St Barnabas Church in Birmingham looks ready to reclaim its crucial role as the hub of Erdington High Street after being destroyed by fire five years ago.
The £4 million project was granted planning permission in September 2010 to repair and rebuild the Grade 2 listed Victorian church. The church was set alight by arsonists in October 2007, completely gutting the church apart from the basic stone walls and church tower.
The roof and internal floors, which were timber, were completely destroyed, as well as many of the church’s beautiful stained glass windows.
Reverend Freda Evans said:
“This church was built 150 years ago to meet the needs of its community. Those needs have changed and the church can now change with them.
“The additional spaces we have been able to add through this rebuild are suitable for church occasions, as well as providing incredible areas for community use including a large first-floor meeting room, a huge second floor lecture hall and a welcome space that offers cafe facilities. For the first time in the church’s history, we are also able to offer full disabled access and facilities throughout the whole building.
“Our nomadic existence as a worshipping community during the last few years has certainly confirmed the need for a visible and central place to gather.”
The works are being completed by Oldminster Developments Limited as main contractor in succession to Linford Bridgeman Limited who ceased trading last year. The architect is Brownhill Hayward Brown.
Charles Brown, Project Architect from Brownhill Hayward Brown said:
“It was essential that we were able to make the space usable and versatile, and make the most of the original parts of the church which remain. Included in the restoration is a predominantly glass side extension creating an open community space.
“Much of the materials used are steel and glass, as we didn’t want to simply recreate what was there before but give the church a new lease of life for a modern congregation. St Barnabas now offers a peaceful and uplifting environment, which could be used to provide meeting and conference facilities for up to 150 people, a concert venue, and inspirational spaces for wedding receptions and parties, in addition to the spiritual activities within the building”
The project is on programme to be completed in December 2012.