Major Repairs and Improvements
By 1884 the church was in a dilapidated condition. Most of the windows were in a very precarious state, one having been blown out by a winter gale, and the masonry around them had so perished as to allow the rain to ooze through.
The roof was in need of repair and, even though the gas lighting was an improvement on the old oil lamps, the atmosphere in the galleries was stifling during the winter evening services, due to lack of ventilation.
To raise funds for the repairs, a Church Workers Association was formed, whereby those who wished to be members paid sixpence and agreed to raise money by other means than by church collections. In six months they had raised £300 toward the project.
Thus in July 1885 it was possible to put the work in hand. At the same time the old original layout of the pulpit in the centre before the communion rails, with the reading desk in front, and the lectern again in front of that, was re-ordered. The result was essentially as we see it today, with the congregation having a full view of the communion table.
On the outside of the building, pinnacles were placed on the four corners of the tower to give it an appearance of greater height. In the past it had come in for a great deal of criticism, one correspondent in the local press remarking that it had the appearance of having sunk into the ground since it was first erected.
A gas lamp was erected outside the west door. A similar light had replaced an oil lamp over the main gate during the previous year.
Another alteration to the outside appearance was the replacement of the clock faces with larger ones.
Unfortunately Mr Gordon was never to see the finished scene for while he was away on holiday at Port Erin in the Isle of Man he suddenly died on the 19th August.
Later that week his mortal remains were borne from Tiviot Dale Station to Norbury Church, where they were to remain until the interment on the Saturday. The traffic in Hazel Grove was brought to a halt by the dense crowds that stood in stunned silence along the route. We are told that as the cortege passed by 'strong men wept'.