Holy Trinity Tulse Hill was built nearly 160 years ago – with a hall to the rear. After a lengthy period of subsidence and decay, the hall was finally demolished in 1984. This demolition was part of Phase One of the renovation of the whole, which also included securing the church roof. Phases Two and Three were the renewal of the Church Interior and Undercroft. Phase Four was always to be the rebuilding of community facilities where the hall had been.
The Vision goes back further however, because throughout the 1970s much thought and prayer was given as to how the church building could best be used for community good. This phase was known as “Blueprint for the Future”.
Phase Four began with a hugely ambitious plan – a three-storey building, dug into the slope, including a two-bed curate’s flat with garage. It was estimated that this would cost £640,000 – £1.1m in today’s money. As time went on, the plan was extended to include a cafe area with atrium, and a large canopy so that space for wedding receptions could be extended into the garden.
Although Planning and Faculty permissions were granted for this, it was simply unattainable because the cost was too high. Meanwhile, the church spire needed sudden attention. Although we were helped by a generous grant from English Heritage, this urgent building need swallowed up huge amounts of money and energy from the congregation.
In 2011 we began all over again – looking at the problem from scratch. We started off considering the idea of a prefab concrete hut in which a kitchen could be installed. Although this was affordable straight away, however, it would still require considerable landscaping to make it usable. It would only be temporary and would only provide for a fraction of the need.
The project had to grow, but also be attainable. We began to consider straw-bale construction – and the more we learnt about it, through going on courses, internet research, reading books, and so on, the more we realised it was the way forward.
Now look at our latest plan to see what we intend.