St Michael and All Angels Parish Hall (or Parish Room, as it was originally called) was designed in 1884 by Bedford Park architect Maurice B. Adams, St. Michael’s first churchwarden (see drawing right).
A fund was set up to raise money for the Parish Room, through events such as a three-day “Garden Fete and Fancy Fayre” in June 1886, under the patronage of HRH The Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck. It was completed in 1887.
For many decades the hall was a thriving centre hosting concerts, tea dances, lectures, and sales of work. It was also home to Girls and Boys Brigades, and later, to Scouts, Guides and amateur dramatics groups. The Parish Hall had decayed into a terrible state – dilapidated and uninviting. Yet it is the only public building for communal use in the area. Redevelopment has been vital to meet the evolving needs of the community.
St Michael’s Parish Hall was reopened in 2001, after a £500,000 regeneration project, which rebuilt the Victorian hall as a new community centre for the whole of Bedford Park. The capacity of the building was doubled by adding an extra floor, providing three halls.
The Appeal was begun in the summer of 1998 and completed on Sunday September 29th 2002, the Feast of St Michael & All Angels, after four years and four months of fundraising. The last major fundraising event was a Michaelmas Ball in Chiswick Town Hall, which raised almost £15,000. The two-week Bedford Park Festival in June 2002 raised almost £30,000. These two events, plus money pledged through covenants over the coming years and unexpectedly high income from the Hall itself, brought the Appeal to its final total. The event was celebrated at St Michael’s patronal service. Oliver West, the church organist and one of the architects who designed the new Hall, shinned up a ladder to paint the final spindle on the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ board marking the appeal’s progress. His ladder was supported by Father Kevin Morris, the assistant priest Father Graeme Morgan and Canon Alun Evans, rector of Swansea, the visiting preacher, who unveiled a “thank you” banner made by the Children’s Church.
The imaginative design – by local architects Oliver West and John Scott – has produced a highly versatile, state-of-the-art interior while retaining and restoring all the important original internal features. The exterior has been preserved in all its unique splendour. The building project manager was Andrew Pears and the work, being carried out by Contrad Construction Ltd of Sunbury.
The Hall was re-opened in 2001 with a party for those who had helped realise the project. It was blessed by the Bishop of Kensington, the Rt Reverend Michael Colclough, on Sunday February 4th 2001.
The vicar, Father Kevin Morris said: “This is a marvellous building that is now available to the whole community for a wide range of uses, from celebration to education. We’ve already had concerts, wedding receptions, children’s parties and charity fund-raising events, as well as regular school bookings – and we look forward to many more.”