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A Grade I listed church built in 1150 posed a challenge for architects. But a unique pod kitchen had the solution…


A very traditional church in need of restoration, Holy Trinity were keen to make improvements and open up to the local community. A £2 million project was launched, to make the church an active, inclusive space that better suited the needs of the local community. A semi-commercial Steelplan Kitchen, sourced through the architect, was incorporated as a long lasting alternative to a fully-commercial stainless steel kitchen.

“We called it our ‘Opening Doors’ project, and the work was really quite extensive”, says Revd Joanna Abecassis. “We wanted the church to better serve our mission, but also enable us to rent the church out more to raise a bit of income. For that, a kitchen was essential.”


The current church was built in 1150, and is now a Grade I listed building. Even with the ecclesiastical exemptions from listed planning permission, opening up the church and adding modern facilities presented its fair share of complications. “In regards to the kitchen, we couldn’t make it as big as we wanted to,” explains Revd Joanna. “In fact, what we now have isn’t officially a kitchen: it’s a hospitality suite.”

As an alternative to building an extension to house a brand new kitchen, the architect suggested a “pod” housing a hospitality suite; a unit within the main body of the church.

“We had to think carefully about what we really needed from the kitchen,” says Revd Joanna. “Yes, we do a lot of lunches, but would we ever really cook a full roast on site? Once we’d thought about it, we were able to consider the alternative of having a hospitality suite instead of a full kitchen.”

Due to the construction of the unit – particularly the fact that the pod has no ceiling – it wasn’t possible to install an oven. Instead, the unit features a plug-in hob, microwave and warming cupboard, as well as plenty of storage, a wet area and a wall mounted instant water boiler.

“The water boiler is really amazing. Going from using a tea urn to being able to make dozens of cups of tea in an instant has made such a difference. It’s so user-friendly, and much safer.”


Since the kitchen was fitted just before Christmas, the team at the church have been making the most of the new facilities. “We have given it a baptism of fire,” laughs Revd Joanna. “One week after it was fitted, we hosted our Christmas tree festival, then in January we decided to have a traditional Burns Night supper for 90 people. Three courses, including haggis! The food was made off-site and warmed in the unit. It was a huge success.”
Steelplan Kitchens offer a free consultation and design service to help you design your Church’s perfect kitchen. To find out more, call us on 0844 809 9186.

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