Down a narrow country lane just outside the city of Bath, a church erected entirely from corrugated metal rises from the treetops. In peculiar contrast to the Georgian stone cottages that surround, this Victorian tin church is complete with large arched windows and a huge wooden door adorned with ironwork.
It feels like something out of the Secret Garden, as the seemingly abandoned area is overgrown with weeds with planks of unused wood lying about. What is most unusual, however, is that shed-like structure is in fact a grade II listed building, recognized preserved by Historic England.
It is not clear why exactly it was created, or whether this is indeed the only rusting tin church in the country that’s been granted a grade II status. What is known is that this structure is a particularly elaborate example of a “tin tabernacle,” a type of prefabricated religious building made from corrugated iron.
Developed in Britain in the 1800s, tin tabernacles were simple, inexpensive, and could be ordered by catalog and built from a kit. The example in Bath was formerly called the Bailbrook Mission, erected in 1892 for the workers of the local jam orchard. Later, it was used as a private residence, lovingly nicknamed “Our Lady of Crinkly Tins.” It became a listed building in 1992, as one of the few remaining tin tabernacles in Britain today.
Know Before You Go
The tin church can be seen from Bailbrook Lane. Note that it is on private property and the inside is not open to visitors.