Background to the organisation
The Historic Chapels Trust was established in 1993 to take into ownership disused places of worship of outstanding quality. So far it has taken 18 former places of worship into its care in England. These range from small chapels in remote locations to large town and city churches, The Trust has to date overseen the restoration and regeneration of 11 of its buildings and is in the process of considering to take on further chapels that are under threat. The Trustees and staff have a wealth of experience in handling projects of this nature. Please consult the main Historic Chapels Trust website www.hct.org.uk for further details of HCT’s work.
How do we propose to tackle the works that are required?
HCT became the owners of the Bethesda Methodist Chapel in 2002, after previous schemes to restore the building had proved unsuccessful.
HCT engaged Brownhill Hayward Brown as its architects for the project. Based nearby in Lichfield the practice has considerable experience of overseeing the repair of important historic buildings to high conservation-based standards. It also has good contacts with local experienced craftsmen.
Brownhill Hayward Brown undertook a full condition survey of the building and produced an outline restoration scheme, with costings. The total estimated project cost was £2.5m. Fundraising for such a large sum would take a long time thus HCT decided to tackle the restoration project in three distinct phases. This has made it a more manageable task for fundraising and for undertaking the repairs. In addition it has enabled HCT to step in quickly to make the building wind and weather proof and stop further deterioration.
The first phase of repairs were completed in September 2007 at a cost of nearly £900,000 and our local committee have organised a series of Open Days on the second Saturday of each month from April to December in 2008 and 2009.
HCT, with help from the Friends of Bethesda, has successfully raised over £600,000 which has enabled the second phase of repairs to start in August 2010.