St Cyprian's Hall, Brockley Road


St Cyprian's Hall, the disused former Roman Catholic Church on the corner of Braxfield Road and Brockley Road is up for auction on September 22nd. The site also includes the Dunphys undertakers and two houses.

Readers Michael and Anna have both been in touch about the auction, which is in a key location in Brockley. If the site was put to good use, it could help to lift a struggling part of Brockley's high street. Or it could be done badly...

Anna went along for the recent open day with an interest in buying it, but was daunted by the size of the property and the scale of the work required to rennovate it. Here's her report:

The place is ENORMOUS. I'd say it's 6 Talbots' worth of space. It's in a terrible state and it's depressing in there at the moment.

There's no natural light in the main rooms and the ceilings have either been lowered or built low which hardly makes the most of the space. There is a labyrinth of rooms and corridors around and behind the main hall, including two kitchens and an enormous bar at the back of the hall; all have huge potential, but just horribly claustrophobic at the moment.

There's rat poison down everywhere and it's damp with buckets catching ceiling drips in many places. I think it's a project for someone who wants the space not the structure - you could put many flats in there.

Or its the perfect place for parties...fill it with people and music and lights and the decor doesn't really matter.

There were a group of viewers there hoping to make it back into a church. I'll definitely be at the auction to see what happens!

43 comments:

Sue said...

The nearest neighbours will definitely be hoping that it doesn't become a party venue, as they had to put up with a fair amount of disturbance when funeral parties were held there!

Does anyone have any evidence to back up the rumour that this is where Spike Milligan performed his first gig, or is it just that, a rumour?

I suspect the building isn't going to get a preservation order or anything slapped on it and that it may now be lost to community use, given the state the RC Southwark Diocese have allowed it to get into and the money it would take to bring it back into use. However, I would like to see any new development either bring back into use the arched doorway and maintain the front facade, or else something else of decent design to inject a bit of energy back into that section of Brockley Road.

I blogged about this a week or so back.

Headhunter said...

Yes I remember hearing that church hall was famous for something, but I can't remember what it was....

Anonymous said...

FLATS.

barryls said...

Not my favourite building in Brockley architecturally.

Sense said...

Perfect space for a regional theatre (like Arcola in Dalston) but most likely to become flats that are too small.

Marisa said...

I don't think the ceiling has been lowered, but the floor has definitely been raised. This was to allow the movement of lots of people dancing on it.

Some friends of mine who live on Foxberry Road remembers Spike performing here and I remember he also mentions it in one of his books (will blogg later when I find out).

St Cyprians has got a covenant attached to it where by it says the church cannot sell it because the parishoners at the time raised the money to buy it for the community. It was up for sell about a year ago but because this was brought to the Diocese attention they had to withdraw from the sell. I don't know what has changed since then. Does anyone know which body one can raise this with?

Anonymous said...

It would make a perfect bar or nice restaurant, something which Brockley actually needs, not more flipping artists areas - it has a lovely front facade. Not more flats please - the undertakers building on the corner could never be leveled for flats surely - that would be criminal.

graeme said...

I'm usually the one to shout about/perpetuate the Spike/St Cyprian's myth, so i feel responsible for providing evidence.

http://www.brockley.com/brocsoc/pdf/newsletter/bsnl0303.pdf

Hardly gospel, but hey.

(The onus is now on Mike Keogh, but it also gets mentioned in Spike's autobiography)

Hugh said...

How about using it as the venue for a new state of the art table tennis club?

er none a mouse said...

What's the difference between States of the Art and regular Table Tennis?

fred vest said...

looks like the kind of thing that the UKCG would snap up with their petty cash

John Ex-Moonbow said...

I tried to engage with the local Catholic parish priest on a number of occasions regarding the hall over the years. I made numerous attempts to engage him and the diocese but to no avail. The church has deliberately run this place down with wanton neglect and any attempts to return a community, or commercial use, has been met with rudeness and arrogance. One of the reasons for being an ex-catholic is the Catholic Church, for me, is not interested in community, or other faiths, and this is why it is a dying Corporation. This is a community space, built with money from the catholic Irish community and if the Church wishes to sell it then that money should be returned to the community of Brockley to whom it belongs.

John Ex-Moonbow

Anonymous said...

It's sad there isn't a Catholic church in Brockley. I find I need my faith more and more these days and it would be lovely to have a local place to worship. But hey ho.

Ross said...

someone has done themselves a fantastic bit of business if they get this for near guide price.

Anonymous said...

What is the guide price?

Anonymous said...

oops just spotted the link

£600,000 Plus, in answer to my own question

graeme said...

"looks like the kind of thing that the UKCG would snap up with their petty cash"

I'm not sure who they are. Googling UKCG throws up UK Contractors Group. Is this yet another window-cleaning organisation?

;)

graeme said...

Reading the article linked to in your blog Sue, St Cyprians church stood where the new Prendergasts building is now (next to St Cyprians passage - the cut through between Ivy and Adelaide). Pretty sure Ladywell Close used to be bombed-out/derelict terraces which became squats up until the seventies when they were pulled down.

Tamsin said...

@ Marisa. It's just possible that it might be registered in which case any covenants would show up on the title which is now open to public view. Is there a solicitor or something on the blog who can do a quick Index Map Search with the Land Registry and get OCEs if it does prove to be registered?

Tamsin said...

Just read Sue's blog. If it changed hands in 1968 it would be registered (unless there is some special rule for church land). Maybe the intervening year has been spent in getting the covenant removed with the agreement of the CofE and application to the relevant tribunal. If so, is shows surprising financial acumen on the part of both ecclesiastical bodies.

Rebecca said...

@ Anonymous 11 September 2009 18:50

"It's sad there isn't a Catholic church in Brockley...it would be lovely to have a local place to worship."
There is a Catholic church in Brockley - St Mary Magdalen's on Howson Road.

Sue said...

As far as I'm aware, no one actually has a copy of the original covenant, although apparently there is still a surviving witness to it being signed, an elderly man who lives nearby. I haven't managed to make contact with him, or any of those who campaigned on this a couple of years back though!

However, even if the covenant was found and upheld, the question would be where the local community would find the hundreds of thousands of pounds needed to make the building safe and usable. Unless someone has some great social enterprise business model up their sleeves, involving building some flats to the rear to finance the repair of the hall and its return to community use?

Anonymous said...

I only remember It being Brockley Catholic Club,Played darts there, fruit machines and alcohol, real Catholic church wouldn't you say.

4x4 said...

Wow-I hadn't noticed this was up for auction-could be of interest.
One of my guys might try to get a viewing.
I am sorry to disappoint but my initial thoughts are pull it down and build flats (subject to planning).
I sure I won't be alone in my thinking come the auction. It will be interesting to see what it goes for-could be a nice project for someone.

Headhunter said...

This sounds a bit like the issue we initially had with the site of the proposed nursery on Manor Avenue, we thought the land was owned by the United Services Club rather than the random group of individuals that seem to want to sell it for commercial use.

fred vest said...

"I'm not sure who they are. Googling UKCG throws up UK Contractors Group. Is this yet another window-cleaning organisation?"

apologies, can't even spell acronyms

should have been the UCKG, an evangelist/pentecostal church grouping with deep pockets

Anonymous said...

For those of us who live on Braxfield Road have the place closed has meant we can actually park near our homes. Much as it would be great to see the building put to good use, selfishly really don't want to not be able to park again.

Anonymous said...

Why not make It Into a carpark then.

God said...

My land turned into a carpark? Not in my back yard!

By the way if you need somewhere to park I have a range of ministeries along the length of the Old Kent Road...

patrick1971 said...

Heaven forbid that someone might not be able to park...

Lady said...

Lewisham planning told me that because its prior use is as a community space, you'd have to stick to that kind of usage or apply for permission to have that changed; then they'd look very carefully at what it was you wanted to do with it. So for example a gallery type space might be ok whereas a commercial bar might not.

Paddyom said...

This place sold for £955k - 60% higher than the quoting price. Good result for SE4 proprty but lets try and find out who bought it - this is a pivitol piece of SE4 real estate!

Anonymous said...

Hello. Thanks for the interest. However, we should correct some false assumptions. The church hall wasn't the only building purchased.(It included a nearby number of houses and the funeral home too.) Hopefully the council will allow the demolition of the hall so that the plans for the seven-floor residential apartment block with shops below can commence as soon as possible. Brockley View is an exciting project that will make that portion of the road vibrant and pleasant for all.

Manti Properties

Ross said...

that is either a great joke post or really depressing one.

Rolleyes said...

Why just the seven floors? Why not go for twenty?

Anonymous said...

Not in my back yard!

graeme said...

*Google circuits blow as entire SE4 population searches 'Manti properties'*

Brockley Nick said...

haha, just what I'm doing now!

Monkeyboy said...

I heard Tony Soprano is opening a Bada Bing franchise [buy the box set if you've no idea what I'm on about]

graeme said...

Being SE London, surely we should be glorifying our own home-grown gangster talent? How about Bob Hoskins in "The Long Good Friday" (some of which was shot in the Downham Tavern nr Catford), and the loveable Chislehurst/West Kingsdown rogues, including Kenneth Noy, implicated, and I think charged for the Brinks Mat robbery and M25 shooting.

I have a feeling this post might get deleted...

Brockley Fox said...

Hi.

I live on Braxfield road and I wont be sorry to see this eye sore demolished. The two terraced houses will probably remain, and be refurbished quickly. As for the rest of the land, i'm seriously hoping there is a tesco on the groundfloor! we need some decent shops here. And if tesco open up, then the "best buy" people will either have to learn customer service skills, including saying "thank you" (just once in 3 years would be nice", or it will go clos,e and we cna out something better there instead.

oryx said...

There's already a Brockley View (a street running by Blythe Hill Fields) so the proposed name is well confusing.

Sue said...

OK, I was on Braxfield Road today and saw the door was open and did my nosey cllr/Miss Marple routine. The site has either been bought by, or is currently being leased by the Redeemed Church of God. I spoke to the Pastor who said they are planning to hold their first service tomorrow.

A couple of residents I spoke to on the street were concerned about whether the building was safe to hold a service in, given the reason the Catholic Diocese gave for closing the building a couple of years back was that the roof was unsafe. So I've logged a call with the Council's out of hours environmental health team, which is probably all I can really do until Monday.

I suspect it probably doesn't need planning permission given it was previously used as a church, but I can check that with Planning on Monday. If their congregation comes from a wide area and parking becomes an issue, that also may be an issue for Highways to address.

The Pastor said they weren't planning to demolish any of the buildings and were looking to bring the front entrance of the church back into use, which could be positive in terms of enhancing the frontage with Brockley Road. There may eventually be the potential for some kind of community use in the building too, but it's still early days.

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