Ivor Chapel


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When Ivor Chapel was consecrated in 1860, the charming classically inspired building was in marked contrast to the sombre terraced housing “collar block” behind the stables in which it nestled. The original terraces have disappeared; replaced with more modern suburban style houses but Ivor Chapel still remains open for worship today.

Along with the public house, Chapels formed a prominent part of life of during the urbanisation of Merthyr from the 18th to the 19th century. Dispensing with the more ritualistic worship of the Anglican church, non-conformist chapels at their apogee were places of theatre, centred around the sermon. In Ivor Chapel, the architectural space and form reflect this in the square plan with a three sided gallery focussing the congregation towards the preacher in his pulpit.

Ivor Chapel presents a friendly painted stucco face to the street, set back to provide a front court for the chapel goers to congregate. Symmetrically arranged in three bays with a moulded cornice at ground floor, decorative frieze and console brackets along with ionic pilasters supporting the pediment gable above, it reminds me of a delicious wedding cake. Further delight is added in the moulded surrounds to the windows; square headed to the ground and arched to the upper galleried floor. The central bay and axial importance of the pulpit is emphasised through the recessed arched entrance, complete with flanking ionic half columns and the triple window above.