The Chamber at St John’s, Lancaster
The Chamber at St John’s project will see this Georgian chapel-of-ease transformed from a redundant building at risk to a vibrant landmark in Lancaster city centre, enhancing the prosperity and well-being of the whole community.
The project has been co-designed through an innovative partnership between Churches Conservation Trust and Lancaster & District Chamber of Commerce. CCT brings expertise in community-led regeneration, building conservation and public engagement. LDCoC brings a beneficial new purpose to St John’s, as a co-working and enterprise space. Together, these two long-standing not-for-profit organisations can deliver an inspiring adaptive reuse project which is locally rooted, financially viable, and sustainable for the long-term.
The repurposed church will be leased to the Lancaster and District Chamber of Commerce and will provide a physical ‘Chamber’ for the organisation to build and grow a networked community of entrepreneurs to help Lancaster prosper. The project promises innovative architecture in a beautifully conserved historic setting, through sensitive adaptation of the former church’s historic box pews to create co-working/hot desks and meeting spaces. A new extension in the churchyard will create lettable offices, WCs and further meeting rooms for local businesses; a café and a revitalised churchyard garden will be open to members of the public.
The Chamber will be multi-purpose: used predominantly by the business community of Lancaster during office hours, it will be open to the public for concerts, talks, community events and heritage open days in the evenings and at weekends.
The project is currently at the development stage, with the partners and a design team working to develop the plans alongside a robust business plan for the operation, This work is supported by generous donations and legacies from CCT supporters and grants from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Architectural Heritage Fund. Lancaster City Council has pledged further financial support for the delivery of the capital works phase. Significant private donations from local individuals have also been invaluable in supporting emergency repairs, meanwhile use and consultation activities over the past 18 months.
For more information about the Chamber at St John’s, please contact Elanor Johnson, Regeneration Officer, on e[email protected] and 07786468979. Keep up to date with the latest news on The Chamber at St John's Facebook page.
Header image credit: Andy Marshall