War Memorial Chapel fundraising stands the test of timeJohn Blois
An important part of the Trinity landscape today only exists as a result of generous fundraising efforts from generations gone by, but it wasn’t a smooth road to making the Trinity Grammar School War Memorial a reality.
In the north-eastern corner of the Quadrangle at Summer Hill, the Trinity Grammar School War Memorial Chapel is a staple building in the life of the School. As the School strives to uphold consistency, what is preached in the Chapel is upheld intellectually in the classroom and physically on the sporting field.
The history of the building itself is one infused with generosity, commitment, and vision.
Before the Second World War had come to an end, the Trinity School Council was moved to honour those from the Trinity Community who had served in conflict – the many who were lost as well as those who returned home. They asked a sub-committee to make some suggestions for projects that could be funded by a newly established ‘War Memorial Fund’.
Naturally, in a period of time defined by uncertainty and financial struggles, the Council became preoccupied with the day-to-day running of the School, so the fund lay dormant for quite some time. Finally, in December of 1946, the School Council determined by formal motion that “the memorial for which the appeal is to be launched should consist of a School Chapel and other suitable buildings”.
In a document titled, ‘The Chapel within Trinity Grammar School Summer Hill’ compiled by J. W. Hogg and A. B. Kerrigan in 1965, we hear of the first meeting that kicked off the manifestation of the Chapel.
“At a small but enthusiastic public meeting on Monday evening, 10th March, 1947, the Memorial Appeal was launched. An Appeal Committee was formed and office-bearers were elected. By December of that year the credit balance of the Appeal was less than one thousand pounds.”
The Chapel-centred document goes on to outline all the ebbs and flows of the project. While the initial meeting mentioned above kicked off the project, the years following saw little growth of the Memorial Appeal. In 1947 there was no more than £1,000 in the Appeal. However, in 1955, after the current site of the School’s War Memorial Chapel had been determined, there was a renewed enthusiasm for the Chapel Appeal. By April 1956, students, staff, and parents had raised over £16,000 and had secured a further loan for £26,000.
In our modern, metric minds, these numbers might seem smaller than the amounts needed to build such an important building. However, it is important to remember that in 1957, Senior School fees were £120 per year. The funds raised by Trinity’s community were not insignificant – something that the still standing, still functioning Chapel can attest to today.
These funds allowed for work on the Chapel to begin. On 11th November, 1956 – chosen for its significance as Remembrance Day – the foundation stone of the building was laid. At the day’s Service – led by the School’s Founder, the Right Rev. W. G. Hilliard M.A. – an offertory was taken up for the Memorial Fund. By the end of the offertory, an additional £4,000 had been generously given.
Today, the Chapel continues to stand as a memorial of the service and sacrifice of Old Boys and its history is testament to the generosity of past generations of our wonderful Trinity community. J. W. Hogg and A. B. Kerrigan put it best in their document in 1965, when they said:
“The Chapel is for all: it is for present boys and for Old Boys, and for countless generations yet to come. To all alike it recalls and will always recall, the deepest meanings of their School: and to all alike it teaches and will ever teach the eternal paradox that when men bow the knee in the presence of their God they grow in stature.”