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Restoration Man focus on Baptist chapel

RestorationManA former Baptist chapel in Yorkshire is the focus of the Channel 4 show Restoration Man on Thursday (7 January). 

The programme profiles people restoring historically and architecturally significant buildings, and is presented by the architect George Clarke.

The first episode of the new series focused on couple Colin and Emma Clewes'mefforts to transform the former Hawksbridge Baptist Chapel property in Oxenhope.

Mr Clewes told the Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 'We upcycled and re-used many of the architectural features which helped us with the costs. Externally there has been very little visual change to the building. It still looks like a church from the outside.

'We're pleased with how it has turned out. We've achieved our goals and have been able to spend our first Christmas in our new home with the kids running around inside.'

The chapel was originally built in 1914, and put up for sale nearly 100 years later in 2012. Last summer series producer Bob Marsden, who now lives in London but grew up in Oxenhope, told Keighly News something of the chapel's background.

'Our series delves into the history of the buildings we feature, and it’s been incredible to uncover the strong ties between the mills and the explosion in non-conformist church movements around these valleys.

'People would work together six days a week then go to the same church on the seventh. It's a very interesting history.'

He added that the building had been in fairly good condition when the project started.

'It is a lovely building,' he said, 'but it was still very much a church that had outlived its use.

'It used to be vibrant and busy, but sadly its congregation had fallen away.

'It still had its pews and altar, so converting it into a family home has taken a lot of work. The couple have pulled out all the stops to get the project done on a tight budget.'

The programme airs at 9pm on 7 January on Channel 4.

Baptist Times, 07/01/2016
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