Chorley Methodist Church

Chorley Methodist Church interior

A glazed ‘welcoming’ entrance, pews replaced with light-weight and stackable chairs to provide a modern flexible multipurpose worship space. 

Chorley Methodist Church is a merger of the congregations of Park Road and Trinity Methodist Churches. The original chapel was built in 1889 and prior to the reordering had a large central pulpit and pews. The ‘horse-shoe’ balcony has been retained.  The attached hall and meeting rooms were built in the 1930s.  

Brief

The brief required a glazed ‘welcoming’ entrance which provided wheelchair access to the church. A small ramp provides access to the rear meeting rooms and link corridor. A platform lift provides disabled access to the hall and the rest of the complex. The small dark vestibule was replaced with a larger foyer space which can be partitioned off from the worship area and used as a separate meeting room and provide an occasional overflow space. The drinks kitchen can serve into the worship space and foyer. A suite of toilets can be accessed directly from the foyer.   

Challenges + Opportunities

The organ and balcony were retained, the ground floor pews and pulpit were removed and the sloping floor levelled. A ramp was introduced behind the dais to provide disabled access to the rest of the complex. The pews were replaced with light-weight, stackable chairs creating a flexible and multi-purpose space. The brief required the balcony to be brought back into use. Improving the fire escape was a prime consideration with separate fire escape doors provided within the balcony stairs ‘towers’. A new audio-visual system, incorporating a retractable projector screen which is ‘hidden’ in the new wall behind the dais, provides clear sight lines to the screen from the balcony as well as the ground floor. Additional audio visual sockets are available in the foyer space for portable TV monitors.

Chorley Methodist Church External

The slate roof, to the church, was renewed and roof insulation introduced between and over the rafters. The existing Cupola was also retained and rebuilt and a new electronically operated damper control introduced to provide controlled natural ventilation (the original system had a manually operated damper, which required access to the roof space, and was rarely used).  A new heating system (Low Pressure Hot Water fan convectors) with high-level stratification fans, replaced the antiquated cast iron heating system, and provides an efficient space heating system.

Design

The original entrance to the church was austere and unwelcoming with shrubbery and small trees flanking the entrance. The porch had inwardly opening security gates with large solid doors which opened into a small dark vestibule. The church required the new entrance to be of glass with direct views into the foyer and worship space.

The shrubbery was removed and fire exit doors inserted below the arched windows either side of the entrance.

External stone steps and a ramp were introduced providing an attractive paved external entrance area.

  • Project Type : Church Re-ordering Works
  • Project Value :  £452,000
  • Project Status : RIBA Stage 7 - In Use
  • BCR services : RIBA Work Stages  1-7 
  • Start / End : January 2013 / August 2013 
  • Contractor : Whitfield & Brown (Developments) Ltd 
  • Last Updated : 31st October 2016

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