Back in Victorian times, wealthy men wore top hats to church and so they needed somewhere to put them upon their arrival. These little lockable cupboards were just such a place.
Situated in the hall building, the wealthy men could store their hats safely before going along the corridor and into the main church building.
As the years have went by, the top hat cupboards got used for storing different things including accounts, hymnal books, church attendance records, etc. but the keys gradually got lost until they no longer locked.
The problem now was getting into the cupboards. Once closed you needed a knife to prise them open – so I decided to take them out.
Once removed, I found an abundance of Church of Scotland related items which had fallen down through the gaps in the cupboards over the decades including church accounts from 1906 and 1909, an attendance certificate from 1924 and various hymnal books and church magazines from the turn of the 20th century (more about this in a later post).
And so builder extraordinaire, Paul Marchetti, was once again called upon to plaster over the brickwork and I set about transforming this area into a white archway seating bench for our weights area.
First of all, undercoating the woodwork and positioning a mirror (well, you can’t have a weights area without a mirror to pose into can you?) 🙂
Then came the painting of the arch in white to help brighten up the hall and painting the wooden seat area purple to provide a link with the colour scheme in the corridor, kitchen and toilets.
Then I cut a training mat up so that it would provide a bit of comfort for those sitting on my new bench – and this would tie in with our matted area.
And finally, I put up some signed boxing gloves that I have (Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Frank Bruno, Marvin Hagler, Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn) along with some framed photos of Muhammad Ali to commemorate “The Greatest” and the significance of the year of his death with the year we finally opened our Scottish Centre for Personal Safety in Ardrossan.