Monday, September 10, 2007

Congregation, coloured glass and dress circle.

Nick and I spent yesterday visiting buildings in the Heritage Open Day.

1. Reading that St Augustine's church was once described as a 'tent' and that it helps worshippers recall the nomadic roots of their religion. It's a low modern building laid out in a square -- the congregation must feel very involved with the services. Nick thought its high rafters made it like a Medieval hall. The guide who greeted us said that when the church was first opened in 1974, she didn't get on very well with the modern architecture, but it has grown on her.

2. The stained glass window at the back of the stage in Trinity Arts Centre. Trinity is a converted church and the window is normally hidden by a curtain.

3. Going upstairs in the Opera House. It's been a pub since I moved to Tunbridge Wells. Before that, it was a bingo hall, and before that a cinema, and before it was a theatre. The dress circle has recently restored red tip-up seats. But I didn't know there was an upper circle, too, which hasn't been used since the last film in 1968. The seats look rather hard and uncomfortable, and it is strange to think that no-one has sat in them since before I was born. It was very grimy, very eerie, with toilets full of dust and stacks of unwanted doors and old furniture lying around. I was so glad of the chance to go behind the scenes in this familiar place.


  1. Thanks for sharing we're visiting with you and enjoying

  2. hello :) i heard a beautiful thing today and thought of you, so i thought i would tell it to you.

    there is a guy in my tutor group called Jan-Andreas, hes an itallian guy with long hair and a full beard who likes psy-trance and smokes way too much. But today he said "can you tell our tutor that im not going to be here this afternoon" and we were like, yeah thats fine, why? and he said "because its the first windy day in ages and i want to go and fly my kite."
    it made my day :)

  3. don't you love old buildings? i love ruins for similar reasons as yours: you thinking about the people that filled the spaces and how much time has passed since then.

  4. It was a great weekend of opportunity wasn't it? Do you think we should start an online petition to turn the Opera House back into a cinema? :-)

  5. Amy -- thanks for sharing that. It made me laugh. I'm glad some people have their priorities right.

    Anke -- I know! I was looking at the other visitors, wondering if any of them were bloggers... I think it would be great if the opera house were a cinema. It'd be much easier to get to than the Odeon. But I don't know if we would get much chance to enjoy the decor. Perhaps we could campaign to get a film night there...

  6. Clare - I feel the same way whereever I go, you never know when you might be standing next to another blogger. We might pass each other in the street every day ;-)


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