Summary =A sympathetic extension and redecoration to St Catherine's Church, East Tilbury to provide a new kitchen area and toilet facilities. Works also included a new heating installation to both the extension and church, along with a full renovation of flooring, walls and roof to the main church.

Value = £330,000

Location = East Tilbury, Essex

Architect =Inkpen Downie Architecture and Design Ltd

Solution = St Catherine's Church, East Tilbury is an important survival from the 12th century. The site is associated with the first church established by St Cedd.

Works involved an extension and redecoration to St Catherine's Church, East Tilbury. The parishioners were consulted to set out requirements for the building which was to provide some basic amenities such as a kitchen and toilet facilities.

Designed to allow focus to remain on the existing Church building; the extension is a simple free-standing structure with no interference on the existing structure. The external walls are clad in weathered horizontal oak boarding, reminiscent of timber porches commonly found in Essex where stone is a scarce material. The roof is configured to allow the use of pan-tiles without encroaching on existing openings. The foundations are a shallow raft supported on piles, to minimise interference with burials and underlying archaeology.

When the opening to the west door was unblocked to provide access to the new extension, it revealed decayed and missing stonework. This was reinstated and repaired with great attention to detail.

Internally, a new heating system was installed within the extension and church and the floors, walls and roof to main church were all renovated.

The new kitchen and toilet facility, together with a new heating system makes the church more usable as a place of worship.

Works were completed January 2016. The new facilities have enabled the Church to open for teas and homemade cakes from Easter to October on the afternoons of the last Sunday in the month and on Bank holiday Mondays.

This project was recently Highly Commended at the Diocese of Chelmsford, Design Awards 2017 for Development and Restoration.

Photos credited to Inkpen Downie Architecture and Design Ltd