The History Of The Church and Establishment of the Restaurant
The building, a former Church, is situated on the outskirts of Hanley Town Centre on Old Town Road. The building is not listed nor is it within a Conservation area. It is, however, subject to a Local Town listing as being a building of public interest.
The property was built in 1860 by Welsh Miners as a Methodist place of worship. In the early 1900's it was converted to a Spiritualist Church and is reputed to be one of the oldest in the country.
History of the Church
The church was well attended and formed an important part of the surrounding community for many years. Old Town Road was originally the main road in Hanley until subsequent development changed the structure of the town.
With the passing of time and the changing face of Hanley the support that the Church once enjoyed began to dwindle, as with many other Churches across the country.
In November 2000 due to the ill health of the former president Muriel Shelley the Church was closed and remained so for a year.
The officers of the Spiritualist's National Union's West Midlands District Council found that the administration of the Church had been inadequate with too few meetings being held. A sustained effort was made by the parties involved to keep the Church open, with new officers being appointed and a new acting committee put in place to attempt to ensure the future of the Church.
Sadly, even with the best efforts of the newly appointed team, as with many buildings of this kind, it was found not to be commercially viable with dwindling attendance numbers and rising costs of repairs. A decision was made in 2003 to close the Church and seek accommodation elsewhere. The fabric of the Church was left in a state of disrepair due to lack of use and lack of funds to carry out essential works.
An agent was appointed to handle the sale of the former Church in the early part of 2006.
Change of use to form Restaurant
By research from the local library and community Diane McDaid discovered that the building once formed an important focal point for the local community and made it her intention to recapture this. Situated in a mixed commercial area and sited outside the central shopping area of Hanley it was clearly going to be difficult to find a way to make use of this building and retain its historical interest and features. Having ruled out residential use, commercial use would be the only option. Commercial use that relied on passing trade would not have survived as the footfall in the area was, and continues to be, limited. To find a way that the public could continue to make use of this attractive building and continue to enjoy its external and internal splendour would necessitate the original hall of worship, with it's wooden vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows, being left in tact along with the historic restoration of it's exterior.
The Building Project
The whole project was one that emphasised the need to retain this property as one of great local interest whilst ensuring its commercial viability. The restaurant project has ensured full use of the historic building and ensured it's future in keeping with the regeneration of our city centre.
The exterior was renovated incorporating sandblasting/cleaning of the stone and brick work to restore the front, side and rear elevations.
Windows that were previously boarded and bricked up were replaced or repaired.
Doorways and doors were refurbished to reflect the historic impact of the building.
Internally the upper level hall of worship was left in tact excluding pews and the pulpit to retain the grandeur of the timber vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows. This area was refurbished to form functional leisure space.
The lower ground floor level of the building was refurbished to form functional work and leisure space.
The boundary walls to the front of the building were cleaned and repaired. The boundary walls to the rear of the building were also rendered and repaired.
Architectural lighting was used externally to show this magnificent building to its full potential.
The interior design marries old with new and spells quality in every corner resulting in a wow factor second to none in the area.