Re-ordering 2016-18

From the latter part of the twentieth century the congregation and clergy sought advice on ways to make the space in the church more accessible and flexible, yet remain true to the history of the building.

After the construction of the Trinity Centre in the 1990s to create a hall on site, attention turned to the church itself in earnest, and, under Revd John Routh, feasibility studies were conducted with the congregation and community to see if funding might be found. Plans were developed with the church architects to create a facility that was fit for purpose for the twenty-first century and beyond.

Work began in January 2016, with the congregation using the Trinity Centre for Sunday worship as the changes inside the church would be whole-scale and far-reaching.  The principal reason for this was the removal of the Victorian pews and old stone slabbed floor and the replacement of underfloor heating. A new stone floor was laid throughout the church with the exception of the chancel and clergy vestry.

Alterations to the church itself were principally the new accessible entrance in the south-west corner, new doors for the west entrance and the removal of the west end section of the north gallery.

In order to have the new church entrance at the right level, the floor was lowered. This work, as well as the replacement of the floor within, necessitated archaeological excavation to record what was underneath the floor and to enable reburial of any remains at the former ground level.

Inside, the spiral staircase which had led up to the north gallery from the tower base at the west end was re-sited in the middle of the remaining gallery against the north wall and extended to reach the new lower floor height.

The space under the north gallery was divided by glass partitions to be open or to form up to three separate rooms as required.  At the south-west end of the north aisle a kitchen has been created in keeping with the style of the interior.

The chancel floor was not disturbed, but a new dais was built extending the floor area into the nave.  Ramped access to the dais was enabled on the south side.

The font was moved to the centre of the raised area in the west end (within the tower).  The new inner glass doors in the west end enable an uninterrupted view  through to the east end stained glass window.

The old library (South Chapel) was re-designed, the chancel organ removed, and the space was converted into the choir vestry.

The former choir vestry, in the nineteenth century Bidlake extension in the south west corner, was absorbed into the new entrance and toilet facilities, while the exterior has remained unchanged. The old oak door leading to the choir vestry now leads to the ladies’ toilet!

Upholstered chairs were bought for the congregation.  These allow the main space to be used not only for worship but for a range of other activities by the congregation and wider community.

New lighting and cleaning has greatly enhanced the look of the church.  Indeed, the re-ordering project earned the church two Design awards in the Sutton Coldfield Civic Society awards of 2017 for best restoration project and best overall project.

During re-ordering 2016
During re-ordering 2016
During re-ordering 2016
PLaque commemorating re-ordering 2016
Pre 2016 reordering
After 2016 re-ordering

Phase 2

The church was re-opened in October 2016 with a service of re-dedication led by the Bishop of Birmingham.

At that point part of the work in the tower had not been undertaken, partly because of funding and partly because the work required meant the removal of the 1950s pipe organ.  After some discussion it was agreed that a new digital organ was the only viable option in the space available as speakers took less space than pipework.

This second phase was undertaken in the spring of 2018, and worship  continued in church through this phase.  The removal of the organ ‘works’ in the tower enabled the west stained glass window to be visible once again as well as the painted ceiling.

Where woodwork was removed, examples were placed against the south and south-west walls under the gallery.