A rather sad and dusty model of Dudley’s St Thomas’ & St Luke’s a.k.a Top Church has arrived in our workshop for a tidy. Always the big question for such projects is how far should such a ‘restoration’ project go? But before we get to the point where work might commence we’ll have a look and see what we can see. The first thing that we notice is that the castellations are modelled from traditional clothes pegs. A few are missing.
Top Church was rebuilt in 1815 at a then cost of £12,650. It gained Grade II* listed in 1949.
Three sides of the tower have clock faces. Interestingly marked Railway Time which was introduced in 1840 by the Great Western Railway At that time, the GWR served Dudley. Railway Time was introduced to standardise time across the nation to better synchronise the rail timetable.
Below the clock the window has an ecclesiastical stamp. We imagine that this was to represent stained glass windows. Recently we’ve met some elderly parishioners who confirm that these stamps were given out at Sunday School to attendees.
As the main roof comes off easily we’ll see what lies beneath.
The floor is covered with a piece of lino and it would be nice if we could assume that this is a spare piece left over from a flooring job in the church. Rolling back the lino reveals details of when it was made and by whom.
The details are that it was made in January 1907. By Harry Barker who was 13 1/2 years old at the time and possibly lived at 57 Church Street, Dudley, Worcestershire.
And it would appear that the main source of building material was packing case material from Fry’s Chocolate.