From the Resene News – issue 2/2009
Bell ringer - St Georges Chapel
St Georges Chapel was built in 1921 by landowner James Coleman dedicated to his son Herbert who died in service in France during World War I. As one of only two churches in the local Parish, the church has been the heart of several generations and home to regular services for both Anglican and Presbyterian churchgoers. As well as its importance as a church, St Georges Chapel is the keeper of local history. After World War I, the Coleman’s 3000 acre farm was used to resettle around 30 returned servicemen, most of whom are now buried with some of their descendants in the chapel’s cemetery.
The durable thick concrete wall construction was unusual for the time as all the materials would have had to be moved in by river and then carted to the farm surrounded site by horse and dray. However this held it in good stead through the 1931 earthquake where it survived almost intact bar some damage to the tower. Prior to the most recent restoration work, the only previous significant work on the church was in 1949 when the original Norman crenulated tower was replaced with a steeple. The focus of the latest restoration work was to arrest the deterioration of the chapel preserving its historical and architectural heritage for the future without losing the beauty of the original workmanship.
Architect Graham Linwood combined his skills with those of Wellington conservation specialists, architect Chris Cochrane and engineer Win Clark to prepare a conservation plan including structural restorations that would preserve the original workmanship. The extensive plan included injecting concrete invisibly into cracks to strengthen the walls, restoring the native timbers in the eastern end gables, repairs to the steeple and roof, new exterior stucco and in a nod to the comfort of current churchgoers, new lighting and heating.
Exterior concrete was finished in Environmental Choice approved Resene X-200 tinted to Resene Pearl Lusta (classic cream) complemented by Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel tinted to Resene Palm Green (college green) on fascia and doors. Inside the palette warmed with walls of Environmental Choice approved Resene Zylone Sheen waterborne low sheen tinted to Resene Pink Lady (almond peach) joined by wooden beams and trims in Resene Woodsman tinted to Resene English Walnut (mid brown).
The country church now stands proud in the midst of the surrounding farmyards ready to welcome more generations of history.
Architect: Graham Linwood, Chris Cochrane
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