Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre
Situated in the heart of Leicester’s Golden Mile, this former Wesleyan Methodist church and school is now a neighbourhood community centre. Built in two stages between 1896 and 1899, both the church and the school were designed by Arthur Wakerley, a well-known city architect who was responsible for many of the prominent buildings in Leicester and made his mark especially in the North Evington area. They are designed in the Baroque style, with both Italian and Low Countries elements and with some Byzantine details, and are built of red brick with terracotta and stone dressings under a slate roof.
However the building was eventually converted to a neighbourhood centre by Leicester City Council and opened to serve the community in 1977. Today the building is a hive of activity and is once again caring for a growing population in this area of Leicester. Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre now boasts a turnover of over 18,000 visitors a month through the doors to enjoy the various activities on offer. The present main hall and theatre retains the original gallery which is supported on a series of thin iron columns and is unusually shaped as an elongated octagon with the original seating going up in tiers. The rose window facing Belgrave Road and the upper part of the 3 windows below are all filled with coloured glass and decorative leading. Although there have been some alterations and subdivisions elsewhere other original feature survive including a boarded polygonal roof in the former school hall.
The first building, known originally as the Mantle Memorial School, was opened in 1897 and was designed to serve as both a chapel and a Sunday school. It was named in memory of Robert Mantle, one of the original trustees and first superintendent of the school. The original entrance is on Rothley Street. In response to the increasing population of the area the Belgrave Hall Wesleyan Methodist church was attached to the school and was opened in 1899. Both the church and the school served the local community until 1974 when they were eventually closed.
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