This single small photograph of Ireland at St Luke’s has huge significance, given the close (and in some cases lifelong) associations of the composer with the people captured in it. This is the third in a series of short blogs uncovering the personalities behind the faces.
The rather dapper man seen standing above John Ireland is the church caretaker, Ernest James Banting, born in Chelsea in 1870. In 1911 Banting was living in North School House, King Street, Chelsea, along with his wife Mary and baby son Philip. The churchwarden, Charles Hindes, lived next door at South School House.
One event of note in which Banting took part was the annual choir outing of 1908. This was held on 20 July, the treat a trip to Littlehampton. Headed by several church officials, the party left Victoria by train at 6.20 am. The day started gloomily, with a downpour, after which the clouds rolled away and the group made the most of a day at the seaside, flying kites and paddling (St Luke’s parish magazine, September 1908).