Consulting on the Chapel
The Brook Street Chapel recently benefited from a series of improvements by leading architects, Purcell Miller Tritton who hit the headlines last year for winning a commission to provide a Lewis Carroll Interpretation Centre in nearby Daresbury.
Appointed as Lead Consultant, Contract Administrator and Quantity Surveyor for the enhancements, Purcell Miller Tritton made major alterations in the chapel grounds, the burial site of the English novelist who was famed for her biography of friend Charlotte Bronte, as well as being author of ‘Cranford’. This novel was recently adapted for television for the third time and the much needed work coincided with the bicentenary of its author’s birth.
The Unitarian Chapel, which dates back to 1689, attracts many visitors each year with hundreds more expected over the summer months to celebrate the bicentenary. Located on a steep incline and previously accessible only via steps, the new scheme incorporated changes to the adjacent ‘School House’, creating level access to the Chapel for the first time which has made worshipping for the less able far easier.
A mezzanine floor and platform lift have also been installed into the pre-existing committee room of the ‘School House’ and a covered bridge extension added, negating the need for steps up to the Chapel. Enhancements to landscaping include a path linking the Chapel and School House, whilst ledger stones have been levelled to improve access to the grave of Elizabeth Gaskell. Furthermore, an exhibition room has been provided on the mezzanine floor in which displays of memorabilia of the novelist and the Chapel are housed.
Jamie Coath Project Architect said “We were delighted to be involved in a project with such historical importance. Elizabeth Gaskell is widely celebrated in the area and the Brook Street Chapel even features in her famous book, ‘Ruth’. It is fantastic that our improvements have already made this site more accessible to the public and will continue to do so for years to come.”
To commemorate the bicentenary of Elizabeth Gaskell’s birth, events will be going on in the town throughout the year including tours around Knutsford and a celebration at the Chapel on 29th September.