Before and after the alterations of the 1940s.
The most significant changes to the interior appearance of St. John’s came a century after its construction.
Complete with Easter flowers, this 1938 photograph shows only three obvious changes from the original design: the organ and choir had by then moved to the chancel, the altar was curtained on three sides and the sacrament was reserved in a tabernacle. The changes to the altar are credited to Rev. Ivor St. Clair Ramsey, Rector from 1933 – 1936, who also installed a set of Stations of the Cross. Note also the dark wall covering with (stencilled?) motifs.
The 1945 photograph shows the dramatic changes made by Ramsay’s successor, Rev. Arthur Petford, Rector from 1936 to 1948. The altar was raised on a fourth step and widened considerably to accommodate six candles in front of a panelled wooden reredos, its quatrefoil panels now covered by a frontal. The brass lectern had gone. Carved wooden figures of Jesus on the Cross flanked by the Virgin Mary and St. John had been added to the rood screen. The walls of the nave were painted over in plain white, though some decoration remained in the sanctuary.
The wooden reredos is clearly seen in this photograph, taken shortly before its removal. Extensive restorations carried out in 2006-7 by Rev. Denise Herbert (Rector from 2000 to 2009) included work on the east window, and when the reredos was removed to gain access, the tiles covering the east wall were rediscovered and the decision made to leave them visible.