A new arts space at St Mary's Old Church

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A new arts space at St Mary's Old Church

A new arts space at St Mary's Old Church

SMART By SMART

We want to open up a lovely Tudor church as an arts venue for the whole community of Stoke Newington, allowing more people to appreciate one of the oldest buildings in Hackney.

Hackney Idea stage

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The Church is a unique part of Hackney's heritage. Built in 1563, it's one of the first new Protestant churches in London, and has lovely Tudor brickwork. It was extended in 1828 by Sir Charles Barry, who went on to build the Houses of Parliament. And some prominent anti-slavery campaigners are buried here.

The Church is much valued by local people - we had 500 visitors during an open day last September - but is expensive to run, and we can't afford to open it very often.

So we want to modernise the building and open it up for much wider use, mostly for arts events, by the whole diverse community in Stoke Newington.

We have already hosted popular events, from Early Music to eclectic band Boxcar Aldous Huxley to the Shobana Jayasingh Dance Company.

But the building is cold and uncomfortable with no catering facilities, and only one ancient toilet. We want to make it warm, comfortable, accessible, and welcoming, to host whatever concerts, drama, or exhibitions local people want.

What we'll deliver:

  • Open up the space by removing old fixed pews
  • Warm it up with new and effective heating
  • Put in modern toilets, one of them accessible for wheelchair users
  • Install a kitchenette for refreshments
  • Fix a hole in the roof, and mend broken flooring
  • Put in modern chairs and lighting

Why it's a great idea:

The church is a terrific building, for its history, its atmosphere, and its acoustic. But it's unused for most of the week, and local people aren't able to appreciate it. It's expensive to maintain, and if nothing is done, the parish might have to take it out of use altogether.

In spite of the cold, and lack of facilities, musicians and actors like performing there, because of the acoustic, and people like coming because of the atmosphere.

We want to open it up as a new arts space for the whole community of Stoke Newington and beyond, open to people of all faiths and none, for concerts, plays, exhibitions, and meetings.

There's already lots of interest from people wanting to put on arts events when we reopen. We also want to showcase the heritage from 450 years of history much better, partly by working with our neighbours at Clissold House.

We've raised the money for the main building work, and now need to buy some nice chairs!

Steps to get it done:

  • Open up the main space, by taking out the fixed pews, and rebuilding the best ones in the south aisle (done)
  • Commission a builder to install new heating, toilets, and kitchenette (work starts on 10 June)
  • Host an opening festival of arts of all sorts in October/November.
  • Showcase the heritage with displays and open days.
  • Put in modern chairs and lighting

Gallery

Location Hackney

Hackney has 5 other projects and £905,000 in potential grant funding

About the space

Tudor church with graveyard

Council

London Borough of Hackney

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How will the money be spent?Total £11,060

Chairs for the new arts space in the church - £10,000 (90%)
Other - £1,060 (10%)

Costs Breakdown

This shows how money raised for the project will be spent. Before entering fundraising these costs will be confirmed by the project's Delivery Manager and verified by the verifier.

90%
Chairs for the new arts space in the church
£10,000
10%
Other
£1,060
  • Transaction Fees
    £460
  • Spacehive fees
    £370
  • VAT
    £100

Total £11,060

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