In 1748 on the original Kingswood School site a pulpit was built into the chapel for John Wesley. This became known as Wesley’s Chapel and Wesley’s Pulpit. When Kingswood moved to Bath in 1851 the pulpit was left in Bristol and in 1919 Wesley’s Chapel was demolished. Someone had the idea to preserve his original Pulpit, although we’re not sure who, and present it to the then well established Kingswood in Bath. There are records to show that in 1938 it was being stored in the school tower and was too dilapidated for reconstruction. It remained there until the 1960s and was then moved to the basement of Summerhill. In 1983 the Headmaster, Laurie Campbell, retrieved it and began to plan for its rebuild.
John Allison, then Head of Design and Technology at Kingswood, worked with drawings of the original to rebuild the Pulpit into the balcony of the Dining Hall, looking to preserve as much of the original construction as possible. The accompanying photos show how Wesley’s Pulpit looks today, as rebuilt by John Alison in 1983. John Allison also made a model of the Pulpit from card, which was recently rediscovered. The images show the damaged model with broken sections and water damage. The Kingswood Archivist, Zoë Parsons, approached the DT Kingswood Repair Shop to see if it could be brought back to life. Mr Castrique asked Adam Reilly, a Year 10 student, to take a look as his skills as both an Art and a DT scholar could come in helpful in this restoration.
Adam began by photographing the Pulpit in the Dining Hall and then worked over the February half term break repairing intricate details of the model, stripping back old paint work and meticulously hand painting, masking off and airbrushing new paint onto the model. I’m sure you will agree with me that Adam has done an outstanding job of restoring this piece. The model will now go on display in the Museum at the New Room in Bristol, the oldest Methodist building in the world at 1739, which tells the story of John Wesley’s life. Huge congratulations and thanks to Adam for all of his hard work which has enabled this model to be appreciated by so many people in the future.
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