17 : The Parish Hall
The ‘Tin Church’ in Pitshanger Lane served as the Parish Hall (or ‘Church Room’) until the early 1940’s, when it sustained bomb damage in November 1940 and was destroyed by an accidental fire on 1st May 1942. Plans had been made in the 1930’s for a new Hall, with designs by Shearman produced in April 1936, but these were abandoned because of lack of funds. In the 1940’s, the ‘Church Room’ was situated at 109 Pitshanger Lane. A new parish hall, adjacent to the church, was built in 1949 and opened on 19/10/49 by the Bishop of London. It was specifically a ‘temporary’ building, made of 2242 concrete blocks, designed to last around 10 years, but survived until 1998 because of valiant ‘working parties’ who undertook repairs and decoration each August. In 1997 it was discovered to be sinking at one end, and a major fund-raising campaign was launched to build the current hall. The eventual cost of the ‘St Barnabas Millennium Halls’ was £950,000, and half of this (£425,000) was funded by the Millennium Commission – now the Heritage Lottery Fund. This was one of only three projects funded by them within the London area, the others being the Dome (now the O2 Arena) and the Southwark Cathedral Visitors Centre. Considerable care was taken to ensure that the building blended in architecturally with the church. The foundation stone was laid by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, on 4/10/1998. Four months earlier, in June 1998, he had symbolically started the demolition of the old hall by wielding a sledge hammer. The Halls were dedicated by the Bishop on 18/04/1999.
Here are photos of the opening of the Millennium Hall by the Bishop of London on April 18th 1999
The Millennium Hall