Faith Craft History

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About 1916 the Society began to make vestments to order, using the services of a worker in her own home at New Southgate. The original idea was to offer very cheap vestments for country churches which had no sacristies for keeping expensive items (even if they could afford them), and not expecting the products to look dignified after more than five years or so, after which they could be cheaply replaced. These, and some other items, were sold from the Society’s office, then in Buckingham Street, London.

After the First World War A E Henderson and Noyes Lewis designed some war memorials and other items. The business was set on a professional footing when William Lawson returned from war service in 1918 and in 1921 ‘The Faith Craft-Studio Limited’ was set up with William Lawson as Managing Director and the Society retaining a controlling interest. In about 1928 they started to use a workshop in Victoria Street, St Albans, Hertfordshire. In 1930 the name was legally changed to ‘The Faith Craft-Works Limited’ and the Secretary of the company at the time was George Baden Beadle. From 1938 it operated from premises in Ashwell Street, St Albans, Hertfordshire.

When the Society took over Faith House in 1936 the embroidery work as housed at the Society’s premises at Faith House, Tufton Street, London, while joinery and statue work were done in a small factory St Albans, In 1946, on the death of William Lawson, George Baden Beadle took over as managing director. Faith Craft organised the Festival of Britain Exhibition of Church Art at Lambeth Palace in 1951.

In 1952 H A Beadle (George’s brother) was managing the works at St Albans. In 1955 Faith Craft Works moved to new premises in the Abbey Mill in St Albans with a bindery set up for manuscripts and old books. George Baden Beadle died in 1956 and was succeeded as managing director by Francis Stephens.

By the end of the 1960′s changes in fashions in church furnishings had changed, reducing demand and the costs of running the businesses were rising. As a result in 1969 the Society closed down Faith Craft, the firm went into voluntary liquidation and was wound up by 1972. Regrettably all the business records and many of the drawings were destroyed. The Society has a small collection of Faith Craft drawings which will be archived in due course.