New ideas for an old Church
I’m considering options for Church of All Souls Hastings. This grand Grade II* listed building towers spectacularly amidst neighbouring terraces and has been closed for 5 years.
Built by prolific designer AW Blomfield in 1890 it is a fine example of high Victorian architecture with most original features intact. It is impressive from the outside and even more so from the inside as fine brick moulding and arches stretch over you and draw your eye to the glinting mosaic Reredos.
This grand asset in our landscape is begging to be adapted for use. But does this sprawling residential area need more housing? If a hotel, who wants to stay here? I know… an Ice Rink! suggested one enthusiastic resident. A business centre might tept entrepreneurs to the area or perhaps a training centre to skill up the local population? A MacDonalds suggested an American friend coyly, everyone would flock to the ”golden arches’ and the drive-through could be served served from the lepers holes. Some very popular climbing walls have gone into church buildings, a great option if we were in central Brighton, less so in outer Hatsings. What about Community Space?… Does the community have ‘space’ ? Does it want some? What would it do with it? I know… a post office and community shop. The real classic that makes me sigh and feel slightly sad is an Art Gallery and Craft Centre.
This building needs a new roof, now it’s a big roof and it’s high and I don’t wish to get into detail but the plot is small and sloping; the stuff scaffolders dream of. Then there’s the services and actual conversion providing the necessary facilities. Once you’ve spent your gold mine, all we need to do is maintain it. All buildings need maintenance and therefore a guaranteed income to not only make the investment attractive but also secure the buildings future. Otherwise we could be back where we started with a closed old church with a leaking roof in 10 years time. So, selling postcards from an Art Gallery would not do it, every exhibition would have to be a sell out, every month! And call me a skeptic, but if this was the case my artist friends would have much bigger houses I’m sure.
Answers on a postcard please…