Bid to reopen Victorian church in Sheffield gaining momentum

St Matthias Church in Stocksbridge
St Matthias Church in Stocksbridge

A Victorian church in Sheffield is closer to getting a new lease of life as a community hub, with growing backing for the plans.

St Matthias Church in Stocksbridge closed in July after a huge decline in attendances at the cavernous building, which held up to 1,000 people during its heyday.

The church would be used as a flexible performance space, under the proposals

The church would be used as a flexible performance space, under the proposals

The Diocese of Sheffield is now looking to sell the 19th-century premises, and various groups have united in an attempt to save it for the community.

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Another public meeting is due to take place next week before a report is presented to Stocksbridge Town Council the following evening seeking its support.

Under the plans, the church building on Manchester Road would be used to host plays and performances, and to stage exhibitions.

The church is noted for its spectacular stained glass windows

The church is noted for its spectacular stained glass windows

The undercroft could be converted to house small businesses and the surrounding space could be enhanced to better connect Stocksbridge and Fox Valley.

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There are also hopes that the building or surrounding area could in future accommodate a railway station should efforts to reopen the old Woodhead line to passenger traffic prove successful.

Talks have already taken place between the interested groups and the diocese and church commissioners.

The community takeover is being spearheaded by Chris Bell, of Don Valley Railway and the Friends of St Matthias group, who said there had been a ‘great deal of interest’ from local organisations.

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“There is a high degree of synergy between groups who met back in August about the future of St Mathias,” he added.

The public meeting will take place at Stocksbridge Town Hall on Wednesday, September 12, at 7pm.