Derelict church in heart of city is put on the market

Seamen's Church

A derelict church in the heart of Bristol has been put up for sale after standing empty for decades.

The Old Seamen’s Mission Church is located just yards from Queen Square – one of the most prestigious addresses in the city.

The Yorkshire Brewery Samuel Smith own the site between Prince Street and Queen Square. It has been put on the market by estate agent Burston Cook.

The Seamen’s Church & Institute was built around 1880 and was used a base for missionaries who offered aid and comfort to mariners visiting the city.

Like large parts of historic Bristol the building was badly damaged in the war during German bombing raids.

Last summer city council cabinet member Nicola Beech wrote to Samuel Smith urging the brewery to come up with a plan for the site and a nearby plot of land.

The letter said:  “We are keen to understand if there is a long-term vision for building on your presence here, bringing back to life a long-underinvested heritage and complementing our hospitality scene.

“Bristol centre and its harbour is treasured by Bristolians and the city’s visitors.

“I’m sure we can agree that in their current state, these two sites and absolutely crying out to be brought back to life for the benefit of the city. We are keen to discuss your plans for these spaces and their potential to bring investment, jobs and a cultural benefit to Bristol.

“These locations represent prime development land, and I would therefore like to understand what the barriers to regeneration are, and how we could work together to overcome them.”

The church is being marketed by the estate agents as “a characterful building with development potential which would suit conversion to residential “or alternative commercial uses”.

A recent plan was to turn the building into a museum marking Bristol’s past as a centre for the slave trade.

Rival brewer Greene King was keen to purchase the site but its bid was rejected by Samuel Smith.


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