Anthony makes the clear case for bench pews in churches. The humble bench is experiencing a renaissance as churchmen wake up to the fact that they may have some of the best spaces in Britain hidden beneath their heavy victorian pews. The question is being asked. Why use the leaky old village hall when you could have a splendid 15th century church, often the finest building for miles around, as a community space?
It seems that the static victorian pew may have been instrumental in the inexorable decline in use of church space as communities find their format less and less alluring. Bring in light, portable stacking benches and suddenly church spaces are opened up to reveal splendidly adaptable areas.
Of course when we talk of benches we don’t mean the humble old school bench, splinters included. The modern pew bench is a fine hardwood item designed for grannies and children to be comfortable on and is made to last at least as long as the oppressive pews that they replace. The right benches are timeless by virtue of their quality of manufacture and material of construction; properly designed and made benches seem equally at home in settings as diverse as 15th century cathedrals and modern new-build churches - almost as if they should have always been there.
Full article in ‘Church Building’ magazine