Whitfield Tabernacle: Derelict Methodist chapel awarded grant

Whitfield Tabernacle Image copyright South Gloucestershire Council,
Image caption The tabernacle was built as a meeting house and base for the Methodist preacher George Whitfield

A Grade I-listed Methodist temple is to be repaired with a £682,000 grant.

Whitfield Tabernacle in Kingswood, South Gloucestershire, was built as a base for preacher George Whitfield in 1741, but has not been used in decades.

The funding has been awarded by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).

Councillor Toby Savage said the restoration would play a "significant part in the bigger vision" for rejuvenating Kingswood.

The tabernacle was built as a meeting house and base for Whitfield, one of the most important figures in Methodism.

Before this, he had spent much of his time preaching outdoors with his better-known friend and founder of the movement, John Wesley.

The building, which is on English Heritage's at-risk register, was left in a "dangerous" condition following a fire and has been derelict for many years.

Image copyright South Gloucestershire Council,
Image caption The Grade I-listed building will be repaired using WECA funding

Mr Savage, leader of South Gloucestershire Council, said the chapel "offers such potential for Kingswood town centre".

"The regeneration of the Whitfield Tabernacle plays a significant part in the bigger vision we have for rejuvenating Kingswood," he said.

"This funding will help us significantly to seize this opportunity, not only to bring this run-down site back into public use, but to deliver new and exciting services."

The stabilisation work, funded through WECA's Love our High Streets project, will include repairing the former chapel, installing a new roof and reopening the building as a performing arts centre.

Tim Bowles, West of England mayor, said: "Breathing new life into the Whitfield Tabernacle is a great example of how our Love our High Streets project is helping to revitalise local communities by giving high streets and town centres a real boost."

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