May 25 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
A CONVERTED former Baptist church and Salvation Army hall in Godmanchester is in line to win an ITV1 property show.
Stephen Spencer, a publisher of magazines for schools who is also chairman of Godmanchester Community Association, bought the 198-year-old building, in Silver Street, in 2010.
“At first I pictured it as a production centre and call centre for the business,” the 59-year-old told The Hunts Post. “However then I changed my mind and thought it would make quite a nice house.”
The result is that what used to be a simple hall with a walk-in bapistry in the centre is now a contemporary living space with three bedrooms, two studies and a black-and-white kitchen and dining area - all with a state-of-the-art mezzanine floor and underfloor heating.
An upstairs area overlooking the main floor has been built with a giant shower and bath area but there are still reminders of the building’s rich history, with plaques such as one commemorating former Godmanchester mayor John Lancaster.
The house was entered into the the TV show May The Best House Win, due to be broadcast later this year, where four homeowners visit each other’s houses and rate them in a bid to win £1,000.
Font House, as it is now known, was first built as a baptist chapel in 1815.
By the 1970s, it was clear to churchgoers that the building needed a lot of attention. “They had to make a decision whether to repair it at great cost or knock it down and rebuild it,” Mr Spencer said.
They chose the later and the new building was opened in 1976 but the baptist movement then outgrew the premises, so decided to move to a different location.
“During the 1980s it was sold to the Salvation Army,” said Mr Spencer. “They had the opposite problem in that their congregations were shrinking. They decided to sell it and put it on the open market.”
Mr Spencer spent about a year on the renovation work, which started in September 2011 and cost £80,000. He has now put the house on the market for £425,000.
At the back of the building is the church’s former nursery area which remains undeveloped, giving buyers further opportunity for development.
Malcolm Thomas, of Individual Properties, the selling agents, believes: “There is nothing quite like it available anywhere in this area or anywhere in Britain.”