A library and a chapel all under one roof
Once in a while a project comes along that’s a little bit out of the ordinary, sparking much interest and excitement. Early in 2009 a scheme emerged that certainly ticks all these boxes.
Following the success of the Bargoed Job Centre redevelopment into a state-of-the-art Health Centre, United Welsh was invited to refurbish Hanbury Baptist Chapel just up the road.
Built and funded by the community itself, the Baptist Church has been a prominent landmark since its completion in 1906 and although much loved and used by the committed congregation they were unable to curb the buildings inevitable slide into disrepair due to its size and age. Bargoed library had been demolished as part of the town regeneration plans, and so some forward thinking brought the two together in a completely exceptional tailor made blend.
The initial partners Caerphilly County Borough Council, United Welsh, the Heads of the Valleys Programme and the chapel congregation instigated the ideas and worked with Cadw for the future use of the Grade 2* listed building. The partners were joined by Pentan Partnership, whose designs proved inspiring, and later Carter Lauren Construction whose expertise in similar schemes were key to them winning the tender process. The result of such collaboration has been breathtaking. The building represents the old and the new; the coming together of grandeur and of modernity.
The partnership has delivered a new dedicated area of worship whilst adapting the space to incorporate a new library, café, children’s story area, Family History Resource Centre and a Customer First Centre offering access to a range of council services, in the iconic building. This new facility will become a ‘learning hub’ for the whole community to utilise throughout the week.
The new Hanbury Chapel and library was opened in last week with a day of music and celebration, storytelling and activities, marked at the end with the first service for the congregation in their new old chapel.