Purcell and the Church of Our Lady and St Thomas of Canterbury

The Parish Church of Our Lady and St Thomas of Canterbury in Wymondham was completed in 1952, since when it has become an important focal point for the community. As well as celebrating mass, the church is a base for a number of other activities, including Helping Hands and the Catholic Women’s League, who provide support to the elderly and vulnerable; housing the Far East Prisoners of War shrine; and providing a home for a pre-school nursery and various keep fit classes.

Purcell works as part of a family of experts including architects, designers, heritage leaders and specialist consultants. Projects often involve sensitive sites, listed buildings and admired places. Reynolds Jury recently merged with Purcell in Norwich, complementing the firm’s strong focus on conservation.

Project summary – In order to improve the provision for both parishioners and the wider community, the church was keen to review and improve the acoustic performance and interior décor of the parish hall. A particular focus was to improve the acoustics and lighting as they were inadequate, in particular for groups meeting. Improving them would also mean that music and drama groups could begin to use the space to rehearse or perform, as well as making the space more welcoming.

Paul Harris from Purcell acted as a sounding board, in particular for a discussion about the style and placement of acoustic panels. He provided reassurance as the team looked to complete the project from planning to completion in eight weeks, resulting in an early finish that came in under budget.

Impact – The project delivered

  • Very positive feedback from parishioners, pre-school organisers and community groups who use the space
  • The hall seems bigger than before and is a clean and energising place to be
  • The acoustic panels dampen the sound and make the space more user-friendly – large and small groups can meet and make themselves heard

“Paul Harris allowed us to see the project in a completely fresh way and gave us the confidence to transform our much loved and drab hall into a clean and vibrant space. We would like to thank ProHelp for the very valuable service they provide.”                           Arnie McConnell, Treasurer

“Purcell (at that time Reynolds Jury Architecture) were pleased to assist the Representatives of Our Lady and St. Thomas of Canterbury Church Hall to explore ways of upgrading the facility that they offer to community groups in Wymondham without losing the use of the facility for an unnecessarily lengthy period. ” Janet Jury, Architect Managing Partner