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"Session" Chester

From the Bookings Page, the crossBeaTs seem to have played twice at the "Session" Coffee Bar in Chester.

Sunday 18 Decemebr 1966
Sunday 3 March 1968

Little could be recalled of these bookings until I received a number of e-mails from Stuart Millar in late 2005. They are shown below - any edited parts are shown in italics, or a series of dots.
21 December 2005

I have been fascinated to find your website and to be reminded of the days when Coffee Bars were the front line for Christian outreach. I was based in Chester, in the '60's and worshiped at Kingsway Chapel, a fairly progressive Brethren Church. A group of us there started a coffee bar work called "Session" which grew to large (and noisy) for the church and we moved to the Blue Coats School and then to the Gateway Theatre......... I know many of the groups mentioned on your site played there.

We had our own "house band" called "The Sowers" (see attached picture and website address - below). In the original line-up, Ernest McQuoid was the singer, Jim Porter on rhythm , Brian Fawkes on drums and myself on lead guitar. We added a bass player and a 12 string guitarist later. We tended to tour the Brethren circuit (those that would have us) but we did play at gospel campaigns in Douglas Isle of Man, Port Stewart and Port Rush Northern Ireland, and one in Chester Town Hall. The nearest we got to the Liverpool Phil was to play at the Saturday night youth meetings in nearby Gordon Hall. My memories of those days are not as vivid as I would like but I do know that many were saved at these events. I do have some recordings of the songs we sang back then but very little documentation. Your record keeping was far superior to ours I can tell [grin]. I think I still have your vinyl LP and the Witnesses EP somewhere in the attic.

Anyway, I thought I'd contact you to say how much I enjoyed your site and it brings back many memories of those times 40 years ago

With warm Christian greetings

Stuart Millar


The "Sowers" have a website which you can access. If you want to stay with the crossBeaTs pages, use the top buttons, or (better still) your back button.  The following link will take you to the current web site of The Sowers

This second letter of Stuart's has more details of "Session".
21 December 2005

I'm sure I can fill in some of the gaps as far as "Session" was concerned.

Originally "Session" began in Kingsway Chapel, Newton, Chester always on a Sunday night after the evening service. We very soon realised that an "out of town" venue and church surroundings were not ideal for reaching the kids we wanted to reach. So we looked around for a place in the city and at that time the Blue Coats School had a secular coffee bar on it's upper floors but was not open on a Sunday. Ideally we would have wanted to use those rooms but for reasons best known to the Blue Coats School people they thought it would be too risky to let us use the coffe bar. How,ever they did offer us their gym on the groundfloor. They also let us use tables and chairs from the coffee bar, so every week we carried chairs and tables down to the gym for our Sunday night events. We had coffee making facilities just off the gym and we used to erect a makeshift stage (on which you would have played). We had a team of young christians who were trained to get along side those who came. There were many youngsters who were saved on those nights and some have gone on with the Lord. We later moved from the Bluecoats School Gym to the Gateway Theatre (which in those day wasn't used on Sundays) and had monthly concerts with a variety of groups and speakers.

I'll be in touch when I have some more information. God bless

Stuart Millar


If you can help in any way, please get in touch. Email

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