St. Peters, Wrecclesham
St Peter’s Church is at the centre of the community and is recognised as an important asset to the village of Wrecclesham. They wanted to create a more flexible and welcoming space for worship in contrast to the dark Victorian formal interior, together with providing the ability to open up the building to be used by other community groups.
A key number of areas of improvement were identified:
External Accessibility – The church sits some 7ft above street level with a stepped approach with previous wheelchair, pushchair and coffin access was at worst impossible and at best awkward. The only level approach was along a long gravel driveway not suitable for wheelchair users. New external access arrangements from street level were therefore required.
Entrance Doors – New large double glass doors to provide a bright and welcoming entrance as opposed to the existing narrow, boarded and stepped north porch entrance.
Interior Accessibility – The interior of the existing church hand small changes of level and various floor finishes. These were awkward to navigate and unwelcoming so the requirement was to provide one unified floor level and bring communion forward to avoid the stepped chancel.
Comfort and Flexibility – The existing church had traditional Victorian pews. These were uncomfortable, dark and impossible for wheelchair users or ambulant disabled to access. They were also fixed and so the volume and floor space of the church could not be utilised for other purposes.
Font – The font needed to be reinstated in its traditional position in order to enhance the new entrance.
Heating – A new boiler had been installed previously but this was heating normal radiators which meant the heat wasn’t evenly distributed. The new scheme therefore needed to include underfloor heating and radiators and relocate the boiler into a new external boiler house.
Electrical – The existing lighting system relied on an expensive to run and difficult to change halogen light bulb system. The wiring of the power and lighting was very old. There was no audio-visual equipment except a radio microphone. It was decided to wire, commission a lighting scheme an incorporate a new a/v system.
Organ – The existing large organ would be expensive to move, the scheme therefore had to retain the organ in its existing position.
In response to the above, Nye Saunders reconfigured the external access to provide new doc M compliant access steps and a new platform lift for wheelchair users to bring people from street level up to churchyard level. The remainder of the approach to the church was then sensitively ramped with brickwork edging walls, resin bound permeable gravel and metal estate style handrailing’s.
A new west entrance door and screen was then sensitively designed to be cut through the west wall directly beneath the impressive west windows. The screen was oak framed but fully glazed with level threshold and new bathstone dressing were detail, cut and installed by Anstey and Stone (stonemasons) of Farnham. The screen brings an improved level of natural daylight into the church.
Internally the existing stone font and pulpit were carefully disassembled for relocation, and the existing pews and floor finishes broken out. A new concrete floor slab, insulation and screeded floor (incorporating the underfloor heating) with a beautiful limestone flooring supplied by Stamford Stone was installed.
A new audio visual system was introduced including a drop down projector screen, HD projector, and wireless microphone, together with new LED lighting scheme designed by CES Lighting and installed, together with the complete re-wiring by Lektron Electrical Contractors.
The new stackable metal frame timber chairs were supplied by ICS Church Furnishers and came complete with St. Peters Church logo laser cut into the backrest.
Finally, the whole church was redecorated using breathable and durable Classidur paints.
The new re-ordered church now provides a light, airy, warm and flexible space for worship, concerts and community use.