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The Narthex development

When Dave Bull arrived in Marlow we identified three pressing needs in terms of facilities within the church. These were improved access, improved and extra toilets and kitchen facilities. Church Council agreed to deal with these in three phases so that progress could be made and we now have both improved access and kitchenette facilities along with a dedicated crèche area.

The final challenge is improved toilets and this year our architect has been developing designs in consultation with the Diocesan Advisory Committee, who have to approve any work, along with the Church Council and other interested parties.

We now have an agreed design and contractors are currently submitting prices to carry out the work. Formal permission to carry out the work remains outstanding but this is at an advanced stage of the process. The Narthex of the church is what is most easily described as the entrance lobby where the existing toilet and flower cupboard are located. The proposal is to create a three level development where the existing toilet and flower cupboard are located.

At ground floor level there will be a fully accessible toilet including a baby change facility along with a facility for the flower arranging team. On the first floor there will be three further toilets along with a store cupboard. On the top floor there will be a meeting room. The design is a mixture of traditional and contemporary with oak timber finished with glass panels alongside the staircases. It is designed to complement the existing building and to allow as much natural light as possible to come into the area.

The benefactor boards will be relocated into the choir vestry and the monument in memory of Sir Giles Hobart who died as a result of a coach accident in 1632, having been Member of Parliament for Marlow in the reign of King Charles 1, will be relocated in the revamped main entrance area.

Subject to assessing the contractor’s bids and obtaining all the necessary approvals it is hoped that construction may take place early in the New Year to be completed by Easter.

The scheme has been designed so that should access to the rear of the church be required to a mezzanine level this can be achieved without disturbing any of the work. Similarly should it ever be wanted, the development could be linked across the entrance lobby to the choir vestry at the top level! Historically it is believed that the lower half of the new staircase will be reinstating a provision that was removed when the gallery was taken out of the church in the Victorian era!

The first two phases of work were funded by individual gifts, some grants and fund raising along with substantial contributions from The Friends of All Saints. The Narthex development is being made possible by a very generous gift to fund both the preparation of the scheme and the construction work along with some fund raising that was carried out last year.

Details of the scheme can be viewed on the notice boards located in the Narthex.

Richard Powell

For this and many more stories about what is going on within our church, download your latest copy of The Bridge – the magazine of All Saints Marlow.