Tony Monk, of the architects Hutcheson, Locke and Monk, was appointed to draw up plans for the new building at All Saints. The specification was for a multi-purpose building that could seat 150 people, but could also be partitioned to allow other activities like meetings and play groups. The new building was to contain a kitchen and toilets. The Morris stained glass windows were to be incorporated in to the new building in display cases (backlit by neon lamps), and the old bell would be reinstalled in the bell tower which was to dominate the entrance. Plans for the new church were presented to Windsor Council for approval in April 1971.
The entrance to the church in the 1970s
Spot the differences with the picture below taken in 2004.
The cost of the new building was £35,000. Grants were obtained from the Church Commissioners and the Oxford Diocese. All Saints used £5,000 from Church funds and this left £6,000 to raise. In July 1971 the Parochial Church Council (PCC) organised a Summer Fete which raised £272 towards the building fund. Work started on the rebuilding late in 1971.
Two of the Morris windows, which together depicted the Annunciation, could not be incorporated into the new building and so the PCC sought to place these windows elsewhere. One scheme involved selling these windows to our ‘sister’ church at St James in Woodley, Reading for £100. (At that time St James was an almost identical building to the proposed All Saints in Dedworth.)
However the Victorian Society and others in Windsor stopped the move. So for the next 10 years these windows were stored at the Worshipful Company of Glaziers in Aylesbury in a state of disrepair. In 1982 they were restored and loaned to the Royal Holloway College in Egham, for a Victorian exhibition, where they remained afterwards. In 1996 these windows were displayed at the Morris centenary exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum and several offers were made to purchase them (which we refused). Subsequently they went back into storage in Egham, until finally these windows were reinstalled in the Church in 2000.
Work was nearly complete on the new building when the foundation stone was laid and blessed in November 1972. – This can be seen in the church vestibule. Work was completed, and the first service in the new building took place on Sunday 28th January 1973. On Saturday 9th June 1973 the Bishop of Reading came to conduct the service to dedicate the new Church.
Changes to the Church building since 1970s
In the 1970s the large Elm trees that encircled the church suffered Dutch Elm disease and had to be cut down. Baby Elm trees still grow around the grounds but they die off after 5 or so years growth – the Dutch Elm disease is still present in them.
In 1980 the church was extended to add the Unity Room, kitchen and toilets at the Church Terrace side of the building at a cost of £25,000.
In June 1980 the Bishop of Reading, Eric Wild, came to bless the new rooms.
On the right is the Parish priest John Stone.
On the left is Bob Woodcock who faithfully served at All Saints for more than 50 years. Margaret Hunt, who was churchwarden at the time, is at the back on the right.
Many strangers had said that they did not recognise the building as a Church and so the PCC decided to replace the original church bell in the tower with a metal cross. (The bell is now in the vestibule and rung on ceremonial occasions). The cross was designed and built by 6th form members of the Princess Margaret Royal Free (PMRF) School as part of their A-level Engineering course work. The cross was installed in early 1985 on a cold day with snow flurries!
In 1988, as the church continued to expand, it was decided to demolish a garage and store room which were part of the 1972 church buildings and replace them with the Link Room. The Link Room was finished in November 1989 at a cost of £45,000 which was partly supported by a legacy from the late Doris Turner. Doris had been a regular member of the congregation in the 1950s and 60s before she retired to the South Coast.
By 1998 there were two major problems with the building.
- Firstly, the flat roof over the main Church hall had passed its useful life time – it was frequently leaking and in need of an expensive repair. It is believed that in 1972 the Bishop had said that the new building would only have a 20 year life. So the roof lasting 26 years was a good testament to the Churchwardens who had patched the roof many times!
- Secondly, the usage of the church building had grown and it needed to expand to enlarge the capacity the main church hall, provide a welcoming entrance vestibule and improve the kitchen and toilet facilities.
Over the next two years plans were developed for extending the church and replacing the flat roof with a longer-life sloping one. One additional part of the plan was to move all the Morris windows so that they would be lit by daylight and to create a location to reinstall the Annunciation windows after more than 30 years of being in storage.
The Church was closed at the beginning of November 1999 to enable the building works to progress at full speed. Whilst the building work took place All Saints’ services moved to the nearby Baptist and Catholic churches. By the end of February 2000 the work was complete and the re-roofed and extended Church was in full operation in March 2000. On 23rd October 2000 the Bishop of Reading (Bishop Dominic) came to bless and dedicate the new building.
The cost of these building works came to about £250,000 and this sum was raised by the congregation through generous donations, fundraising and Grants from many external bodies – to whom we are most grateful.
Can you spot the differences with the 1970s picture above?
- The bell which was hanging in the tower is replaced by the cross
- The elm trees were cut down
- The wall was lowered and the front grounds opened up
- The old war memorial had been damaged in a car chase and moved to be incorporated within the Memorial Garden
- The flat roof was replaced
- The front of the church was extended forward to form the new vestibule and house some of the stained glass