The architecture of the nonconformist churches during the Victorian and Edwardian years.
This thesis is concerned with the architecture of the Nonconformist
churches, particularly from the 1830s to the First World War. Nonconformist
in this context is taken to refer to Protestant Nonconformity, as
described in the first part of chapter one. It specifically excludes
the Roman Catholic and Catholic Apostolic churches. The thesis is confined
to England and Wales since the idea of Nonconformity is less appropriate
to Scotland, where the established church was Presbyterian.
The aim is to provide a fuller picture of Nonconformist church architecture
from the Victorian and Edwardian periods than has previously been available.
In an attempt to avoid too partial a view, information has been gathered
from many kinds of sources - denominational, architectural and topographical.
The most convenient sources are the architectural magazines and
denominational year books of the period, which are rich in information
that could only be recovered with difficulty from other sources. Almost
inevitably, however, these national publications emphasise the larger
and more competently designed chapels at the expense of humbler buildings.
To compensate for this, case studies have been undertaken in North
Norfolk and Derby. Such systematic surveys of particular areas not
only enable one to appreciate the range of competence in Nonconformist
architecture, but also help to counteract the national publications'
uneven coverage of chapel-building during the first part of Victoria's
The case studies are presented in the first two appendices and are
referred to in a nuirber of places in the main text. One note of warning is contained in the case studies. They reveal that very few early
Victorian chapels survived to the end of the century without changes
to their internal arrangements. Since most photographs of chapel
interiors date from the late nineteenth century or after, it is often
difficult to ýive an accurate picture of the seating or other fittings
in early Victorian chapels. Wherever possible in this work, therefore,
illustrations of chapel interiors are contemporary with the building.