From [the Wesleyan Methodist Conference in Manchester - the letter is headed Pole Bank Hall, Gee Cross, Hyde, Cheshire - home of George Frederick Byrom]. He may have to spend a night in London in order to see [William Alexander] Grist.
Ernest [H B R's brother] is third after [Charles] Ryder-Smith and [Henry Maldwyn] Hughes in the election of ministers to the United Conference, which is a good indication of where he stands.
It was a good missionary meeting last night. [Manchester] central Hall was full. [William Wildridge] Gibson denounced Communism as the Anti-Christ. H B R's own feelings are as follows;
1. The accusation is untrue.
2. Such talk exposes all missionaries and Christians to Communist hostility.
3. Gibson dare not say that in China.
Gibson failed to respond to H B R's note, but they were able to have a ten minute interrupted conversation in the [hotel] reception this morning. 'So wittingly or unwittingly he has left no stone unturned to protect himself from a free & frank talk, which all means that Hunan [District - Gibson was Chairman] has no help to give. He says he has advocated [John Howard] Stanfield...but that Chinese circuits will not let him go. Which is all true, but why?'.
Messrs [George Frederick?] Byrom and Holden are among the fifteen laymen for the United Conference.
Gordon and Eileen turned up at Whalley Range [Manchester] on Sunday night, but H B R did not have a very good time.
He has had tea with the Hills once or twice and he is going to have tiffin with Ernest [Rattenbury] today.
Tuesday [12 Jul 1932]
- Henry Maldwyn Hughes (1875-1940) was born at Trefeglwys in Wales, a son of the distinguished Wesleyan minister Dr John Hughes. He was educated at Kingswood School, University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and at Jesus College Cambridge. He entered the Wesleyan ministry in 1898 and served as a circuit minister until his appointment in 1921 as the first principal of Wesley House, Cambridge. Hughes remained at Wesley House until his retirement in 1937. He was the last president of the Wesleyan Methodist Conference. Hughes wrote many books on theology most notably Christian Foundations, which was for many years a standard textbook for local preachers and ministerial candidates. Source: Minutes of Conference 1941 and Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974).
- #William Wildridge Gibson (1874-1951) was born at Bath, Somerset. He was educated at Penrith Grammar School and privately at Carlisle. Gibson qualified in law and practised as a solicitor for five years. He trained for the Wesleyan ministry at Richmond with the specific intention of entering the mission field. Gibson served as a missionary in China from 1901 to 1935 when he was invalided home. As Chairman of the Hunan District from 1920 to 1935, he was an early advocate of giving greater responsibility to Chinese ministers. Gibson superannuated in 1937. Source: Minutes of Conference 1951.
- John Howard Stanfield (1888-1971) was born in London, the son of the Methodist minister John C. Stanfield. He was educated at Kingswood and taught for several years in Macclesfield before candidating for the Wesleyan ministry. He trained at Didsbury and in 1912 was appointed to serve overseas. Stanfield spent twenty-seven years in China where he taught for many years in the Methodist College at Wuchang. During his time as Chairman of the Hunan District, Stanfield witnessed the destruction of much of the mission property during the civil war of the late 1920s but was able to get his staff away safely. He returned home in 1938 and spent seven years in circuit ministry before going back to China for three years. After the Communist take-over, Stanfield returned to England and superannuated in 1959. Source: Minutes of Conference 1971.
- William Alexander Grist (1869-1943) was born on the Isle of Wight. He entered the Bible Christian ministry in 1889 and after five years Circuit ministry, went to Oxford University where he remained for two years, while waiting to go as a missionary to south-west China. He served for six years in China from 1896. During the Boxer rebellion, Grist and his wife were cut off from the outside world. He later wrote a biography of his colleague Samuel Pollard. Grist returned to the home ministry in 1902. He was President of the United Methodist Conference in 1925 and Secretary of the United Methodist Overseas Missions in 1928. Grist was appointed one of the General Secretaries of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society in 1930 and served in that capacity until superannuation in 1936. Source: Minutes of Conference 1943.
- George Frederick Byrom (b.1859) was educated in Wilmslow. A wealthy Manchester cotton manufacturer, Byrom was also a devout Wesleyan Methodist. He served as a Sunday School Superintendent and as the General Treasurer of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society for many years. Byrom had a special interest in the Laymen's Missionary Movement. Byrom was married to the former Miss Susannah Bowker of Manchester. They had one son and three daughters. The family was resident at Pole Bank Hall, Gee Cross, Hyde, Cheshire. Source: Who's Who in Methodism 1933.