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Tin Tabernacle, Puttenham

Corrugated Iron was developed in the early 19th C and the process of coating the iron sheeting with zinc (a process known as galvanizing) was patented in 1837.

The zinc coating greatly increased the life of corrugated iron sheets. As the material was light, strong and easy to cut into sheet, a number of companies saw an opportunity to use it in the construction of ‘flat-pack’ or ‘off-the-shelf’ prefabricated buildings.

By the late 19th century a number of manufacturers offered mass-produced corrugated iron buildings in kit form. Churches, chapels and school houses could be bought from a catalogue. A kit would comprise of a prefabricated timber frame, later erected on a brick foundation. The roof and walls were then clad on the outside with corrugated sheets and on the inside with good quality tongue and groove boarding, usually with a sheet of felt between the wood and iron.

Here’s a rather wonderful example of one such prefabricated kit, found in Hertfordshire.

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The original Iron Room at Tring Station, shown here, was replaced in 1902 by a new building. It was given to local people by J. G. Williams, owner of the nearby Pendley Estate.

 

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In 1917, Tring Station’s original tin tabernacle was removed to the village of Puttenham, Hertfordshire where it still exists clad in its corrugated iron splendour. Though with a much less elaborate support at its gable-end.

 

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This side-elevation gives a good idea of the design.

 

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Rear elevation.

 

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Chimney breast, iron cladding and wooden window frames united under the green paintwork.

 

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The rather lovely brick chimney.

 

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Turn of the century photo showing the opening day of the second Iron Room at Tring.

 

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Whilst the framework of the second Iron Room, the chimney breast, doors and window frames still remain; in recent years the corrugated iron skin has been removed, and replaced by timber cladding.

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