St James and St Basil, Fenham, Newcastle
In December 2014, the National Churches Trust awarded a £10,000 Community Grant to St James and St Basil's, Fenham, Newcastle
Built in 1931, St James and St Basil's, is a Grade II listed example of late arts and crafts architecture, built by Jack and Eric Lofting. It is dedicated to James and Basil, sons of James Knott, who were killed in the First World War. It has two equally high and wide nave and south aisles and a squat battlemented tower with projecting clock at the street corner with a garden to one side. There are many distinguishing features in the church including beautiful stained glass windows by Edward Woore designed around texts from psalm 104.
The project's aim was to create space for hospitality in order to promote and enhance social interaction for its diverse community and to support a range of activities. Under the direction of Christoph Oschatz Kiosk architect, and the designer/maker Nick James, both local, they designed and created a state of the art kitchen and servery at the West end of the church in the side nave. When in use, it opens up to provide a recycling unit, dishwasher, fridge, easy access storage space with bespoke cupboards and work surfaces made of ‘Corian’ that run seamlessly. The screen doors are made with walnut and interfaced with fabric. A walnut servery stands in front of the kitchen and is similarly interfaced with this fabric. When closed, the kitchen discretely disappears into the fabric of the church.
As a result of the works, the Café @ J’s & B’s is open as a cafe one day a week (Thursdays) with a range of homemade cakes, soup, bacon sandwiches, cheese scones and fair-trade coffee and pots of tea. The café fulfils the need for a place for people to meet and participate in activities and has become an important ‘drop-in’ for young parents in the area, which was an unforeseen need. There are few facilities in this area for young parents to meet each other. Grandparents can also be isolated without a network of support and the café has become a facility for them in the same way. The church also hosts a group for Asian gentleman, organised by Age UK, who meet to play cards and games. The church has also been used as a pop-up restaurant. The availability of refreshments has also enabled the development of a very popular series of monthly Saturday concerts at St James and St Basil’s.
"We are greatly indebted to National Churches Trust for their generous grant to us". Nicki Walter, PCC Secretary
The church is open 8am to 5.30pm on weekdays.
In November 2016 the church was awarded the 'Best Church Building Project' at the Christian Funders' Forum awards.