Arts & Civic

Stanley Spencer Gallery

Cookham, Berkshire

The Stanley Spencer Gallery is located in King’s Hall in Cookham, Berkshire. This former Methodist chapel is where Stanley Spencer worshipped as a child, and since 1962 it has been leased to the Stanley Spencer Gallery for the display of Spencer’s works. The Gallery lies at an important position at the entrance to the village of Cookham, and the long northern façade marks the entrance to the High Street, while the rear elevation can be seen from a distance when approaching Cookham from Maidenhead. Although a small building, it is highly visible and well-located, and is a pleasant walk across meadows, from the railway station.

The scheme re-establishes the architectural elements that signify the building’s original use. The chapel windows have been unblocked and revealed again into the main chapel, and the roof trusses have been stripped back and restored. A mezzanine floor has been constructed at the west end of the gallery, providing both additional floor and wall space, and an important area for study. The mezzanine is fully accessible being served by a simple platform lift, which is also used for moving paintings from the ground floor display area to the new painting storage area on the mezzanine. A glass balustrade forms a transparent edge towards the open ground floor plan, and allows the public to view Spencer’s important but unfinished work, “Christ preaching at Cookham”, from above, as well as ground level.