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Spierdijk (NH): St. Georgius (W.D. van der Horst, 1849-1850; A.C. Bleijs, 1886-1887)

Spierdijk developed in the 17th century as a peatery and a catholic enclave. A chapel was built in 1607. In 1765 it was replaced by a simple wooden church with a thatched roof, to which in 1827 a small bell-tower was added. As the parish grew and the church was in an increasingly bad state, the need for a new church grew rapidly. In 1849 permission to procure the church's replacement was acquired from the bishop.

Architect W.D. van der Horst was commissioned to design the new church and came with a design as usual for that period. It was a three-aisled hall-church in neo-Classical style, with all aisles under a single roof and with  an ornamented facade and a bell-tower on top. Construction began in June 1849 and in August 1850 the church was consecrated. In 1864-1865 Van der Horst enlarged the church with a new choir and a sacristy. These parts of the church only lasted a little longer than two decades, as in 1885 the church was again deemed much too small. That year architect A.C. Bleijs was commissioned to design a new extension for the church as well as enlarge the presbytery.

The extension of the church was to be build at the western side of the church, which was not oriented. Bleijs' design for the extension comprised a big and high transept with polygonal arms and a new choir with a sacristy, turning the church into a cruciform hall-church. Instead of the then usual, for catholic churches anyway, neo-Gothic, Bleijs chose a neo-Renaissance style. This part of the church contrast sharply with the older part, not so much in style but certainly in size and the incidence of light. Obviously the new part was built this size with plans in mind to one day replace the rest of the church as well. This obviously never happened.
The old choir was probably demolished in early 1887, when work on the adjacent presbytery was well under way, after which construction of the new western portion began. On June the 13th the ceremonial first stone was laid and on June the 24th of 1889 the completed church was once again consecrated.

Although by 2014 the Spierdijk parish had become too small to maintain the building and demolition was considered, in 2017 it was saved by dividing it in two parts, seperated by a wall. While the transept and choir still serve as a church, the nave has become a health center, housing a number of (para) medical therapists.



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