The Ambleside Parish Centre

The Ambleside Parish Centre

The Ambleside Parish Centre is located next to St Mary’s Church designed by the eminent Victorian architect Sir George Gilbert Scott   The site for the new building was chosen to allow the entrances to be opposite so that the two buildings can operate well together.  The intention for the design of the Centre is that it sits happily alongside the Church and has a presence as a public building in itself.

The plan of the building was angled away from the Church to open up the space between them and to frame the War Memorial which is located on the rocky bank at the top of the site.  The curves were introduced as a deliberate contrast to the angular quality of the Church and the circular form of the entrance was chosen to present a more welcoming view on approach than, given the angles, the side wall of a conventional porch would do.  The materials for the walling and roofing and the external paving are all from a single slate quarry in Elterwater. They generally match the Church although, again deliberately, not an exact match and the finish is slightly more rugged. On the elevation facing away from the Church the walls are sloped and built directly off the rock.

The building is jointly owned by the Anglican and Methodist Churches following the establishment of an ecumenical partnership in the Parish.  It houses a multi-purpose Hall with a stage, a central Foyer, a large Kitchen and toilets. At the west end is a second room, semicircular on plan, which has fully glazed walls to exploit the elevated views to the fells across the open spaces of Rothay Park.   This room, called the Wesley Room, is used for worship by the Methodists.  There is a basement under the whole building which houses a green room for the stage, a Youth Club room, stores and more toilets. There is also a first floor office. The building was partly funded by a Big Lottery community grant.

The sculptural friezes representing the four seasons and the four elements are by the artist Mr Danny Clahane – for more information about them see the separate project on the website.

The design won a Civic Trust Award and was favorably reviewed in the 2010 edition of Pevsner.