The extension to the porch at St John Weston Rhyn is the second phase of a comprehensive re-ordering of the church. The first phase, completed nine years ago, levelled the floor of the church, removed the organ and pews and moved the altar to the west end. This made space for a server and meeting area in what was the former sanctuary, while the former organ chamber became the main entrance to the church with a new door. At that time an accessible toilet was built within this new porch, but its location directly opposite the new doorway was not ideal, and the restricted space in the porch meant that access for funerals was sometimes difficult.
The congregation at St John’s always intended to continue the re-ordering with a mezzanine floor and a screen across the former chancel arch to create two meeting rooms. However, raising sufficient funds was challenging and they decided to use the resources they had in hand in order to extend the porch to give more space and to allow for a stair to the future mezzanine. The project was undertaken in three stages. The first stage was the preliminary work of creating a store-room above the vestry, demolishing the existing toilet and erecting a temporary screen to secure the building site. Members of the congregation undertook this work, led by three experienced self-builders (see News 4th March 2018). The next stage was the construction of the masonry shell of the extension. The contractor who built Phase 1 won the contract for this, and did work of the same high quality, sourcing stone to match the existing stonework and slates to match the existing roofs. Once the contract was completed, the self-builders moved back on site and finished the joinery, plaster boarding and services.
I was taking some photographs of the finished project when a passer-by stopped me. “It looks as if it’s always been there,” he said. You couldn’t ask for a better testimonial.
Contractor: Blakes Construction blakesconstruction.co.uk
Quantity Surveyor and Principal Designer for Construction Phase: SP Projects Ltd sp-projects.com