Words and images by Marcus Duran, New Unity’s project rapporteur.
The renovation of the Newington Green Meeting House is happening with the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Date: Monday 5th August 2019
After weeks of meticulous steel under-pinning, digging, engineering and manual labour, the shell of the new downstairs meeting room and kitchen space has been created. Until this point, none of the curious shapes and angles that were laid bare by the building works were able to provide an accurate picture of what this space would finally look like.
The room is now wrapped like a present in thick plastic. Beneath the reinforced plastic membranes which seal off the new room lie all the plumbing and piping that will channel water and waste material into and out of the space, respectively. Each filtering channel has a corresponding valve or hatch into the main space that will help facilitate maintenance once the room is finally sealed off.
The next stage of the fit-out will include the laying down of a new floor and the installation of partitions, which will give shape to the various compartments of the room, including the kitchen and toilet.
The staircase that leads to the flat has been successfully reinstated and a new light-well will bring natural daylight into the underground space. In the coming weeks a completely new staircase will be built at the southern end of the room, adjacent to the lift shaft. In addition to the lift, these new steps will become the main way to reach the lower floor.
In the Meeting House, carpenters are gradually replacing the laths (wooden strips) that hold the ceiling in place. This specialist approach is based on the original technique that was used when the building was built.