A church transformed

THE VICTORIAN GOTHIC Westbourne Grove Church (with a Baptist congregation) is on the corner of the Grove and Ledbury Road. Built on the site of an earlier church, this building was constructed in 1866. On examination, it is obvious that it has been modified considerably. According to the church’s website, westbournegrovechurch.org, in 2001:

“… the church worked with the Manhattan Loft Corporation to redevelop the site. Our vision was to use the church building to serve the local community, as an expression of God’s generosity and love. The church retains space spread over the entire ground and first floors of the building, while the project was funded by development of apartments in the top four floors of the converted building.”

The church now shares its building with retail outlets and residential units, the rents from which help finance the church’s activities and maintenance.

The parts of the ground and first floors used by the congregation have been redesigned imaginatively and beautifully in a simple contemporary idiom. Airy spaces simply but attractively decorated, flow neatly between each other giving the interior of the church a cubist sculptural feel. The rooms at the base of the two towers on the south façade of the church are used for exhibitions and meetings. In short, the spaces used for ecclesiastical and pastoral purposes provide a wonderful example of successful modern interior design. The current vicar is Chris Thackery. His wife Charlotte is an architect, and was involved in overseeing, and advising on, the modernisation of the church.

A visit to see this wonderful new church is well worth making. It is not far from Portobello Road and is a treat for lovers of imaginative architectural design.

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