The church organ. Photograph by Murray Thompson
Looking eastwards down the church aisle. Photograph by Chris Rowlands
St Paul's, Mill Hill is a Grade II listed building some 10 miles from central London in the West Barnet Deanery. Completed in 1833 having been commissioned by the great statesman William Wilberforce, it contains a fine east window by Charles Muss, a copy of a painting in the National Gallery (The Dead Christ Mourned) by Annibale Caracci. The building fabric suffered chronic problems with damp, stone decay and serious structural defects. The first phase of the project dealt with the defects, using best practice conservation techniques. This allowed phase two to move forward, which saw the church transformed into a modern, yet historically sympathetic, gathering place.
Transforming The Church
The second phase of work saw the construction of a new reception area and conversion of the undercroft into the Wilberforce Crypt, providing the building with proper amenities, and step-free access for the first time. The project increased capacity for the growing congregation, created a more flexible church interior to meet the needs of today's worship, provided kitchen, hall space and chapel in the crypt, and built a new entrance area on the north side of the church.
Lighting is in keeping with the plain elegant interior of the church. Energy-efficient CDM lamps in fittings recessed into the vaulted ceiling are used to provide suitable lux levels for the congregation. Lamps can be changed from above the ceiling, meaning that scaffold towers are not needed. Alternate rows throw light onto the walls to highlight the regular window arrangement along the length of the aisle. Accent lighting on the altar and raised stage is provided by dimmable spotlights for atmospheric occasions.
Underfloor heating is used to maintain the clean lines of the spaces. Radiators are used to top up the heating and for individual small rooms.