The homely simplicity of many Methodist chapels across the country is often regarded as a reflection of the pared-back Wesleyan message, but even a cursory glance at the UK’s larger Methodist churches reveals an architectural elegance and splendour that celebrates an inspirational vision. The Wesley Methodist Church in the heart of Chester is no exception and has now seen a series of repairs and improvements dating back to 1986.
In 2017 ‘Project Regenerate!’ was implemented to create a sacred space where everyone feels welcome, combining the inspiring architecture of the interior with the flexibility needed for a wide range of worship styles and community activities.
The project included replacing the majority of the darkly varnished pine pews with chairs. As the church is Grade 2 listed, it was an approval condition from the Methodist listed building authority that the new chairs should be of high quality design and construction. The chair selection criteria were: comfort, style, lightness of weight, robustness, ‘stackability’ and affordability.
The Treske lightweight stacking chair design was chosen for the main and supplementary seating, which besides meeting the selection criteria, was complementary to many of the worship area’s architectural features. The final choices of wood colour (natural beech) and seat pad colour was made between the church and their architect, Andrew Flanagan of Donald Insall Associates, and then approved by the Methodist-listed building authority.
Treske supplied 100 chairs with seat pads (14 of these with arms) and 80 supplementary chairs with wooden seats for optimum ‘stackability’, together with 7 wheeled storage trolleys. Treske also designed and made a new communion table, lectern and suspended cross to complement the reordering.