25 October 2011

Old St Paul's: magnificent

We were in the city on a weekend stroll when I realized we were very near Old St Paul's so we decided to make an unscheduled stop.  I've heard a lot about this Church and it was a good time as any to pay a visit.

Outside, the Church looks like one of the many such establishments in the area.  But inside, it's a different view altogether.  It is very beautiful, a fine piece of architecture which, as described in the Old St Paul's website, is of the Gothic Revival:
Old St Paul's is a fine example of 19th century Gothic Revival architecture adapted to colonial conditions and materials. Designed by the Reverend Frederick Thatcher, then vicar of St Paul's parish Thorndon, the first Anglican cathedral of Wellington is considered his best work. Constructed entirely from native timbers, the glowing interior is enhanced by stunning stained glass windows. Memorial items and displays tell the early history of Wellington.
While it is no longer a Parish Church, it is still consecrated.  And although it is Anglican in origin, the Church has become a non-denominational venue for weddings, baptisms, and other services.

When we stepped into the Church, we were warmly greeted by the Tour Host.  It has become my 'custom' to wear something appropriate for Church (i.e. no jeans or tees) but this was an unexpected visit so we were wearing casual clothing so I felt a bit awkward being there.  But the host was very gracious and he made us feel welcome. He said we can stay for as long as we like.  And when he saw us having a look around, not quite sure what to see first, he came over and gave us an entertaining backgrounder on the Church (it was very interesting to note the walking stick holders by the pews and the history of Old St Paul's, which was constructed in 1866!  The stained glass windows were amazing.).

The place is simply amazing, but more impressive still is the host who obviously loves being there and helping out strangers like ourselves have a feel of the place and make the place come alive.

Old St Paul's is an amazing and interesting place to visit.  Include it in your itinerary of must-visit places in Wellington.

Old St Paul's is open daily 9:30am–5pm, closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day and for short periods during private functions.  The map is provided below for your convenience.  From the Wellington Station at Lambton Quay, it is a leisurely two-blocks' walk away.

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