BISHOP of BARROW-in-FURNESS  1926 - 1944


HERBERT SIDNEY PELHAM

Herbert Sidney Pelham was appointed Rector of Aldingham and Bishop of Barrow in February 1926 and consecrated in York Minster on 25th March (Lady Day). He was a graduate of Oxford University and following ordination in 1905 involved himself very much in areas of social need, first as Head of the Oxford Medical Mission in Bermondsey, a very poor dockland parish in the East End of London, then as Vicar of St.Phillip's Birmingham and Head of the Birmingham Street Children's Mission. In the ten years prior to his Consecration he was Vicar of Barking, another parish to the east of London and at that time one of the most populous (38,000) parishes in England. 


His deep involvement with social work and education continued to be the two principal strands of his ministry. They made him eminently suitable for his work in Cumbria and Furness where Barrow was a large and predominantly working-class town. This is all the more surprising given that he was from a different social class entirely, having been educated at Harrow School, with a grandfather who had been Bishop of Norwich (1857-93), and with family ties to the Earls of Chichester and Dukes of Newcastle. 


Within a week of his Consecration he conducted Confirmations at St.Matthew's and St.James', Barrow. His passion for education and his facility with speaking to pupils at their own level meant that he was much in demand for Speech Days and Prize Givings. He took the greatest interest in St.Bees School, Cumbria, where he was unofficially regarded as its Chaplain. But his interests were not confined to the more privileged but also to the less so, and he was instrumental in setting up an Approved School at Ponsonby Hall, Calder Bridge near Whitehaven, for boys from disadvantaged backgrounds, and this school was named after him, Pelham House. 


After struggling with ill health he died at Aldingham on 11th March 1944 and is buried in the Churchyard there. His tombstone lies flat, not upright, typical of his modesty. A fine portrait of him by J.D.Kenworthy, a renowned West Cumberland artist, hangs in the chancel of the Church.