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.
The Howe 40/4 chair was chosen by Chester Cathedral for its flexibility, dense stackability, ease of setting out, comfort and for the reliability and reputation of the world leading stacking chair.
Treske designed and installed more than 200 Treske Modern Stacking chairs made out of beech wood to look light and contemporary and fit with their historic surroundings. Treske were commissioned to supply the chairs by the Auditoire's restoration group, comprising members of the three communities who worship in the chapel.
400 Howe 40/4 chairs supplied by Treske are set out regularly for different services and events and often cleared completely from the nave, replacing older inflexible seating.