Old St Paul’s church in Wellington is about to reach its 150th anniversary. The church has been a big part of my career for the last few years – I first wrote social history of the church for its Conservation Plan concentrating of the active life of the church, then started an on-going project to blog about the history of the church (see www.osphistory.org.nz), and then carried out a large oral history project, in which I interviewed more than 20 people who had been members of the congregation at the church before it shut its doors for worship 50 years ago.
The process of working on all these different projects has emphasised to me that a building can have a multiple meanings to different people in different periods. It has held such a range of roles in Wellington history over its history, and was used by its congregation and members of the public in such different ways, it makes me think about how difficult it is to ensure that all those layers are preserved, and how tricky it is to decide which layers are more important than others.
Check out my other website for a history of the church www.osphistory.org.nz