Unitarian Chapel


Giclee printed on 305gsm off white coloured archival paper with a subtle texture. A4 297mm x 210mm, A5 148 x 210mm.

SKU: UC Category:


Tucked away in a quiet mid 19th century residential street lies this quirky little chapel building. Reminiscent of Dowlais Library and the old town hall, I have always liked the way this building interacts with the street. Whereas most Chapel architecture is normally “flat fronted” this is given a more three dimensional treatment through the use of a colonnaded porch at entry level, brick and stone banding and a gabled facade above setback from the street, punctuated by a large five light traceried window flanked by stepped buttresses. The five bay porch is richly decorated with cavetto moulded segmental arches on polygonal shaped pilasters and topped by a crenelated parapet. Serving as a transitional space between the external and internal, the porch also mediates between the two different levels of the building. Steps behind the outer bays lead up to the chapel space proper, while a gently curving wall and steps within the centre three bays almost seems welcoming in the descent to the schoolroom below.

The foundation stone bears the date of 1901 and the architect is E A Johnston. Chronologically the chapel is placed after his work on the high Gothic St Johns Church (1893-4 phase) together with the more exuberant Townhall (1896) but just prior to the Dowlais Library (1903 – 1907). It is a happy synthesis of the Gothic with a the vegetal motifs of Art Nouveau as seen in the sinuous tracery of the main window and the floral mouldings throughout.