At the sign of the Barking lion...

Holly Lodge Baptist Church, Ipswich

At the sign of the Barking lion... - a journey through the churches of Suffolk




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Ipswich Holly Lodge: an adornment

There is something very jolly about corrugated iron churches, especially when they are brightly painted and clearly loved by the community that uses them. They were very popular as a means of providing new churches for expanding populations in the last years of the 19th century and the early years of the next. Relatively cheap and easy to assemble (typically costing about a hundred pounds) they were churned out in large numbers by many firms, including Boulton and Paul in Norwich.

Popularly known as Tin Tabernacles, about half a dozen survive in East Anglia. Easy to assemble, they were easy to demolish as well, and only two are still in use in Suffolk, both in urban settings, the other one being the former Railway Mission church in Bury St Edmunds.

Holly Lodge Baptist Church sits in the narrow terraces of Bramford Lane, and you wouldn't even know it was there unless you looked for it. Less ambitious than some, it has no bell turret or spirelet, but the frontage is pleasingly gothic, and that bright red paint makes the church an adornment to the street.

Postscript: sadly, this building has now been demolished.

Simon Knott, 2007


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