Queen Amelie of Portugal was present on Wednesday and formally opened the Marylebone Fair at Claridge’s Hotel, Brook Street, which this year devotes its energies to the aid of the Church of St. Charles, Ogle Street. There was a brilliant gathering assembled on the occasion. Sir Roper Parkington presided, and in his opening remarks said he wished in the name of the committee to express his high delight at such a distinguished and large gathering. He thought the committee were to be congratulated on having obtained the kind assistance of Her Majesty Queen Amelie. ” We all desire to express,” he said, ” in no measured terms our sincere and grateful thanks to Her Majesty, and offer her a most hearty welcome. Her Majesty, like all the members of our own Royal Family, is always willing to aid the cause of charity, no matter at what inconvenience to herself.” Sir Roper referred to Queen Amelie’s recent visit to Southend, and to King Manoel’s visits to Liverpool and Leeds, and said, ” These gracious acts deserve the gratitude of the English nation, more especially in these anxious and troublous times.”
Speaking of St. Charles’ Church, he said :—” It is undoubtedly one of the poorest, as well as one of the most deserving churches in London. It was built by a student of the English College in Lisbon, and most of the money was collected in Portugal fifty-five years ago. Some of the statues in the church are by Portuguese artists. Unfortunately, this church is now in difficulties owing to several reasons, among which are the departure for the war of the many foreigners in North Soho who used the church and contributed largely to its upkeep ; the number of factories and shops replacing houses, causing people to live away from their work, and be no longer able to use the church; and the gradual and constant increase of the Jewish element, which is driving out the Christians from the neighbourhood of the church. St. Charles’ Church must, however, continue to exist, for it serves, and has served for the past fifty years without any financial assistance, the Middlesex, University, and Orthopedic Hospitals, all of which now accommodate many sick soldiers requiring the comforts of religion. The income of the church does not even cover current expenses. Then there is the interest on a mortgage of £1,000, and the interest on a loan of £500. The restoration of the outside of the church owing to the serious decay of the stonework will cost at least £500, and it is a work now absolutely necessary.” After setting forward- thus clearly the needs of the church, Sir Roper said he could not sit down without voicing the feeling of gratitude of Father O’Connor to those distinguished persons whose names were on the programme for so kindly associating themselves with the Fair. Their help and support was much appreciated.
Queen Amelie then declared the Fair open, and wished it every success. After being presented with a number of purses towards the object of the Fair, and listening to a few words of special thanks from Father O’Connor, Her Majesty proceeded to inspect the stalls. The Fair was opened on Thursday by Lady Roper Parkington, Mr. Ernest Oldmeadow presiding.
The above text was found on p.26,16th December 1916 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .