews) my granny's sister who came to the ladies' group here and possibly came to Sunday school as a small girl before the First World War. Her funeral was held at Two Gates Ragged School in January 1997, conducted by Mrs. Hazel Clifton. Two Gates held a special place in her heart.
I came to various services and events here, but on Mother's Day March 2004, I stood in the pulpit and took the service for the first time in any church, due mainly to Barry’s persistence and persuasion. In 2014, ten years later, I again took the Mother's Day service. In those ten years I have taken many services at Two Gates including Harvest Festivals, Christingle and Nativity services. I enjoy singing with the ladies' choir, we enjoy our singing and each other's friendship and I enjoy helping with the coffee mornings and various events. I am always made to feel welcome and feel at home at Two Gates Ragged School.
Jill Guest is a member of Cradley Then & Now, a local community voluntary group that research and publish information about Cradley's history and its diverse heritage. CLICK on the link to enter 'cradleylinks' website