On the edge of inner-city Belfast, Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church serves as a sober reminder of the city’s architectural legacy and its troubled past. Designed in the Gothic Revival style by noted architect W. H. Lynn and completed in 1875, the church was home to one of the largest Methodist congregations in Belfast. The sandstone and limestone exterior of the building was renovated in 1966, but the church ceased to be used as a place of worship by 1982, a consequence of the declining congregation and its location at a major interface between Catholic and Protestant populations. Previous plans to convert the church to public housing did not come to fruition.
Since the Watch
Belfast Buildings Trust (BBT) launched the first phase of renovation work in February 2015 with a visit from project funders, who have come up with £850,000. This first phase will deliver a shell restoration and provide space for communities from across the city to work together on a program of capacity building and civic engagement. BBT plans to fully regenerate the Church to include a hospitality training academy by 2020. The Northern Ireland Department of the Environment has provided an additional £300,000 for the restoration of the church and overall regeneration of the area. February 2015