Jefferson Sheard Architects were appointed to design and deliver the reordering and refurbishment of this Grade II listed church, with a clear brief to revitalise the building and create a welcoming modernised community space whilst retaining the character of the original 1787 church.
The works included the alteration of the existing entrance arrangements to create a central entrance foyer within the existing building footprint. Accessibility within the building has been improved through the demolition of the former gallery staircases, both of which were steep and suffered from low ceilings. A new stair core has been created with a striking oak staircase to provide more suitable access to the gallery. A new insulated floor has been installed throughout the ground floor of the building with underfloor heating to improve the internal environment. The building has been given a complete overhaul of all electrical and mechanical installations, further modernising it and securing its use for decades to come. Externally, new windows have been installed along the north wall, masonry repairs have been undertaken and the timberwork redecorated. The site access has been renewed with new external surfacing and new storm water management system.
One of the biggest challenges faced by the project team was gaining consent to alter this historic and treasured building. The success of the project has been achieved through extensive consultation with the Baptists Union, who hold the listed building consent permission, the Local Authority’s Conservation Officer and the design team. The design process has seen the submission of multiple scheme options to reach a consented design solution that provided the enhancements the community require while remaining sympathetic to the concerns and constraints of the listed building.
We worked closely with specialist lighting design consultant Benedict Cadbury, of Lampholder Lighting Design, to achieve a lighting scheme which satisfied both the technical and aesthetic stipulations of the brief. it was imperative the new lighting conformed to the listed building requirements and also provided practical and welcoming light while simultaneously highlighting the architectural features of the building.
“We wanted to make it accessible, warm and welcoming. It has been modernised so it can be used at the heart of the community, to be used by the whole community. It is no longer "dark and old fashioned" but a welcoming space, that had been largely unchanged since it was last rebuilt in 1875.”
The Reverend Tim Williamson
Culture & Civic
Bluntisham Baptist Church
The restoration works have given the church a new lease of life and a renewed its place in the community, being not only used for worship but as a café, parent and toddler groups, community choir and events such as concerts and comedy nights.