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Description: Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre
Date Listed: 13 September 2006
English Heritage Building ID: 1407227
OS Grid Reference: SK5943405987
OS Grid Coordinates: 459434, 306000
Latitude/Longitude: 52.6485, -1.1229
Wesleyan Methodist church and school, now neighbourhood community centre. School 1896-7, church 1898-9. Converted to community centre 1974-5. Both buildings designed by Arthur Wakerley. Baroque style, with both Italian and Low Countries elements, with some Byzantine details. Red brick with terracotta and stone dressings. Slate roof. Former church front to Belgrave Road is an aedicule front of 3 bays, 3 storeys, with pilasters rising through the storeys. Central projecting entrance with round-arched doorway with double doors and fanlight. Upper part of entrance has rusticated terracotta panels. Lower double doors in bays to either side with pair of arched windows over. Above are similar windows disposed 1:3:1 then above there is a large central rose window with banded arch and with paired pilasters to either side supporting an open pediment with, on top, an acroterion surmounted by a large angel. To either side of the central bay are blank panels bordered by pilasters supporting a parapet and lower acroteria. To either side of the central aedicule are lower 2-storey elements with single windows below smaller arched ones. To left is the side of the church and then the front of the former school. The 2-storey side of the church is characterised by windows with flat-arched lintels below a pair of arched windows set between buttresses which continue upwards as angled shafts and support a series of terracotta ball finials with sections of downward curving parapet between. The wider bay to the right on the corner has a single window with a row of windows over and the parapet is upward curving.
To the left, the front of the former school has 3 facing gables, the large central one a 3-window range, then either side slightly smaller projecting ones, each with a Venetian window over a doorcase with open pediment and a round-arched window with banded lintels which is replicated in the central 3 windows on the ground floor.
The tall windows above have flat heads with friezes, cornices and strapwork cresting, then there is a gable feature with a pair of arches supporting a broken swan-neck pediment with cartouche and a low lantern above. Wall to left end is blank.
INTERIOR: Former worship area is now the main hall and theatre. It retains the gallery which is supported on a series of thin iron columns and has a part-panelled part-openwork balustrade front. The gallery shape is unusually that of an elongated octagon with the original seating going up in tiers behind the balustrade and there are further rows behind the Belgrave Road front. The rose window here and the upper part of the 3 windows below are all filled with coloured glass and decorative leading. Both up in the gallery and down below original doors and matchboarded dados survive. The roof structure consists of a number of curving steel trusses with criss-cross latticing.
Elsewhere there have been some alterations and subdivisions but staircases including one in a curving stairwell remain as well as further dados and a boarded polygonal roof in the former school hall.
The Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre was originally known as the Belgrave Hall Wesleyan Methodist church and the Mantle Memorial School and it was designed in two stages by the noted local architect Arthur Wakerley between 1896 and 1898. The foundation stone of the Mantle building was laid in 1896 and it opened in May 1897. This first building was designed to serve in the dual capacity of chapel and Sunday school with the entrance on Rothley Street. It was named in memory of Robert Mantle, one of the original trustees and first superintendent of the school. Construction of the adjoining church attached to the original building and fronting onto Belgrave Road began in 1898 in response to the increasing population in the area. It was opened in February 1899. Both church and school closed in 1974 and they were converted into a neighbourhood community centre since when thousands of people a week have used the buildings.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE
This former Wesleyan Methodist church and school is now a neighbourhood community centre. The school dates from 1896-7 and the church 1898-9 and they were converted to a community centre 1974-5. Both buildings were designed by the noted Leicester architect, Arthur Wakerley. They are in the Baroque style, with both Italian and Low Countries elements, and with some Byzantine details, and are built of red brick with terracotta and stone dressings under a slate roof.
The present main hall and theatre retains the original gallery which is supported on a series of thin iron columns and is unusually shaped as an elongated octagon with the original seating going up in tiers. The rose window facing Belgrave Road and the upper part of the 3 windows below are all filled with coloured glass and decorative leading. Although there have been some alterations and subdivisions elsewhere other original feature survive including a boarded polygonal roof in the former school hall.
As well as being of significant special architectural quality such as to fulfil the criteria for listing buildings after 1840, this complex has historic interest as a Nonconformist community caring for the growing population in this area of Leicester, and more recently as a much-used neighbourhood centre which continues to thrive.
Information from Leicester City Council.
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.