Temple Church: Plans to revive building bombed in Bristol Blitz

By Steve Mellen
BBC News

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image copyrightChristopher Wilkins
image captionYoung people from Bristol have contributed ideas to what the church site could become

A church that has stood empty since being bombed in World War Two is set to be revived.

Temple Church in Bristol city centre is in the top 20 worst condition buildings belonging to English Heritage.

Built in the 15th Century and famous for its leaning spire, it has been left as a memorial to the bombardment of the Bristol Blitz.

Now an architecture firm, businesses and young people are drawing up plans to revive the site.

Originally the site of a 12th Century temple built by the Knights Templar, the church was one of many buildings hit in the Bristol Blitz of November 1940 to April 1941.

It has stood empty since, although it was used as part of events to celebrate Bristol's year as European Green Capital.

image copyrightBristol Reference Library
image captionTemple Church was built in the 15th Century
image copyrightEnglish Heritage
image captionTemple Church's leaning tower is a feature of Bristol city centre

Bristol's Architecture Centre is working with Bristol City Council, English Heritage, Steve Tompkins - the architect who led the transformation of Bristol Old Vic - and Grant Associates, the landscape architects behind Singapore's Gardens by the Bay to revive the site.

Enough money has been raised for urgent conservation work in 2021, after which a design plan will be drawn up to turn the site, on Temple Street, into a public space.

Mr Tompkins said Temple Church was a "jewel of a project" and architecture centre director Anna Rutherford said young people would be involved as they would be the "future guardians of Temple Church".

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionWinston Churchill visited Bristol after the city was targeted by the Luftwaffe

Estates director at English Heritage Rob Woodside, said: "After more than 75 years, we want Temple Church to be part of community life in Bristol once again, and it has been amazing to see what a passion there is for this wonderful building."

Design workshops have been taking place throughout 2020 involving the local business improvement district, local residents and other stakeholders.

The Architecture Centre's Shape My City programme, involving 15 to 18 year-olds, has also contributed ideas which will be part of the process.

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