EMJ Architects were appointed to assist with the St John’s Church renovation project in Bath, Somerset. Despite the predominance of Georgian architecture Bath’s Victorian buildings make a valuable and unique contribution to its townscape. Built in 1863 St Johns is one of the most significant and admirably demonstrates how a roof can be such a delightful feature contrasting with the more familiar Georgian approach of concealing most of the roof slope behind parapets.
St John’s Church suffered a direct hit during the World War 2 bombing blitz. This took off most of the massive roof and damaged much of the stonework. With the support of generous grants from Bath & NE Somerset Council and English Heritage we were able to reinstate the damaged stonework and the contrasting bands of grey and purple slates – a typical Victorian decorative feature that had been lost from the roofscape of Bath since the 1940’s.
The slates were obtained from the same Welsh quarry as had been used by the Church’s original architect, Charles Francis Hansom (a cousin of the inventor of the famous Hansom carriage).
The tall cross and 8 metre length of cast iron cresting over the chancel had also been destroyed in the blitz; whilst there were no reliable detailed records we were able to design a suitable replacement in consultation with the City’s Department of Built Heritage.
The scheme received an award for Environmental Design from the Bath Conservation Area Advisory Team.