Building of the Month May 2023: Primitive Methodist Chapel, Queen Street, Gillingham, Dorset SP8 4DZ
This chapel was built in 1876 to house the Primitive Methodist congregation in Gillingham. Despite its relatively small scale, the design of the chapel is confident and grand, with the front façade flanked by two towers supported by mock buttresses and topped with pyramidal roofs. The central round headed door has a small, decorative round window above it. A date stone with an inscription sits above this but the inscription is not legible. It is a solid and pleasing composition in dressed stone.
The chapel became a fabric workshop and then served as a storage facility for a charity, acquiring the name "Churchbury House" sometime along the way. In 2009 permission was granted for conversion to 6 flats and in 2015 it was on the market for £280,000 but does not appear to have sold. The particulars noted that the building came with 6 parking spaces.
The chapel has been standing empty for some time now and there are recent reports of vandalism and of its gradually deteriorating condition. Empty, this building is highly vulnerable. It could be suitable for a range of uses and is situated on a pleasant road near the centre of this well connected town near to Shaftesbury, Bruton and beautiful countryside.
We are grateful to the local Friend of SAVE who spotted this fine building and nominated it for inclusion on SAVE's Buildings at Risk Register.