Curved Wall Broadmead Baptist Church
Abstract sculpted mural depicting the sweep of Biblical history from the Creation to the Second Coming. Starting in swirls of chaos, life emerges from the universe (the Christian symbol of a fish is shown, together with a legged crustacean emerging from the sea). Two human figures mark the emergence of mankind. A figure of Christ on the cross depicts the Redemption and the mural ends with the Second Coming. Movement and the impression of continuous flow is emphasised throughout.
Denis Hull worked on the design and construction of Broadmead Baptist Church for a five year period until its opening on 28 June 1969. The site was a challenging one, with a nearby river prone to flooding, a busy main road with concomitant noise problems, and the prospect of a motorway behind. The wall is entirely his own design, a continuous, flowing piece broken up by two doorways which the mural takes into account. In constructing the wall, a wooden wall was first built, onto which were stuck slabs of polystyrene in which the design was carved out in reverse. Another wooden wall was built and pre-cast concrete poured between the two. Afterwards, the wooden structures were removed and the polystyrene burnt off using petrol. (Some black staining ensued from the melting polystyrene, faint traces of which can still be seen).
'During the making of the wall Denis found himself very excited by the creative process . . . Here he found the design "bubbling out" as he worked on the actual moulds. His style is clearly influenced by William Mitchell, but the theme and design is his own. The door is situated between the hands of a welcoming God. The worshiper enters the sculpture at the centre of the whole work'.(2)
Details of construction methods recorded in conversation with Brian Ball, Church Secretary of Broadmead Baptist Church, 9 January 1999
A curved wall made of concrete guides visitors/congregation towards the entrance. Sculpted all over by Denis Hull, the architect, it depicts the creation of the world and Christ's crucifixion and resurrection.(1)
PMSA recording information