Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Pineapple Church, Rocket City (NZ305384)

© Copyright OliverDixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative CommonsLicence.

This extraordinary sight is the famous ‘Pineapple Church’ of Bowburn, County Durham – complete with its detached ‘Rocket’ spire. The unusual combo – more properly known as Christ the King Church – helped make the former pit village rather well-known during its short lifespan, Bowburn being often referred to as ‘Rocket City’.

The ‘Rocket’ was the first to hit the skyline – in 1963 – being commissioned by Father Bill Armstrong and designed by Harold Wharfe. The planned new church took a good deal longer to build, being capped off with its fruity topping in 1976 and dedicated in 1978. In case you’re wondering, the distinctive dome was made from fibreglass.

However, like much of that which was built in the 1970s, the church proved to be of problematic design and questionable construction. It soon began to demand too much in the way of maintenance, was closed in 2004 and then demolished in 2007. A new, and painfully plain, church was built in 2008.

The crazy spire remained, though … but not for long.  In October 2009, shortly before it was due to be cleaned, a gale brought it to ground. It was hastily carted off to the scrapyard before anyone got the daft idea of re-erecting it.

Would you please consider making a purchase from my e-Books4Charity website. There are currently six publications up for grabs, and the majority of every sale goes to help children's charities.  Maybe you can write a booklet of your own for the website?

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