B&E Boys are pleased to announce that work will commence next month on a new renovation and refurbishment project at Rawtenstall Unitarian Church.
The project is valued at £350k and the completion date is September 2017. The refurbishment comprises stripping out the existing organ and pulpit and creating new stores. New internal doors, ceilings and a kitchen will be fitted, with new floor finishes and decoration throughout. The new design will make a feature of the first floor ‘Pyramid’ ceiling.
A major aspect of the project is centred on improving access arrangements. A new accessible toilet will be installed and a raised platform will be added to the first floor of the building. A new three storey lift with associated structural works will be installed and a new external access ramp will also be created.
Updating work will include the installation of new drainage and electrical systems. The existing hot and cold water system will be replaced and the current warm air heating system will be replaced with a new gas boiler and radiators. Finally, new security, fire alarm, lighting and data systems will be installed.
Rawtenstall Unitarian Church has an important place in local history. The first entry in the ‘Register Book’ is dated 2nd May 1757 and historians believe that the first services will have taken place earlier the same year at the church’s original site on The Fold, which was the centre of Rawtenstall village at the time.
The congregation continued to grow through to the mid-19th century and a new church was built which opened in October 1853. It was there that the church remained until 1967. The construction of the town’s inner relief road, St Mary’s Way, cut the banking of the church site. This weakened the foundations of the building and it was decided a year later that the church would need to close and move from the site. A new church was built, funded by Lancashire County Council, on Bank Street and it held its first service there in September 1971.
Rawtenstall Unitarian Church was also home to a commemorative stone dedicated to Edward Wightman and Bartholomew Legate, who in 1612 became the last people in England to be executed for their religious beliefs. The stone was commissioned in 1920 by Todmorden Unitarian Church and spent decades at Rawtenstall before eventually being returned to Todmorden in 2008.
All in all, Rawtenstall Unitarian Church holds a fascinating place in local history. B&E Boys are proud to be in a position to take on this church project so that the church can move onto the next chapter of its history with facilities it can be proud of.