Ten-tonne altar arrives at Portsmouth church

    23 June 2010

    A NEW stone altar weighing more than 10 tonnes has been delivered to a church as part of its re-ordering.

    The altar is carefully lifted off the lorry

    It is then pushed through the new entrance into the church

    Stonemason Elliott Brotherton with the altar in Church of the Holy Spirit, Southsea

    It arrived at Church of the Holy Spirit in Fawcett Road, Southsea, as part of the £750,000 re-development that will transform its interior.

    The altar, which is made of Portuguese stone, is one of a series of items carved for the church by stonemason Elliott Brotherton. It took him six months to complete the altar, font, lectern and ambo.

    “The altar is the largest single block of stone that I think I’ll ever work on,” he said. “I had to carve it outside, so I had to wait for decent weather.

    “It’s actually quite hard to carve this stone so that it looks rough-hewn. But it was a fantastic opportunity to work on a project like this.”

    Two lorries delivered all the stone items to the church, and workmen used cranes and pulleys to get them inside the building. The altar and font will be mounted on flooring made of similar stone.

    Meanwhile the rest of the project to create new community rooms inside the church is continuing. The west end of the church is being transformed into a two-storey complex, including rooms for community use. The church’s old Communion rail is now at the front of the balcony overlooking the nave.

    The project has been mostly funded by the sale of the church hall in Fawcett Road, which was bought by developers in 2006. The building work should be completed by October, and the re-consecration service will be on November 20. The congregation is continuing to meet for worship in one side of the church building while the work is continuing – entry is via the north door.