How two noble Yorkshire buildings
found new life in the 21st century
PLEASE NOTE: This is now a legacy website that went live in January 2016. The main pages and the topical blog here have documented the four-year renovation of School House and Chapel.
TO MAKE BOOKINGS: Please click here to address inquiries about The Chapel HG1 to its new website
Welcome to my world, says Mark Hinchliffe,
owner of The Chapel HG1 in Harrogate…
◼ What does The Chapel HG1 have to offer you? Essentially, this is a spectacular meeting place for business functions and special social occasions. By the early years of this century, the Wesleyan Chapel built in 1896 in Grove Road, Harrogate, had had its day and fell into disuse. As a Yorkshire-born businessman with a track record of converting and upgrading niche properties across the county, I decided to spend three years transforming and improving this venerable Victorian landmark and its neighbouring Sunday School to ensure that their many special features as Grade II listed buildings survive to bring pleasure to new generations.
I believe visitors will respond imaginatively to the Chapel’s ingenious new interior which aims to excite the eye, so that young and old will find inspiration here after walking through our door. The new high-style decor encompasses Chinese, Indian and French themes, all given contemporary flourishes, all drawn from my extensive personal collection of furniture, fabrics and artworks acquired over a lifetime.
The Hinchliffe Collection includes quirky objets d’art and curios that express my eclectic tastes in all manner of art forms. These tastes run from contemporary prints, modernist glass-ware and classics of modern furniture to speculative purchases of vintage furnishing fabrics and bespoke wallpaper.
The Sunday School represented Stage One of this conversion project and, as a modern home, was the first to be sold to a new owner who is enjoying its 10 spacious rooms. By summer 2016 works were due to be completed on Stage Two and the Chapel would become my own home. Because of its heritage, however, I want to share it as a unique cultural salon which will welcome visitors. There will be bed-and-breakfast accommodation for what might be described as the discerning traveller and nosy-parker – individuals who are bored with the bland corporate hotel circuit. It might involve some kind of club membership, but that’s a decision still to be made.
The new dining room is perfect for an intimate soirée. Imagine a 50th birthday party for 20 of your friends. The objects from my collection are sure to spark conversation round the table – one item is the rich 19th-century Flemish tapestry that hangs along one wall (in situ above and shown in detail below). The quirkiness of the space will imprint itself on the memory and you will all be talking about the evening for years to come. The Chinese suite could have a similar impact on a smaller party of perhaps 10.
The Chapel’s largest space, the 1,700 sq ft Transept, can be readily adapted to cater for medium-scale business functions for 200 people standing, or presentations and cultural discussions requiring only 60 seats. There will inevitably be an element of exclusivity to such events.
“The Chapel HG1 will, I hope, help shape the town’s
future reputation as a sophisticated destination”
Up until 20 years ago, many people moved to Harrogate in retirement. Today this elegant town is enjoying a renaissance based on a growing nucleus of professional residents. Trendy cafes, smart destination restaurants and, noticeably, clever independent boutiques have given the place a makeover. The street plan means many of the high-street chains cannot find a foothold here, which enables the creativity of, let’s say, a vintage fashion retailer to flourish. Of course Harrogate’s historic reputation is undiminished as a beautiful spa town adorned with The Stray – its central sweep of parkland – and these attractions still bring in diverse groups and overseas visitors. Meanwhile, local businesses are promoting our potential as a weekend destination.
The Chapel HG1 will, I hope, help shape the town’s future reputation as a sophisticated destination for short breaks. You can count on one hand the houses in North Yorkshire that offer visitors a taste of culture and history, let alone an eccentric art collection like mine! And we’re bang in the middle of the HG1 postcode and conservation area. As my own eyes thrill to see the born-again Chapel emerge from the wood and plaster of the old, I seriously wonder whether the place ought to be opened to the public once a month as a gallery with a difference. Your views on such a move would be welcomed.
As caretaker of this wonderful example of Britain’s heritage, I also intend introducing a cultural programme to stimulate the popular imagination. Watch this space!
July 2016; updated May 2017
◼ This is now a legacy website that went live in January 2016. As such, the main pages and our topical blog have documented the background to the four-year renovation of School House and Chapel.
To make bookings, please click here to address inquiries about The Chapel HG1 to its new website
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The Chapel HG1
Yorkshire HG1 5EW
Tel: +44 (0)7790 902 603
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