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MAINDEE NEW CHURCH.

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rThe correspondence published in this column must not he ahvays considered necessarily in conformity with the prin- ciples or opinions of the journal.] MAINDEE NEW CHURCH. [TO THE EDITOR OF THE MERLIN AXD SILURIAN.] SIR,—As I find that the somewhat curious proceed- ings in connection with the competition designs f;r the Maiudee Church, have been the cause of a good deal of conversation, and as it may be probable that to those unacquainted with the circumstances, and yet taking an interest in the matter, some explanation may be accept- able-I beg to borrow the columns of the MKKLIN for that purpose. I also think that some explanation is desiiablc in justice to my professional character which might p ssibly suffer under the imputation of having my designs unanimously approved by one committee, and unceremoniously rejected by another eommittee, made up of nearly the same members. At a meeting of the committee, held on the 23rd Oct., the designs of Messrs Prichard and Seddon and myself for the proposed church, were submitted :o the committee, and the result of their careful consideration of the designs, and also of the proposed site, was a resolution of the committee, with only one dissentient, Mr. Llew- ellin, (who, however, did not record his vote) in favour of my designs, subject to a complimentary reference to Mr. Logan, who was the largest contributor to the funds. As Mr. Logan was duly summoned to the meeting, no idea was ever entertained of any objection being made on his part to this result, (a full report of the meeting was duly inserted in the Msin.iN, evidently by some gentleman who was present), and I duly received the congiatulations of my friends on the '■ happy occasion," without a thought of being "jilted." But I reckoned, unfortunately, without my host, or rather without Messrs. Rennie and Logan, for it seems that thest gentlemen had expressed a very slight pre- dilection for the designs of my competitors, and having so expressed themselves, Mr. Logan did not scruple to set aside the decision made by eleven out of twelve of the committee. I was, therefore, not a little surprised by .Mr. Llewellin, who, instead of the secretary of the committee, seemed to consider himself as secretary for Messrs. Rennie and Logan, coolly telling me one fine morning, that those gentlemen and himself had resolved to submit the designs to Mr. G. G. Scott, a well-known architect, for report and decision. No new meeting of the committee having taken place, and no authority having been given to the secretary, I must say that I considered it rather a misuse of the privilege accorded, but of course it was not for me to object to my designs being shown to any qualified architect, although Mr. Scott was not exactly the architect I should have selected to decide in a eompedtioa between myself and Messrs. Prichard and Seddon and I could not help thinking, as I now do, that it was only a manoeuvre to get rid of my designs in favour of my competitors, and one to which, had "1\1r. Scott beign cognizant, he would not have lent himself. I will now deal with the objections brought forward by Mr. Llewellin and Messrs. Rennie and Logan to my designs, and which served as reasons (?) for deliberately acting in such a manner towards a body of gentlemen, many of whom are persons of taste-and judgment, and far betier competent to form an opinion on archi- tectural matters than themselves. The first objection made was to the accommodation, Messrs. Prichard and Seddon having stated that their church would have sittings for 500 on the ground floor. This was fairly met at the first committee meeting by a gentlemen present, who measur ed the area of both plans, and found that my area was within a trifle of that of my competitors, although my accommodation was but for 430, exclusive of children. Either Messrs. Prichard and Seddon must have overrated the accommodation of their plans, or not have allowed the same sitting room as myself, or such a difference of course could not have arisen. The second objection made was to the ornamental and expensive character of my roof over that of my competitors. This was a fallacy which any carpenter could have corrected. My roof was in one span, and that of Messrs. Prichard and Seddon in two spans, and every builder knows that the first, although of larger span, is always far cheaper. I have calculated the value of the ornamental work-the whole of which I undertake to say would not cost £ 35, and that sum would be very much more than saved by the cheaper construction. The third objection was, that Messrs. Prichard and Seddon had provided for future extension of the church, whilst I had proviaed none. This objection could only have been made by a person who had not properly studied the subject. Maindee is a peculiar and compact district to the northward and to the north eastward lie the districts of Caerleon and Christchurch, each well supplied with chnrcli accommodation to the eastward F lie the park-like estates of Messrs. Rennie and Logan, who I presume, have no intention of making building land of their properties. The only extension that can possibly take place will be to the westward towards Newport, in which there is likewise plenty of church accommodation, or southward towards the Lsk. this last is therefore the only extension to be considered and I would remark that if at some future period a railway should be carried along the east side of the Usk, and a large population arise opposite the Newport docks, this would be an excellent reason for building a new caurcli there, but not for enlarging Maindee chuicu and I think it would be far better to leave that to be settled between the great grandsons of Messrs. Rennie and Logan and those of Messrs. Prichard and Seddon, and not to leave the Maindee church a one-sided aíLlÍr in the meanwhile, to supply a contingency very remote and very improbable. I well considered the circum- ) stances in my design, and decided that with reference to the proposed site, a village church, with nave and transepts, would be far preferable in picturesque ap- pearance, design, and architectural construction, to any elaboration of nave and aisles and this opinion I hold still. I would also remark that 430 adults, exclusive of children, as provided in my design, would supply the wants of a district like Maindee for the next century the more so as it would be difficult to reckon 70 members of the church now resident in the district. I also have heard of other small objections made to my designs but as they are simply the results of a de- termination to find fault, if possible, I do nit think it necessary to take notice of them, as the architectural beauty of my designs has been all through admitted as superior to that of my competitors. I likewise do not think it necessary to defend them, as on that ground they have not been attacked. After a delay of two nunths a meeting was held on December lOëh, at which Mr. Logan brought forward the report of Mr. Sco't on the plans forwarded to him- and read the report to the committee, who had never asked for it, so far as I can understand, for the secretary has, against all rule and precedent, denied me copies of any documents. Mr. Scott's report amounted to this That as to the architectural fitness or taste of the designs submitted to him, he considered that either of them was well worthy of adoption; that as to the re- sp ctive estimates, he did not consider himself compe- tent to form an opinion, as he was entirely unacquainted with the local peculiarities, and he also considered that every architect should be responsible for his estimate; but so far as he could judge, the cost of each design would be about equal. In conclusion, he stated himself as rather preferring the design of Messrs. Prichard and Seddon for its architectural simplicity" This decision of Mr. Scott's was therefore given on none of the issues raised by the objectors to my de- sign, and, I would respectfully submit, amounted to nothing at all, except as a sufficient handle to Mr. Logan to require the committee to stultify themselves and re- verse their former decision, and accept the designs of my competitor. I feel at a loss to understand in what the architectural simplicity" of the accepted designs can consist: not in plan, fur my ground plan, as a cross church, must be the simpler of the two, and I will let the elevations speak for themselves. I would now remark that whilst every vote at this seeond meeting taken against me was recorded-of those members of the committee who were unavoidably absent no notice was taken, although their votes, recorded in my favour at the former meeting, were undoubtedly due, and would have added to the number of the three gentle- men who refused to submit to such all extraordinary dictation. I must conclude by saying that I have bc]n engaged in many competitions—some I have won, some I have lost, and I have never expressed an undue feeling at the result; but in the case of the Maindee church, I cannot but feel that injustice has been done me, and that although my designs on their own merits are unani- mously preferred, they have been rejected entirely through overbearing influence on the part of one of the contributors, and weakness of the majority of the committee. As a parishioner I felt great interest in the proposed church, and I cannot but feel the decision so given the more. As an architect, I am the last who wuuld refuse due consideration to the moneyed portion of the commonwealth but I must say that pecuniary pressure has been used in this instance without much regard to justice or good taste and so I leave the Maindee Church. I remain, Sir, your obedient servant, R. G. THOMAS.

....„,... THE WELSH PRESS.

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CATHOLIC ASSOCIATION POR THE…

TOWX-HALL, NEWPO ilT.—FRIDAY.

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