Church buys landmark city building

img_4733The Church of England has purchased a landmark building in Nottingham, which will become the home of a new church serving the city.

The Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham has bought the former Neales auction house on Mansfield Road. The building is one of the oldest auction houses in the Midlands and parts of it are believed to date back to the late 1800s.

The new church will work closely with other churches across Nottingham as part of a vision to reach many more people in the city and county with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Bishop Paul Williams said: “It is a time of immense opportunity and growth for the Church in this diocese. Congregations of all sizes, traditional and modern, are reaching out to share the Christian faith in fresh ways. Many are also making a huge difference in their communities and offer tens of thousands of volunteer hours serving people in various kinds of need. This new venture will revive a much-loved historic building creating a meeting place that connects in new ways with many thousands of people who live in our vibrant city.”

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Jonny and Amy Hughes. left, with Will and Vikki Foulger

The 20,437 sq ft property, which has been empty for several years, will undergo a major refurbishment and if all goes to plan a new congregation will begin meeting in the middle of next year.

The church will be called Trinity Church Nottingham, drawing inspiration from Holy Trinity Church Nottingham, which once stood in nearby Trinity Square, serving the people of Nottingham for over a hundred years before it was demolished in 1957, making way for the Trinity Square car park.

Trinity Church Nottingham

The Archdeacon of Nottingham, the Venerable Sarah Clark, said: “It is exciting to see a new Trinity Church established in Nottingham to serve the city afresh in this generation. I believe Trinity Church Nottingham will bring newness not only to the old auction house but also to the lives of many Nottingham people who will worship there.”

Trinity Church Nottingham will be led by Jonny and Amy Hughes, supported by volunteers and drawing on the experience of Holy Trinity Brompton, London, in planting new churches.

Jonny said: “’We are delighted to be part of this new venture of faith. We are particularly excited to play our part in the story of this beautiful building, and of Trinity church, which served the city of Nottingham.”

Jonny and the team are already in Nottingham getting to know the area, meeting other local clergy, and starting the work of planting the new church, which begins meeting this autumn in temporary accommodation before moving to the new building.

 New ‘Trinity’ in city centre

During its 116-year life, Holy Trinity was an iconic church for the people of Nottingham. Built in 1840 on the edge of the town, its high spire dominated the growing urban landscape. Designed by H.I. Stevens, it originally cost £11,000.

Holy Trinity parish was founded to meet the needs of a growing incoming population but eventually the population began to fall due to the mass demolition of the working class housing to the east of the church in the early 1900s:  10,000 residents were relocated to other districts to allow the construction of a new railway line and Nottingham Victoria station.

In 1953, council plans to demolish Holy Trinity church and redevelop Trinity Square were greeted with dismay – 16,000 local people signed a petition against the proposal. However, demolition went ahead in 1957/8, and in the early 1960s a new office block and multi storey car park were built.

A new Holy Trinity Church was built on the Clifton Estate, which became home to several artefacts from the original church.