Monday, September 13, 2010

The Iron Church, White Grit

A year ago English Buildings wrote:
Between the 1850s and 1920s, when there was still a growing demand for church buildings but often a limited budget for construction, scores of corrugated iron churches were put up in England and in the farthest outposts of the empire. These buildings were supplied in prefabricated form by commercial companies, some of whom, including Boulton and Paul of Norwich and William Cooper Ltd of London, grew successful in the church market. 
It was straightforward for an impoverished parish, or one needing temporary accommodation before a more permanent stone church was built, to find a design in a catalogue and order it up, pricing being based on the size of the congregation (£4 per person seated was not uncommon). 
The trappings of church architecture – pointed Gothic-style windows, little bell turrets – were included in the price, although plain, shed-like designs, presumably still cheaper, were sometimes chosen for mission halls or chapels.
The day after I visited Clun I caught the Shrewsbury bus from Bishop's Castle and got off at White Grit. One of the reasons was that this former lead mining village has one of these iron churches.

Last time I was there I had come away with the impression that it might be closed for worship, but this time there was a notice saying there would be a service that very evening.

There is a Methodist chapel in the village, and this was probably where most of the miners worshipped. So I suspect the Church presence here was in the nature of a mission - hence the economical iron church.

White Grit is just over the Welsh border in Montgomeryshire. Last time I was there I was bitten by a Jack Russell terrier. I later mentioned this to Lembit Opik, but he took it very lightly.


Richard T said...

In rural Essex, when I was a boy (the best part of 60 years ago), these were universally called tin tabernacles regardless of their 'religious' ownership.

Frank Little said...

Tin tabernacles here, too, also tin chapels.

macon church said...

We still have the tin stuff

Wartime Housewife said...

You should have told Lembit you'd been bitten by a Cheeky Girl. He would have sat up and taken notice then!!!!