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Reform Magazine | December 6, 2023

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Colours of worship

Colours of worship

Kim Wood celebrates the Meeting House at the University of Sussex

The University of Sussex was built in 1961 and is one of the seven ‘plate glass’ universities established in the 1960s. On the campus, in the midst of typical modern mid-century buildings, there is a beautiful circular structure called The Meeting House, which is Grade II listed. The existence of this building is down to one man who had a vision for future generations, and he was Mr Sydney Caffyn.

Sydney Caffyn was a businessman in the Presbyterian Church of England, one of the Churches that would shortly come together as the United Reformed Church. He was a member of the original University Council, and offered to fund the university’s chapel in 1963. The following year, Sir Basil Spence, the architect of the new Coventry Cathedral, designed the Meeting House and the first service was conducted on 9 October 1966.

A circular building for religious observance was unusual in Britain after the Second World War but Spence’s inspirational approach linked it to other buildings at the university…

Kim Wood is URC Chaplain at Sussex University. Thanks to Robert, son of Sydney, and the Caffyn family, for their help


This is an extract from an article published in the September 2023 edition of Reform

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