TUNBRIDGE WELLS, Kent – St Barnabas. 

Memorial Chapel 1924-25

George Fellowes Prynne designed the fittings for the 1925 War Memorial Chapel.  It was among the last works he carried out.  However, Fellowes Prynne’s work was largely obliterated by the Martin Travers reredos of 1948.  This chapel is now the Lady Chapel.

On 22 February 1924 the Kent & Sussex Courier reported that

The arrangements for St. Barnabas’ Parish War Memorial are proceeding apace.  The Memorial will take the form of a Chapel, situated where the ladies’ choir is now accommodated.  The Chapel will include a tablet containing the names of the men in the parish who laid down their lives in the Great War.  The architect is Mr. G. Fellowes Prynne.

The same journal, on 10 October 1924, reported on the Dedication Festival Luncheon, which was attended by, among others, George Fellowes Prynne.

The VICAR proposed the toast of “The Architect” and said that Mr. G. Fellowes Prynne was a man they all knew by name, and that they were greatly honoured by his presence at their festive board.  They could see his excellent work in Churches all over the country.  Mr. Fellowes Prynne was the architect of their new Memorial Chapel, which was by no means complete.  It was his sincere wish to see the porch completed, as the Chapel would not be the same without it.

Mr. G. FELLOWES PRYNNE, in replying, said he came to them practically as a stranger, although not a stranger to their Church.  He knew of the wonderful harmony which existed in their parish.  Architecture was only a means to an end., and it depended a great deal on the work of the architect whether their Church was bright or dull.  He had been into some awfully dull places, and he was sorry to say one of the worst places was in Tunbridge Wells.  Often enough they found a Church which looked beautiful from the outside but was most dull and deadly inside.  Good architecture was a thing which could lift men up, but when it made the Church dull it degraded them.  The spirit of the men who designed the work should be shown in that work.  In so many Churches nowadays they had the example of sterilized Protestantism.  In conclusion, he said that the clergy always had some difficulties to surmount, and gave one or two illustrations.  He hoped that the words “Lord, I love the place where honour dwelleth,” would be more and more in the minds of the people (applause).

The two postcards illustrated (for which grateful thanks are due to Geoff Copus) show the Memorial Chapel as Fellowes Prynne designed it.