Saturday, 10 January 2015

St Nicholas, Great Yarmouth

I thought I'd give this church a post all it's own.  I think there's some debate as to whether this is the largest parish church in England or not.  Either way it's a huge building, a big boned sort of thing.  It sits in a sort of hollow, kind of tucked away, below the level of the surrounding streets, so that for all it's bulk it isn't that prominent in the townscape.  Like the town around St Nicholas's was badly damaged in World War II.  It was rebuilt under the guidance of Stephen Dykes Bower, and he did a brilliant job, though sadly the spire on the central tower was not rebuilt.  Stephen Dykes Bower has been called the last Gothic Revivalist, and he certainly carried the torch forward through the twentieth century.  I've always thought of him as somewhat thwarted because in a lot of the things he did, particularly the rebuilding of war damaged churches, he was hampered by the general lack of cash in post-war Britain.  He ploughed a lonely furrow too, as architectural tastes in Britain turned toward Modernism.

The West Front.  It reminds me of the Heiligen Geist Hospital in Lubbeck, but the similarity must be purely coincidental.

To unify the interior Dykes Bower reduced the number of piers in the nave arcades designing new ones in Transitional Gothic.  The nave is narrower than the aisles.  Note the pale colours, the light fittings and the boarded ceilings; all very Dykes Bower.

Dykes Bower designed a whole range of fittings for the church, the most prominent is the organ case in the north transept, and my favourite the wrought iron rejas of the south chancel chapel.  The wooden things such as the pews, and altar rails are of limed oak.  The colour is concentrated at the east end, where the ceilings are coloured and gilded and there is colour too from contemporary stained glass and the damask of the altar cloths

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