Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Coombe Green, Worcestershire
On the edge
Last weekend I pulled up and photographed a building I’d been meaning to post for a while, the Mission Room on the edge of the common at Coombe Green in Worcestershire. It seemed to me as I looked at it that I’d better share it with you soon. Many of these “tin churches” are disappearing, and when I see one that’s not in pristine condition, I wonder whether it, too, will be pulled down to make way for something else.
According to a notice in the window, this corrugated-iron church was licensed for worship in 1904. As I looked at it, I wondered whether the original builders thought that it would last more than a hundred years. It’s actually quite a complex building for a tin church – many consist simply of four sides and a roof, perhaps with the addition of a small porch. This one has what looks like a separate chancel, just visible to the left, plus a transept-like extension also on the left, the little store room on the right, and the long porch, its roof held up with a row of rugged tree trunks, that runs along the front. There’s a even a bell turret with a tiny spire-like roof.
These churches were often bought as prefabricated buildings from big suppliers, but this one, with its tree-trunk supports, might be custom-made. That porch gives the building an individual, frontier-town character, something that’s in keeping with this part of Worcestershire – not far away is a house made partly from an old railway carriage and a common with a number of scattered houses, probably put up by their original owners to take advantage of the old law that said that if you could build a house in a single night on a piece of unoccupied land, you gained the right to stay there. Rugged individualism indeed.