Very Special model needed: Joseph Merrick's card church

Discussion in 'Architecture Models' started by Millenniumfalsehood, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. Millenniumfalsehood

    Millenniumfalsehood Active Member

    For those who don't know, Joseph Carey Merrick was known as "The Elephant Man". I've taken an interest in his life story for some time, especially in his struggle to function physically. His story is inspiring to me, especially one of his final acts before dying: he constructed a card-model church.

    I'd like to build this church eventually, as a personal commemoration, but I don't know what the name of it is.



    Does a model of this church exist somewhere? Not only would it be a great commemoration for my collection, it's also an incredibly beautiful structure which I'd like a replica of.
  2. pianomama2009

    pianomama2009 New Member

    re: Joseph's model church

    Unfortunately, the story of Merrick assembling a model cathedral of St. Philip's (a real church near the London Hospital) is fictional from the movie and play. Actually, Merrick couldn't see St. Philip's from his rooms in Bedstead Square. He made this church and many others from prefab kits during his years at the hospital and gave them to friends and staff. This doesn't make the models any less special, as he could only use his left hand and the kits were very complicated. They reflect Joseph's artistic skill and generous personality.

    The cathedral in the photos you show is a German Gothic model which Merrick made for the actress, Madge Kendal. Again, contrary to fiction, she never visited him, though he hoped she would. Later she presented the church to the Museum Archives of the Royal London Hospital where it can still be seen along with Merrick's enormous hat and mask and other memorabilia.

    I'm so glad you take an interest in Joseph Merrick. You're welcome to join a discussion on Facebook called Friends of Joseph Carey Merrick. We have tons of topics and photos about this admirable and courageous man!
  3. Millenniumfalsehood

    Millenniumfalsehood Active Member

    He's quite remarkable, wasn't he? Every time I think of him building that model, I thank God that I have the blessing of two functional hands and arms to enjoy my full physical potential.

    I'll have to look up that group! Thank you for the invitation. :mrgreen:
  4. Mulfert

    Mulfert New Member

    Extra Info...

    I am currently putting on a production of "The Elephant Man" and recently assisted my father in replicating Merrick's card model. We have had great success not only is replicating it but identifying the original church it is modeled after. Multiple sources reference the card kit at a German one given to him as a gift. Upon reseraching German Cathedrals, we came upon Mainzer Dom (Mainz Cathedral). While the kit is missing some of the additional build out structures, I believe they are one and the same!
  5. Millenniumfalsehood

    Millenniumfalsehood Active Member

    Fantastic! Did you make copies of the templates?

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