Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Trafalgar Street Church

Oh those Victorians! How they did like their churches, scattering them around the town with nary a thought to what the future would bring, like the market in Christianity collapsing post 1914-18. So now we have to deal with what might called post-Christian blight. This situation is made worse by a sentimental attachment to all things 'old' even if 'old' is only a hundred years and also conservation laws that defy stylistic and economic reason. Here's Trafalgar Street church on Beverley Road, built by the Baptists in 1906 in a mock Gothic brick flint-clad style (no doubt the builders' enthusiasm or funds did not run to paying out for stone) that you either love or detest (personally, it's as ugly a prayer factory as I've seen for quite some time). It was abandoned by them in 2002 then used by an even smaller sect for a while; it has been standing empty for nearly a decade. The rear church hall is now apartments, so far so good; but what on earth to you do with an empty church? Well they tried selling it for £160,000 but had to settle for a mere £80,000. That was over a year ago and still it sits there behind security fencing. I'm told it has been weatherproofed.  
Well now it seems to be a law that where ever there's an 'old' building falling into disrepair because there is no use for it there springs up a 'support' group to 'save' it and this is no exception. They want National Lottery money as well as donations for their rescue scheme. And their plan for this former house of God? A community gym! Because you must treat your body as a temple I suppose.
Did I mention it's a Grade 2 listed building in a conservation area? No? But then you'd probably guessed that's why it hasn't been knocked down a long time ago. More on this conservation nonsense tomorrow.

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