Plans unveiled to demolish Archway Methodist Hall and restore it as community arts hub | Islington Gazette

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Sam Gelder

The transformation of Archway has brought the status of its two most iconic buildings back to the public.

However, since the stalemate regarding the continued closure of Archway Tavern has been fully documented, the future of the dilapidated Methodist Hall is forced to play a second trick.

Now, the developer has made plans to demolish the historic building and transform it into a community and theater space that can accommodate 400 people, with an office above it for local businesses.

The Swedish architect White Arkitekter is the designer behind the six-story building. The venue can also be used for concerts, conferences and training, yoga, community workshops, art exhibitions, and has a cafe and bar.

It has been a long time since the hall was put back into public use. Since 1989, it has been empty except for the guardian of the property and is said to be owned by a Gibraltar company.

In order to demolish the building in the facade and turn it into an apartment, it failed in 2015. The local campaign group "Better Archway Forum" (Better Archway Forum) launched an ongoing campaign to convert it Used in art.

The hall was built in 1934 to replace the existing 1864 church building. It is the last auditorium built by Methodists, funded by passionate Methodist members and British film legend J Arthur Rank, who is known for influencing cinema-style architecture.

However, Jan Tucker, chair of the Arch Town Center team, said that this design has not been welcomed by everyone.

She said: "In order to appease some congregants who hold reservations, a lighted cross was installed on the top of the building."

It was designed by George and K Withers and has a 1,300-seat auditorium, offices, a Sunday school and eight shops, and a 500-seat hall.

Inside, it is more like a concert venue than a church, with foldable seats and a hidden organ. The cinema’s screen is operated by a large pulley system, which plays cartoons on Saturday afternoons and at night.

Some people have other explanations for the design. "Most of the interior walls are made of ceramic tiles. According to records, when opened, people often found people wandering around with towels around their necks'looking for swimming pools'!" Added January

During the war, the basement was used as an air raid shelter by the parliament and could accommodate 600 people.

January continued: “During the entire blitz, there were long queues waiting to enter each night.” It was pointed out that due to the size of the line and the number of street performers that attracted crowds, the building sometimes resembled the Western Theater.

"The enterprising minister even wrote'The Archway Air Raid Shelter Hymn' and sang before the lights went out every night!"

Concerts and dances were also held during the war to maintain morale. But on the night of November 5, 1944, the hall was used for a very different reason.

A V2 rocket crashed on nearby Grovedale Road, killing 31 people and wounding 84 others. It was used as a temporary housing for the victims.

After the war, competitions in other venues gradually decreased and the visibility of the hall declined. The owners began to lease it to youth clubs until it was finally closed in the 1960s. But it is not finished yet.

Young added: “When John Beech became minister in the late 1960s, his fate was reversed.” “He opened a new club for homeless young people in the area.

"He has a missionary background in Ghana, especially working with black youth in London. The youth club is a great success, with more than 600 members."

However, its success also brought problems, and after Beech and his wife spent too much time disarming young men with knives, it eventually closed down and started using and selling drugs on the premises.

Now, 30 years after the auditorium was last used, although Kate Calvert, the founder of the Better Arch Forum, does not want to see the building being overthrown, people hope that it will serve the community again.

She said: "Demolition seems unnecessary. It will mean losing the potential to meet the diverse community, artistic and cultural needs of different people in Archway and other areas."

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