The Tabor Congregational Chapel is located in the village of Maesycwmmer which lies in the center of County Caerphilly in Wales.
The chapel was originally constructed in 1829. However, during its lifetime, this chapel has been rebuilt twice, first in 1856 and then in 1876.
In 1971, Tabor Congregational Chapel became part of the United Reformed Church.
When it became necessary to expand the chapel, the architect Thomas Thomas of Landore was called in. He worked on the church in 1876, creating the design that we can see today. The plans for the second reconstruction also included the addition of a Sunday School.
The two-story chapel is built in a classic style with a gable-entry plan and a large arch on the facade. Tabor Congregational Chapel is considered to be an example of the best work of the architect.
For decades, the Welsh Congregational Chapel in Tabor faithfully served its locals and others. However, in January 2003, it was forced to close its doors.
Sometime after the closure of the chapel, the contents of a Billy Bear children’s play center appeared inside for some unknown reason, a confusing find for the urban researchers who explored this place.
Currently, the chapel and its Sunday School are listed as Grade II buildings, being considered excellent examples of Thomas’s work. Of particular note is the metalwork decoration to be found inside and the Glorification arch on the outside.
Unfortunately, the Sunday School is in a terrible condition, mainly because the roof has caved under due to exposure to the elements and a lack of care. As a result, the interior and particularly the wooden floors are exposed to rainwater. Wooden floors, the stairs, and the balcony have rotted and become unsafe.
Ivy penetrates the walls through any possible gap, which goes to show how nature can take precedence over the work of humans. Although vandals and scrappers have been through the site, the organ remains as do other items that throw light on what it must have once been like inside this place of worship.
Apart from the rotting wood, the interior of the chapel is still an impressive sight for those who can gain entry. Ignoring the Billy Bear detritus, evidence of the architect’s skill and vision can still be gleaned from what remains.
While the inside goes to rack and ruin, it has been reported that local people often look after the land around the chapel. They maintain the graves there, in particular the grave of the first Reverend of the chapel.
The Tabor Congregational Chapel needs major repair work before it is too late and this piece of history is lost forever.
The photos in this article were taken by photographer Ben Garratt who has been photographing and videoing oval track racing events since 2007. You can find a lot of different photos from some abandoned places on his Flickr account which were taken for illustration purposes only.
In addition, all his photos are available in various sizes and prints can be obtained by contacting Ben Garratt via his Facebook page.