Articles / Recent projects

Swaffham Methodist Church

Nestled in the heart of the historic Norfolk market town of Swaffham, the beautiful Grade II listed Methodist Church has recently been renovated to offer state-of-the-art resources to people of all ages and interests in a bright and welcoming building. This transformation has been accomplished in part through the collaboration of specialist church supplier Fullers Finer Furniture, working with the building contractor H. Smith and Sons of Honingham.

Walk into Swaffham Methodist Church today and you enter a contemporary and flexible space, exquisitely modernised to blend the best of old and new.

Proprietor Paul Fuller LCGI explained that the church wanted to make better use of the space within the building to allow community events and activities to be held as well as regular Sunday services. Most of the original fixed pews have been removed and replaced with flexible seating to optimise the space available in the church and bespoke cupboards have been fitted to house the stacking chairs when they are not in use.

A number of the original church pews have, however, been carefully restored and retained to form an additional seating area under the balcony. The original wood panelling around the church, cut to fit the original pews, has been replaced with a new frame and panel effect décor to blend with the balcony frontage. New solid oak skirting and painted dado capping give a contemporary feel, whilst reflecting the existing décor of the building.

Further restoration work was carried out to the sanctuary side of the doors and windows into the entrance. The result is a lighter, natural look more akin to the original wood colour. Consideration was given to every detail, down to the making of custom handles, to ensure an exact match to the existing door fittings.

On the East wall of the church, Norfolk artist Eddie Goodridge has created a mural which reflects the church’s history and its connections to the town and wider Norfolk community. Bespoke cupboards below the mural, fitted with a decorative solid oak moulding on the doors, have been built to provide additional storage.

The requirement for total flexibility continues within the sanctuary area with each piece of furniture hand crafted for its own unique purpose and setting, designed to combine beauty and functionality. The communion rails with built in cup holders and kneelers, finished to match the other soft furnishings in the church, are free standing, lightweight and portable. The matching communion table is decorated with hand-carved motifs of bread and grapes and features a beautiful solid oak top with chamfered corners for safety and aesthetic reasons.

Two Fullers lecterns also grace the sanctuary area: the renowned height adjustable, easily manoeuvrable York lectern in a natural oak finish with an LCD monitor, microphone socket and built in retractable tablet lip, and a matching fixed-height lectern made in an attractive light weight three legged design. The York lectern is decorated with the hand-carved symbol of an open book.

Two discreet floor boxes house the connections for these lecterns to the audio and visual system. Each floor box includes a matching set of audio connections for the lectern microphones. HDMI sockets feed the lectern LCD screen and allow a laptop or tablet computer to connect to the system. The free-standing LCD monitor can also be connected to allow musicians and service leaders to see what is being displayed on the main screen.

A high brightness LCD projector, suspended from the ceiling, displays content from the laptop, DVD player or the controllable camera mounted to the rear wall. The electric projection screen automatically deploys when the projector is turned on and, when not in use, retracts inside a pelmet designed and built by Fullers. The front of the pelmet features an inspirational text in wooden lettering.

Beside the pelmet, a hand-crafted cross made in natural oak with black walnut rear crosses sits within a high alcove at the front of the church, highlighted with LED backlighting.

At the rear of the church is a discreet bespoke servery, tailored to suit the needs of the church and fitted with the essentials including an under-counter instant water boiler and stainless steel sink.

Next to the servery, the matching AV cabinet houses all of the audio and visual equipment, within a custom built enclosure. Opening the lockable door and bi-fold lockable lid provides access to the equipment with seating space for an operator.

Fullers have been involved with this project from the design stage, working closely with the client, architect and other specialist providers over a couple of years to enable the history and architecture of the church to combine with their requirement for modern functionality.

The final result is a beautiful early 19th century church sympathetically restored and transformed and ready to take its place in the future of the community it serves.

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