◼ Today The Chapel HG1 hosted a launch party for its own coffee-table book telling of the redevelopment of this Victorian building into a private house and art gallery offering boutique B&B accommodation. The Chapel Harrogate by its owner Mark Hinchliffe runs to 160 pages lavishly illustrated with images taken during the four-year conversion, including items from his collection. Priced £30, it is available from the Chapel website and Waterstones Harrogate.
“ In a town like Harrogate, with such strong connections with the Methodist movement, it is hardly surprising that at the height of the Victorian mania for building, there were many places in the town known as the chapel, according to where one lived or which branch of non-conformity was followed. Today however, the words “The Chapel” usually refer to only one place, which within the space of a few months rose to become famous not only in Harrogate, but throughout the nation, and, increasingly, is becoming known to a global community of discerning travellers and film makers.
“To call “The Chapel” an art gallery, a guest house, or a bed and breakfast establishment would be like calling Claridges or the Ritz, lodging houses. “The Chapel” is altogether unique, and came into being in the following way.
“When the urbanisation of the Grove Road locality occurred in the last quarter of the 19th century, the local Methodists built a school in 1892, the success of which encouraged the building of a large chapel on an adjoining site as their place of worship. The commission went to celebrated Yorkshire architect W. J. Morley, whose superb Italian Renaissance design was executed from 1896-1897. The resulting monumental pile was enriched with magnificent woodwork, dazzling stained glass by Lazenby of Bradford, and a galleried place of assembly that accommodated seven hundred people.
“But when congregations dwindled, the pragmatic trustees transferred to a smaller home, and the building, together with the attached school, were acquired by art connoisseur and businessman Mark Hinchliffe, who converted the former school into apartments before transforming the former chapel into a home for himself and family, and a place to exhibit his phenomenal collection of world art.
“This visionary task was completed in 2017, the painstaking work of restoration receiving regular coverage by the interested media, including much attention from the makers of TV programmes. Today, the former spacious balcony includes a series of spectacular rooms that are available for hire to guests from all over the world, as “The Chapel” is an exclusive place for receptions, weddings, parties, corporate hospitality, meetings and bed and breakfast accommodation. The spectacular success of Mark Hinchliffe’s venture is why, today, the words “The Chapel” mean only one thing. ”