Hampshire & Isle of Wight

South Wonston tin church rebuilt at Chichester museum

South Wonston tin church
Image caption The church has been rebuilt 40 miles away

A corrugated iron church bought by mail order more than 100 years ago has been rebuilt on a historic buildings site.

St Margaret's, in South Wonston, near Winchester, was bought in 1909 and built as a prefab kit costing £89, 10 shillings (roughly £7,160 today).

The 10m by 5m church, small vestry and porch were dismantled five years ago.

The Duke of Gloucester officially opened the 'tin tabernacle' during a ceremony at Weald and Downland museum, near Chichester.

Original altar

Designed as a short-term solution for the 50-strong congregation, it was used for 87 years. The parishioners moved into a new St Margaret's church in 1996.

In 2006, each section of the church, including its timber-lined interior and original altar, was dismantled, numbered and recorded.

It was then transported 40 miles (64km) to the museum.

After restoration, a specialist team took about three months to put the jigsaw of pieces back together at the museum.

The museum which opened in 1970, houses more than 45 historic building exhibits.

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