You probably weren’t aware of the dungeon at St Mark’s. I wasn’t for quite a while, and, as warden, I’m supposed to know about these things. However, around the “Tesco” side of the building there was a mysterious red door, half hidden by vegetation. It was only about four feet high, so obviously built for goblins or other inhabitants of the netherworld. Or possibly to incarcerate manacled, recalcitrant members of the congregation in less tolerant times.
However, there was a padlock on the door and when we eventually found the key, a rather grim looking cell emerged. A set of rotten wooden steps led down to an earth floor about four feet below ground level, but fortunately no skeletons or rotting corpses manifested themselves. The older members of the congregation informed me that this was the Old Boiler Room. Capital letters were definitely implicit in the phrase. (There could also have been an unspoken, “abandon faith all ye who enter therein”, but maybe that was my imagination.)
We’ve needed a place for the Brown Bin club to store lawn mowers, petrol and other garden implements for some time. Last time we had the diocesan representatives around, they complained about the storage of these items in the choir vestry. We moved them to a vestibule attached to the other vestry after that, but, whilst an improvement, this was hardly satisfactory. The smell of petrol pervading the vestry was regarded as a necessary evil until something better could be done. (Probably kept the moths down.)
So, now something better has been done. We had to remove they chimney from the Old Boiler Room, as it was about to fall down and, anyway, had a nice asbestos cowling. Adam the architect was called in, faculty notices approved and, In January, Marshels began construction to convert the evil pit into a new, useful storeroom.
It’s now finished and I moved things in last week. We have a proper floor at the same level as the surround, a door we don’t have to crawl through and lots of storage space. (They’ve thoughtfully put a hatch in the new floor with steps leading down to the original level, so we could still use it as an oubliette if required in the future.)
I wonder if I’ll get nostalgic about the smell of petrol in the vestry….