Paul White, director of the redevelopment of St Luke’s Church – the former Three Counties Asylum chapel – into four luxury homes, shares with us a little of what has been going on over the last month in the renovation and conversion of this listed Victorian building.

The last month or so has been full of ‘positives’ … sadly more than half of our small team has now tested positive for Covid at various times, throwing the whole schedule off at what is already a difficult time of year with material supplies. However, with the final layouts approved and the internal walls largely complete, the fit out can now forge ahead.

The sand blasting is finished and the doors look wonderfully fresh – and in paying attention to them we have noticed quite a lot of quirks. There are doors that match and doors that don’t, doors on the inside that look like they were once on the outside, doors on the outside with the weatherproof side facing inwards… not to mention similar inconsistencies with some of the windows.

Further mysteries have been revealed in the process of creating new doors. When we knocked through between the main building and the tower at first floor level we found that the walls were a full metre thick (see above bottom centre), but when we broke through at the east end of the building some time later expecting the same, we found that, at that point, they were significantly less thick (see above right). Both doorways are in what looks like the main building – not the porch or the tower, which are obvious candidates for later additions. This all points to alterations over time, but even with that in mind it’s difficult to decipher what was built first and what came later.

New windows have revealed surprises of a different kind: the roof lights on the south side, which were installed just to brighten up the space, also give a fantastic view over the towers of Fairfield Hall (see above left). This view can also be glimpsed through the stained windows now that the floor level allows you to get close enough (see above top centre). The scaffold has now been transferred to the north side of the building for roof repairs, and we’re looking forward to throwing new light on that side too when the roof lights are fitted in early February.