Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Monday 27 September 2021

If These Walls Could Talk: New Book Unearths History & Stories From Fabrica's Brighton-Based Building

If These Walls Could Talk, a new book from Brighton's Fabrica - written by Phyllida Shaw - has been in development as part of a National Lottery Heritage Funded project, PAST:PRESENT:FUTURE, and is based on hundreds of hours of research by a small volunteer research team, led by coordinator, Sally Connellan. 

This book was researched and written between late 2018 and early 2021 as part of a project designed by Fabrica to discover and tell the stories of the building it has called home for 25 years. 

The National Lottery Heritage Fund agreed to fund some essential repairs and improvements to the Grade II listed former church, a new heritage engagement programme, and a volunteer-led programme of research into the history of the building and the people who have worked and worshipped in it since it opened in 1817.

A team of Fabrica volunteers worked together to research, record and illuminate the many stories from our building"s history. 

From understanding the structure of the church through its many physical adaptations, to how individuals connected with the building have impacted our story both as a place for connection and contemplation, and our position in our wider community.

The chapters involve: The building; its timeline, context and development. The arts and crafts; the craft makers and firms that shaped notable elements of the building. 

The people; their stories and the impact they had on the history of the building. 

It ends with Fabrica's 25 years in the Holy Trinity. Research was found in a number of fantastic local organisations & institutions, various people and digital means. 

Images include found historical images as well as new photography documenting the details of the beautiful building as it stands today. 

In 1817, Thomas Read Kemp built himself a chapel in Ship Street as a base for his new evangelical sect, within a few years he lost interest and turned his attention to developing what would become Kemp Town. 

Kemp's or Ship Street Chapel became part of the established Church of England in 1826. It was known as Trinity Chapel and later Holy Trinity Church. 

The building was remodeled three times before the end of the 19th century. 

Between 1926 and 1971 when the last permanent incumbent left, a succession of priests were appointed to look after the church and its congregation and served anything from two to 28 years. 

They came from a variety of social backgrounds, they had been born in England, Wales, the USA, India and Jamaica; they had traveled different educational and professional paths (teacher, writer, mucisiam, coal miner, policeman) and they did and did not have families; they were at the start and end of their career. 

For more information on If These Walls Could Talk CLICK HERE.

by: Mike Cobley


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