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Steve Thornhill 2.jpg

The gallery is supported on cast-iron columns, which in 1775 was cutting edge technology.  The earliest recorded use of cast-iron columns was by Sir Christopher Wren at the Houses of Parliament in 1692, but the material was treated with scepticism until Iron Bridge at Coalbrookdale built in 1777, but not opened until 1781, several years after Christ Church was completed.


Christ Church is considered a highly significant surviving early example of such use of cast iron within a religious building.  Cast-iron columns eventually replaced earlier brick or stone piers which obscured visibility and interfered with sound.  The columns would have appeared plain and utilitarian, much like other aspects of the interior of the church with its focus on the preacher.


The columns were covered over with decorative timber boxing, presumably around 1888 when other re-configurations were taking place.  The deep red paint of the gallery front is recorded in Faculty records at the County Records office in Chester as being the original hue dating at this time.  The original finish cannot be verified but would have likely matched the box pews.   


The box pews at gallery level were designed to seat the poor and tier down from the access way behind, with those in the far west corners rising up further.  Many are still marked ‘Free Seats’ to denote their use by the poor and uneducated classes whose entry was segregated from the wealthier patrons below via the three stairwells.


The two large stone tablets on the walls at gallery level are inscribed with the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed.  These would have meant little to the illiterate poor at the time and were in fact relocated in 1888 from the north and south walls of the chancel, facing inwards towards the altar.

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