St George's Church, West End, Esher. Dedicated 1879. Corrugated iron and wood. Photographs and text by Jacqueline Banerjee, 2011. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL.]
The church was built as a temporary structure on land given to the people of West End village by Queen Victoria, from the royal estate of Claremont. The idea was for the servants of the house and the farm labourers there to have easier access to a place of worship ("The Parish of Esher"). Not as elaborate as the well-known Deepcut Garrison "Tin Church," also in Surrey, St George's is nevertheless an essential part of this perfect village scene, facing the green with its cricket pitch and pond. Such churches were easily assembled, and could be sent to small villages at home or outposts of empire. They do tend to heat up in summer and stay cold in winter, and the rain makes a noise on their roofs, but they have proved remarkably sturdy. As one commentator writes, "Tin Tabernacles are an important if brief and overlooked episode in the history of church architecture," and have a claim to "be recognised as listed buildings, particularly as examples of prefabrication" (Dopson 204-05).
Other Views and Related Material
"The Parish of Esher" (Parish website). Web. 6 March 2011.
Dopson, Laurence. "Tin Tabernacles." Words from "The Countryman". Ed. Valerie Porter. Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 2007. 204-05.
Last modified 6 March 2011