South Devon residents have been urged to share their memories and photographs of a former Victorian church.
St Leonard’s, in Wolborough Street, Newton Abbot, first welcomed worshippers in 1836 and replaced an earlier nearby chapel, most of which was demolished for a road widening scheme. The only remains of the original is the Clock Tower which has since become the town’s best known landmark and its official logo.
The ‘new’ St Leonard’s church flourished in the first half of its life and was extended in the 1870s.
In 1983 the building was awarded a Grade II listing but by 1997 a dwindling congregation led Church of England officials to conclude that its role as a place of worship was over.
In 2016, Newton Abbot Town Council stepped in to save the dilapidated structure and develop it into Newton’s Place, a new community space and home for the town’s museum.
The project is set to open its doors in the winter of 2019/2020 and part of the scheme’s design will include people’s memories and images of the church, so the call has been made for residents to share their reminiscences.
‘Churches are very special places where people experience emotions associated with life’s landmark moments,’ said Newton’s Place Outreach Worker Kate Green.
‘In addition to being places of regular worship and where we meet with friends and neighbours, it’s often where we go at times of birth, marriage and death, so the memories can be strong. We’d like to hear some of those stories associated with St Leonard’s, along with any other memories, images and objects people might like to share. The Newton’s Place project is great news for Newton Abbot and we want to ensure we capture at least some of the essence of what St Leonard’s once meant for the people of the area’
Drop-in reminiscence sessions will take place on:
Saturday 15th September & Saturday 13th October 2018
11am - 2pm
Passmore Edwards Centre/Newton Abbot Library - in the entrance foyer
We're looking forward to hearing your stories!