Brighthelm Centre - North Laine History

North Laine History
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The Brighthelm Centre and Hanover Chapel

The Brighthelm Centre, formerly the Brighthelm United Reformed Church and Community Centre faces North Rd where there is a sculpture by John Skelton showing the loaves and fishes story. The Centre was built as a new home for the Central Free Church and incorporated the former Hanover Chapel, built in 1825 as an Independent chapel for the Rec’ M. Edwards and then used by the Presbyterian Church from 1844 until 1972 when the congregation combined with that of the Union Church. The chapel was used as a Greek church until 1978 but the church hall was gutted by fire in 1980.
The southern facade of the building, with twin porches, Tuscan columns and large pilasters is all that is left of the original chapel. The reconstructed building has a large hall, a café and community rooms on each of the floors.
The burial ground of the former chapel used to be sited to the west of the chapel but when Queen’s Rd was constructed in 1845, the road was built over the western edge of the cemetery. The boundary railings remain on the pavement alongside the west side of Queen’s Rd.
When the corporation took over responsibility for the churchyard it was eventually   laid out as a public garden in 1949 and   the gravestones were moved to alongside the perimeter wall.
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