St Davids College

Chapel 7

"It’s been a privilege to have been a part of this project”

Published: 12.09.2023 ( 8 months ago )

“Rediscovering” the Chapel couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment in time where the need for getting back into community with each other has become so important

The Chapel was built in the mid-20th Century as an extension for the private use of Lady Augusta Mostyn.

EA Designs was approached by the Estates Team to take this unused and neglected space and transform it back into a Chapel. It was EA Designs’ aim to create a Chapel that offers a place of refuge and reflection, that is welcoming and inclusive, without being too formal. The design intent was to highlight the beautiful architectural features found within and to bring about a space that is uniquely St David’s.

Eunice Aubert, the senior interior designer and creative director at EA Design commented on the project saying: “We wanted to design an interior space that reflected the ethos of St David’s College, which is whole-person education centred on the individual, built on Christian principles, and embedded in a family atmosphere, no other space could reflect this ethos better than the Chapel.”

To achieve this, EA Design wanted to focus on a space that is interchangeable to cater to the needs of teaching, meeting and celebrating what the community at St David’s has achieved, as well as connecting The Chapel to the rest of Gloddaeth Hall aesthetically without looking like a new build.

Everything was carefully considered from the lighting, the furniture and even the flooring. “Not many people like to install traditional carpets in their homes or even their buildings anymore.

“So, the choice of carpet was limited to about 3 different kinds. We settled on a royal blue carpet with a fleur de lis design in a golden yellow.

“These colours represent the St David’s school colours, while the subtle fleur-de-lys design itself, as an emblem of heraldry, connects the heraldry of the Mostyn Family found in the Minstrel Hall and older parts of Gloddeath Hall, with the Chapel.”

As with any renovation project, it’s the hidden features that are uncovered, that can elevate a space to another level. This was indeed the case when Paul Gibson, the Estate Manager at St David’s, and his team, started preparing the walls for restoration, that they discovered a beautiful fireplace which had been hidden behind plasterboard for decades, complete with original Delft tiles!

The annex in the Chapel was formally used as the laundry room and then a kitchen. It was in a state of disrepair, where a part of the floor was missing and some of the glass in the bay window was broken. It had not been used for ages due to the state of the floor, but it was necessary to become a space that was not only functional but would fit in with the rest of the Chapel design aesthetic.

EA Design suggested installing a built-in upholstered bench with extra storage in the seating area, to be used by teaching staff or to hide seat cushions, wires, and the like. A storage cabinet and small kitchenette completed the functionality of the space, not only to be used in a practical way, but also to fulfil a purpose of quiet reflection and an intimate meeting space. However bringing this vision to life had its own particular challenges. “We needed to repair the floor and then cover it with board that was strong enough to protect the wooden floorboards and to hold the new tiled subfloor over that. All this had to be done to preserve the original flooring of the Grade 1 listed building. The Estates team also had to get a specialist lime plasterer to restore the decorative arch to it’s original state,” Eunice explained.

Fitting out the Chapel with meaningful, relevant and useful furniture pieces and objects has been a community project, in that most of the furniture has been sourced from local antique dealers, gifted by a local church that closed down and some objects were handmade by Old Davideans. A silver cross was gifted by Timothy Gibbs, whom some of you may know as the Silversmith which was commissioned to make the beautiful silver finials on the anointment screen for the Kings Coronation in June.

The cross now sits upon the Storage Cabinet in the Annex which you can clearly see from the entrance to the Chapel (once your eyes have come down from the impressive ceiling!) A new wooden cross was made by Owain Lennard, owner of Lennard Wood Creations, a bespoke furniture and joinery design company. Not only is he an Old Davidean, but also the son of a Mr. Keith Lennard, a previous Snowdon House parent, Deputy Head and head of the Craft, Design & Technology Department at St. David’s College (The current Technology Building was named after him to commemorate what he has done for the school and the department.)

“When Mr. Russell approached Owain to ask if EA Design could collaborate on a cross design for the Chapel, he did not hesitate for a moment and immediately got in contact.” recalls Eunice.

She added: “Reinstating the Chapel as a place of meeting; to come together, to learn and to celebrate the faith which the school has built it’s foundations on, has not only enhanced the building that is Gloddaeth Hall, but also St David’s College as a community. It’s been a privilege to have been a part of this project.”

The Chapel could only really have become what it is today thanks to the dedicated staff, exceptional Estates team and various specialist trades and gifted craftsmen. Their belief in restoring this space added to a legacy of people that came before them, who have all contributed to making St David’s College a place of refuge and hope.