OLD DEVONPORT . UK
www.olddevonport.uk
 

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 17, 2016.
Webpage updated: February 17, 2016

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CHRIST CHURCH UNITARIAN CHAPEL

Christ Church Unitarian Chapel was situated in Duke Street.

Mrs Norman, the wife of the architect, Mr Alfred Norman, laid the foundation stone in February 1864 and the Chapel was formally opened on Sunday November 27th 1864 with Divine Service in the morning and evening and a Church Assembly in the afternoon.

Messrs Condy & Son, of Plymouth, built the Chapel at a cost of around 2,000.  Mr John Banfield of Soho Hill, Birmingham, supplied the 11-stop organ.

During the morning service the architect, Mr Norman, presented the plans of the building to the pastor, the Reverend J K Applebee.  Mr Norman was also treasurer of the congregation.   Among those present was the Reverend W J Odgers, of Bath, who had previously been a minister at Plymouth.

A Church Assembly took place at 3pm and was presided over by Sir John Bowring.  The evening service was at 6.30pm.  The organ at all three gatherings was played by Mr H D Rickards of Bristol.

Built in the decorated Gothic style, the building was constructed of dark limestone and consisted of a nave, 81 feet long, with a recessed chancel, elevated two steps, at the northern end; and a west transept, 20 feet deep, with the organ loft over.  The south gable in Duke Street was 60 feet tall and surmounted by a cross.  The tower and spire was 80 feet in height.   There were two entrances in Duke Street and one in Duke Street Open, between Duke Street and Cumberland Street.

The roof was partly open timbered and panelled, with the great arched trusses resting upon polished marble shafts supported by ten carved and foliated corbels of Caen stone.  Mr Webber, of Durnford Street, East Stonehouse, carried out all the stone carvings with marked artistic skill. 

Accommodation in stained and varnished open benches, with crimson cushions, was provided for 480 persons but provision had been made for a gallery to be added at the end, which would increase the seating to 600.

On either side of the chancel arch were the pulpit and reading desk.  The pulpit was constructed of Caen stone, supported by short marble columns with carved capitals.  Against the end wall of the chancel was an arcaded reredos of carved Caen stone and black marble, the panels of which contained the Lord's Prayer, the two great commandments, and the beatitudes.   At the south end of the Chapel was the octagonal Caen stone font, also on marble shafts.  A vestry and library adjoined the Chapel.

Christ Church Unitarian Chapel was closed and sold to the Devonport YMCA in 1923 for use as a gymnasium.  It was still in use as such in 1958 but was demolished not long afterwards as part of the expansion of the Royal Dockyard.