Monday, February 2, 2009

Kettering - Part 2

Continuing the pictures of Kettering taken on my recent visit to the historic Northamptonshire market town.

If Fuller was the Little Meeting, what was it Little in relation to? The answer is this, the Great Meeting, now called Toller Church. Now part of the URC, it was originally a Congregational Church. As can be seen from the photograph, it was not as wealthy as Fuller by the 19th century, as rather than building a new structure, they merely put this new facade on. To my eyes it looks more like part of a railway station than a church! But it does have a cross on the front, in case you wondered what the building was. Not the most elegant re-fronting job!

The former London Road Congregational Church (now URC) is another matter. Built in 1898-9, it is in the Gothic style, by this time all but universal as the Church style. The building is galleried on three sides, the turrets presumably containing the gallery stairs. This is very much, at least on the outside, a comfortable middle-class church declaring that the nonconformists were themselves an institution. The great West window of London Road chapel is on a line with the East window of the Parish Church. Make of that what you will.

Kettering Central Methodist Church. Built in 1932, it looks back to the earlier part of the 19th century, when this sort of neoclassical design was typical of nonconformist chapels. The use of the older form has, however, been modified by the 1930s architect. The proportions of the facade are slightly odd, and few 19th century architects would have had the first floor windows smaller than the ground floor. Although it looks back to the 19th century, the building, in its position on a side-street, suggests that Methodism was not as wealthy as the oder nonconformity in Kettering, and perhaps it speaks of the forthcoming decline of the nonconformists in England.

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