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Memories of Moving the Church

Jul 31, 2012
On hearing the announcement of the pending retirement of the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, it brought the memories of my career at Whitby C Oliver flooding back. By Frank Rose
During my time with Whitby C Oliver, initially as Removals Manager and latterly as a director, I project managed and effected the removals of four Archbishops of York and Canterbury and of seventeen Bishops.

The Bishops of Carlisle, Durham, Newcastle, Whitby, Selby, Sheffield, Lincoln, Lichfield, Worcester, Guildford, Salisbury, Winchester, Liverpool, Chester, Norwich, Bath and Wells and London.

This work was brought about by the fact of Whitby C Oliver's having a contracts department that was renowned  for its quality work in upholstery, curtain making and french polishing, etc.

The Church Commissioners became aware of this service and commenced to engage the Company throughout Britain, the Commissioners also learned of its removal activities and the removal of the Bishop of Durham, Dr Michael Ramsey to become the Archbishop of York was the first of these high profile moves.

Some of the moves were not easy, the volumes and packing requirements was usually much larger than the average move and consequently, as vans were not as large as the vehicles used today, often three or four van loads was involved.  Another problem often encountered was access.  Several of the residences could not be accessed with 1,800 cubic foot vans and transhipment was the only method of loading and unloading. 

It was the norm for these moves to contain a large number of books, one Archbishops study required 170 tea chests (no book cartons or pack 1s then!) to move his books and he insisted that each book was moved in sequence and placed in its exact place at the new location. 

As some garments and vestments worn by Archbishops and Bishops were 6' to7' long our contracts department constructed some 8' hanging frames to accommodate this task and on one move from Windsor to Worcester we had to acquire some ramps to move a Frazer Nash racing car - a fast moving Bishop!

I was fortunate to be personally involved with these people and invited to some of their enthronements and the banquets that followed and there could be many stories to share but this would not be ethical to do so.  

The memories of this chapter of my working life will never be forgotten. 

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