Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bridgnorth, Shropshire

Bricks of Bridgnorth

This Wesleyan chapel of 1853 clings to the hillside just off the High Street in the middle of Bridgnorth. It caught my eye because of its strong Classical façade and as I squinted at it through the rain on a darkening afternoon I thought its front wall was painted grey between the white pilasters. But the grey is actually the purplish grey of the bricks themselves, which have been used to striking effect here.

As with most nonconformist chapels, the emphasis is on the entrance front, a grand version of a common formula for dissenting chapels, with pitched roof, pediment, round-headed windows, and central doorway. The sides are much plainer, but the builder took the trouble to mirror the shape of the front windows in a series of blind arches, the first of which can just be glimpsed in my photograph.

The chapel’s front does have its oddities, it’s true – the curious moulding above the name stone towards the top and the little circular opening higher still. But its frontage shows a nice, and I think quite unusual, use of grey bricks, which are generally reserved for engineering projects such as bridges and viaducts. Even in the rain, they look good.


Thud said...

Paint on unforgivable sin.

Ed Isaacs said...

Grey bricks! We call them Staffordshire Blues round here. I have got about 250 of them stacked in my back garden waiting for me to lay them for my path.

Bridgnorth Market Hall is built out of them as well - a sore Victorian thumb amongst the timber framing and 18th century frontages.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Ah! Staffordshire Blues! I'll remember that now. I'll not forget Bridgnorth Market Hall in a hurry either. I like a bit of Victorian brickwork, but that place is too much even for me.