H+R’s Northern Office had a busy time diving into historic ecclesiastical buildings over the not-so-sunny summer months.
In July, our Northern team were engaged on a timber and damp survey of the roof structure at Westgate Unitarian Chapel in Wakefield. The Grade II* listed Georgian building features the pulpit and pews from the original 1737 chapel and has its own catacombs where industrialists, innovators, and more are interred. The current building opened its doors in 1752 and took architectural inspiration from the nearby Wentworth Woodhouse where H+R have been actively engaged over the last three years. Our team were fortunate enough to get a tour of the catacombs where they found that the 18th and 19th Century abolitionists and slavers buried there were separated to either side of the crypt; opposed on the monumental humanitarian issue, even in death.
Also in July, the team completed a timber and damp survey on the roof timbers of one of the oldest buildings in Chorley, St Laurence’s Church. Thought to have originated in the Saxon times, the parish was originally a daughter church to the nearby Croston Parish. Becoming a mother church itself over the years; St Laurence’s saw additions of the north and south aisles to the original Norman structure in the mid to late 19th century. John Coward Architects are managing a new programme of works to improve the facilities of the Grade II* listed building so that it can better support the local community.
August saw the team take a trip to Lancaster to St Paul’s Church, Scotforth to investigate condensation issues, water penetration, and complete a roof timber condition survey. Designed by English architect Edmund Sharpe, St Paul’s opened in 1876 and was extended in 1890. The Grade II* listed building is of Romanesque Revival style, despite Gothic Revival being the popular style at the time, and for this reason architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner described it as a “strange building” and “an anachronism, almost beyond belief”.