‘Flat pack’ church at Weald and Downland Museum

The Weald and Downland Museum has added to its collection of interesting buildings with a ‘flat-pack’ church.

The corrugated iron-and-timber-framed building has been taking shape at the museum in Singleton, and should be fully operational by the beginning of April.

It was dismantled at its previous home in South Wonston, near Winchester, with each piece being numbered to make it easy to reassemble like flat-pack furniture at the museum.

It was last used by parishioners in 1996, having been originally erected in 1909.

Head of operations at the museum Henry Warner said: “It’s nice we are able to put up new buildings, we have not put one up for a bit. I hope everyone will come and have a look at it.

“We are hoping to get it done by April 5.

“They didn’t want it to just rot away so they offered it to us.

“It’s a timber-framed building so it fits in with our exhibits. It was built as a flat-pack, they were brought from catalogues and delivered all over the empire, this one went to South Wonston and cost £100.

“It will be furnished as it would have been in 1908, we are getting a reproduction font to go in it.

“Once we got the foundations in, which took a bit of time, the timber frame was put up by two people in a week.”

The church is what is popularly known as a tin tabernacle. It became too small for its purpose as the population of South Wonston grew.

The Rector of Wonston Parish, the Rev Christopher Finch, said: “We are delighted to have found a new home for the Mission Church and new owners who will cherish it.

“The church fulfilled an important need in the community in this corner of Hampshire for 85 years and was much loved by its congregation.

“We are very excited to think it will now be seen by over 150,000 visitors to the museum each year.”