Ex-shipyard worker takes model approach to recreating Sunderland church

Sunderland Old Parish Church as it is today - as crafted by model-maker Fred Gooch.

Sunderland Old Parish Church as it is today - as crafted by model-maker Fred Gooch.

0
Have your say

A former shipyard worker has taken a model approach to recreating a historic Wearside church.

Pallion man Fred Gooch has crafted ships, planes, pubs and even a nuclear submarine since developing a passion for model-making as a kid.

The graveyard behind Sunderland's Old Parish Church in 1960 - pictured after the gravestones had been removed.

The graveyard behind Sunderland's Old Parish Church in 1960 - pictured after the gravestones had been removed.

But his latest project, Holy Trinity, took him back to the days when Sunderland was booming and a new parish church was a necessity.

“I’m always looking for a challenge, and this certainly provided one,” said Fred. “I had terrible problems with the paint at one point!”

Grade I-listed Holy Trinity was created as the parish church of Sunderland township and consecrated in 1719.

York architect William Etty and first rector David Newcombe are believed to have helped in the design.

Fred's model featuring how Sunderland's Old Parish Church would have originally looked. The adornments on the tower are removable.

Fred's model featuring how Sunderland's Old Parish Church would have originally looked. The adornments on the tower are removable.

“The vestry was the seat of local government until 1835, and its reading room was the first public library in Sunderland,” said Fred.

Holy Trinity underwent many changes over the years, including the addition of a west screen in 1724 and a “nearly circular apse” in 1735.

An upper gallery was built in 1821, and a clock face added to the tower in 1856. But, in 1988, it closed due to a dwindling congregation.

Today Holy Trinity is known as Sunderland’s Old Parish Church, and the building is managed by the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT).

Plans are now underway to bring it back into community use through The Canny Space Project, and Fred’s model is already on display.

“The CCT asked if I would be interested in making a model of the church. I’m always up for a challenge and thought ‘Why not?’ said Fred.

“I used photos, as well as an old etching of the church – which showed an additional cupola, bell tower and mast on top of the tower.

“I’ve made the top of the model removable, so it can be viewed as how Holy Trinity is now – as well as what it was like in the past.”