Special places archive
Tin tabernacles and other buildings
Alasdair Ogilvie’s delightful photo essay for Pentagram Papers shows an aspect of corrugated iron prefabricated buildings that is new to me—the use of these buildings at home.
In Britain, between the 1860s and the Great War, the country underwent extensive increases in the production of coal, iron and lead, triggering large population movements into previously isolated and rural areas, such as South Wales and County Durham.
With no existing infrastructures, these newly created communities had an urgent need for churches, chapels and schools. Corrugated iron buildings fulfilled this demand. The quantity of “Tin Tabernacles” built also reflects the missionary efforts of the Anglican Church, at the time in competition with the Nonconformist movements—Methodist, Wesleyan and other dissenters.
The photographer also has a website, where you can browse, search and buy photographs. It makes a change to see corrugated iron buildings in English light and under English skies.