Blog > Save Oxford House’s ‘Secret’ Chapel
Save Oxford House’s ‘Secret’ Chapel
Who is Oxford House?
Oxford House is a registered charity established in 1884 to support community work in East London, including providing practical solutions to the growing poverty that affected life there. In 2017, in our beautiful Victorian building, we are still at the heart of the community.
Today, Oxford House is an independent community and arts centre. We run a daily programme of activities and classes in our theatre, gallery and dance studio for everyone from under-2s to over-80s, from all of East London’s diverse social and cultural groups.
1,500 people visit us weekly; to take a class, see an exhibition or show , work for one of the 30 charities based here or volunteer for Oxford House. We are a not for profit organisation and do not receive any central government support.
The chapel is key to our future
Oxford House is a lovely old building, but is starting to show its age. The chapel is the space most affected by a failing roof, which leaks directly into it. You can see the countless buckets and plastic sheeting we have used in the picture below. We have made some temporary repairs but they are a stop-gap measure.
We need to do more. We want to see the chapel fully restored and open for community use, as part of a larger heritage project Oxford House is undertaking from 2017.
What will we do?
The ‘secret’ chapel is located on the 3rd floor of Oxford House and has been largely hidden for 130 years. We want to change that. We will sensitively repair and restore the chapel and reopen it for community use. It will be at the heart of our plans for Oxford House; hiring the chapel will generate vital income that enables us to run Oxford House on behalf of the community.
With your help the chapel will become a unique place for everything from small gigs and theatrical performances to talks, dinners and even weddings. We will register the chapel so we can provide a beautiful and intimate space for your marriage or civil ceremony. The Chapel can also be a place for contemplation or reflection away from the busy hubub of Bethnal Green. You may even want to hire it for your own event such as a family reunion or special celebration.
Tell me more!
With your help we will carry out a sensitive and careful restoration to:
• Carefully dry out the hidden timber joists and panels and prevent further damage
• Complete specialist carpentry repairs
• Conserve the original panelling, including the carved tribute to those associated with Oxford House who were killed in World War One
• Fit sympathetic new lighting that highlights the historic features
• Install new audio-visual equipment and power supply suitable to enable community events
What happens next?
We need to raise £25,000 to help save, restore and open up the chapel. Help us bring one of East London’s most beautiful lost spaces in the 21st century for the use of everyone.