Rex Walford grew up in the Middlesex suburbs in the post-WWII era. He has been President of the Geographical Association, and Vice-President of the Royal Geographical Society. He is an Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge and was formerly Head of the Department of Education at the University of Cambridge. He has recently authored Geography in British Schools, 1850-2000 (Routledge, 2005) and, with Colin Dolley, The One-Act Play Companion (A&C Black, 2006).2007 0-7734-5352-0
This groundbreaking book sheds much-needed light on the neglected ecclesiastical history of urban England in the twentieth century. Working from detailed field evidence Rex Walford has investigated the fate of the Church of England in suburban Middlesex (“New London” north of the Thames) between the two World Wars. Quite contrary to a widely-held view, the Anglican Church flourished and expanded in this area during this time. More Anglican Churches than cinemas were built in the Diocese of London between 1918 and 1945 and many of them were significant in architecture, liturgy and new strategies of mission. The story of the genesis of The Forty-Five Churches Fund, of T.S. Eliot’s involvement with the Fund and the spread of new churches is accompanied by five detailed case-studies as well as a wealth of evidence from parishes which were created in these new suburban areas in the 1920s and 1930s. The book is copiously illustrated with maps and photographs and provides a highly readable narrative of an exciting period of church development, as well as a penetrating analysis of the myth of “secularization”. There are 24 black and white photos in this book.