The restoration of the Whitfield Tabernacle building in Kingswood is part of an ambitious programme of regeneration of the area, as set out in the Kingswood Masterplan.

About the project

The tabernacle is owned by local community charity the Whitfield Tabernacle Trust. They want to see the Grade I listed building restored as a local community building and performing arts space.

It has been empty for 30 years and is in a state of advanced disrepair.

Project aims

The project aims to:

  • restore the Grade I listed tabernacle building
  • bring the buildings back in to use for the benefit of the local community
  • offer a unique and flexible space that will support a mixture of activities and events
  • establish a community venue with arts and performance space
  • develop a cultural quarter as a focus for arts, heritage and education in Kingswood for years to come
  • tell the stories of the people who played a part in the history and heritage of Kingswood

History of the tabernacle

The building dates from the mid-18th century and is considered a valuable part of Kingswood’s heritage. It is widely regarded to be the birthplace of Methodism. It was built as a meeting house and school room for the people of Kingswood.

You can find more information about the history associated with the building on the Tabernacle Trust’s website.

What we are doing

We are working closely with the Tabernacle Trust and local architects Ferguson Mann to fully restore the building and open it to the public, bringing it back into use for the benefit of the local community.

Since 2020 we have led the assembling of a regeneration funding package, bringing together funds from central government, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and the council’s own resources.

In 2022 we completed the first phase of the restoration, carrying out stabilisation of the building and external restoration to make it watertight.

Next steps

The second phase of the restoration is to the internal space, and includes constructing a new mezzanine level.

Work is currently focused on preparing for a planning submission early in 2024 and working on a business plan with the Trustees of the Tabernacle Trust.

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