A vision for St Saviours

March 3, 2015


Project name :     Alterations to and restoration of St Saviours Church Hall                                 
Client :                The Lenkiewicz Foundation and Fotonow          


The building

St Saviours Church Hall, Lambhay Hill, was built in the 1880s to serve as a Sunday school to the (former) Anglican church adjacent, itself built as a chapel of ease to the Church of the Holy Trinity in Southside Street.  The hall is a handsome two-storey building of local limestone with Ham Hill stone dressings, erected by local building contractors Messrs Palk and Partidge. Bombing destroyed both St Saviours and Holy Trinity churches in 1941, but St Saviours Hall survived largely intact, and its upper room was subsequently converted into a chapel.  Ownership of the building later passed to Plymouth City Council, and in the mid 1990s Robert Lenkiewicz acquired the tenancy under a tenancy-at-will.  The building is currently home to the Lenkiewicz library.

The clients

The Lenkiewicz Foundation is a registered not-for-profit organisation, which seeks to increase awareness of the life, work and ideas of the British-born artist Robert Lenkiewicz (1941-2002). In particular, its major aim is the explanation and dissemination of the sociological and philosophical ideas which underlie the artist’s work. In recent years The Foundation has curated major exhibitions through an expanding exhibition programme in the UK and internationally. Parallel to the exhibition programme TLF run an education programme which includes: exhibition interpretation activities; stand-alone public events, lectures and panel discussions; creative demonstrations; publications; and support for academic research.

Fotonow is a South West (UK) based Community Interest Company.  All staff are experienced media practitioners and educationalists. Through Fotonow they create new opportunities in photography and facilitate socially motivated projects exploring visual culture. The social enterprise has cultivated a distinctive identity through working with diverse communities to support the development of projects that encourage greater social inclusion and the shared exploration of the visual arts. Activities include; The South West Graduate Photography Prize, Camper Obscura, Fotonow Publishing, project and event management, photography and archival research, curatorial projects, participatory film work and more commercially focused projects through FotoPlus Collective.


A vision for St Saviours

Recent partnership work between The Lenkiewicz Foundation and Fotonow CIC has seen a shared interest in St Saviours Hall, and its potential community use by way of a joint Community Asset Transfer.  The Lenkiewicz Foundation and Fotonow’s joint business plan includes the complete restoration of St Saviours Hall to serve as a creative and educational hub for their respective projects, as well as an exemplar pilot for the social re-purposing of an underused building. 

General principles of the restoration

The restoration will involve a new internal layout to suit the day-to-day operations of each organization, new income-generating uses including a café and rental spaces, and the building’s modernisation to meet regulatory standards for disabled access, energy performance, and sanitation.  It is hoped that St Saviour’s Hall will accommodate the following functions: an educational / multi-use space; a public cafe; a reading room; office and meeting rooms; storage and ancilliary spaces; WCs and kitchen facilities.

There is an ambition to achieve fully inclusive access to all areas of the building, subject to the practical challenges of adapting the historic building structure.  The overall aspiration is for a high quality restoration of the building fabric using appropriate and sympathetic materials, with a view to minimising environmental impact and long-term running costs, whilst bringing the building back into use for the benefit of The Lenkiewicz Foundation, Fotonow CIC, and the local community.


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