Winchester Meeting House

Hampshire Chronicle, Friday November 16th, 1973



Over fifty years ago, this headline appeared above an article in the Hampshire Chronicle after a small group of Winchester Quakers had just bought St Lawrence's Rectory on Colebrook Street.  They were busy renovating the "old and beautiful building" to serve as a place of worship on the ground floor, with the upper floors dedicated to providing social housing for those in need. With a local membership at the time of only thirty, the newspaper article speaks of the great act of faith - or madness - required for such a mammoth undertaking. It tells the story of 'all hands to the pump' as members and volunteers rolled up their sleeves and got on with the task of decorating and preparing the fine old listed building for its new purpose. 

Fifty years on and this act of madness continues to grow from strength to strength. The building serves as a home for seven 'at risk' residents, a community hub enjoyed by various charities and socially engaged projects, and of course as the quietly powerful space for Quaker meeting three times a week. Most recently a pagoda has been added to one corner of the beautiful gardens, overlooking the flourishing communal vegetable patch. 

We open our building to the public every year for the Heritage Open Days, when you can take a leisurely look around before enjoying a cream tea and perhaps a music recital in the grounds.