Wanganui Collegiate Chapel opened in 1912 with a single nave and plain internal brick walls. A pupil from that time would hardly recognise it today. Over time, it has had wooden wall panelling and stained glass windows added and in the mid-1980s it was strengthened and two side aisles were added. There are also plenty of memorials to former pupils. However, the gothic revival style has been retained and the original side windows reused in the aisle walls.

The original architect was William Gray Young, who was a well-known Wellington architect. Some of his buildings include the Wellington Railway Station, Truby King House in Melrose, and the Wellesley Club. The 1980s architect was Collegiate Old Boy Bruce Dickson, who spoke to us. In 1988 the project was awarded a prize by the NZ Institute of Architects for outstanding heritage design.

As well as seeing the chapel, Friends also saw the Big School, dating from 1911, and the Museum and Archives centre. Richard Bourne, Chair of the school’s museum trust, was very informative about the history of the school and its buildings.

Vivienne Morrell
Friends Member