Histon Baptist Church
The Grumpy Couple
Despite a 1980s linking extension, the church and hall at Histon Baptist Church were still worlds apart, like a grumpy couple facing away from one another. The 1980s entrance did a very bad job of welcome – the front door was not visible from the road, and the only connection between the entrance and the church itself was a small door with no glazing.
This has been transformed with new visible entrance doors leading to a bright welcome space. By raising the stonework cill of the south transept window, large glazed sliding folding doors have been created which mean the church is now fully connected with the rest of the buildings.
In the church itself the pews have been taken out (and some reinstalled around the edge), and a new level floor with underfloor heating installed; this enables the church to be used far more flexibly, for example for the annual children’s holiday club. The scheme also included new lighting and audio-visual installations.
The building, which is unusually ornate for a Baptist Church, was listed while the design was being developed. This did not prevent the church from implementing any of its planned changes, and it did mean that the alterations were zero-rated for VAT purposes; it did, however, mean the process was more drawn out than it otherwise would have been.