West Bay chapel

West Bay Chapel

Former Methodist Church at West Bay in Dorset. Grade II Listed. Project to convert the West Bay chapel into a visitors’ centre for Bridport Area Development Trust (BADT). Opened to the public on 1st August 2018.

West Bay Discovery Centre won gold in the Dorset Tourism Award 2019 for ‘New Business’ and silver award in December 2019 for the ‘New Tourism Business Award’, at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards.  The Centre was also winner of the Best Dorset Community Heritage Project 2019.

You can find out more about the West Bay Discovery Centre on their website,  westbaydiscoverycentre.org.uk, or on Twitter @WestBayDC.

Chapel on the Beach

The West Bay chapel had been empty and unused since it ceased use as a place of worship in 2006. BADT was awarded a £240,000 grant from the government’s Coastal Communities Fund in April 2017 and has been working closely with Bridport and West Bay Coastal Community Team to breathe new life into the Grade II-listed building. The interior displays, which are being finalised, will show how West Bay has developed over time had a very significant shipbuilding industry, been a successful trading port and finally staked its future on tourism. It will also tell the longer-term story of the area’s geology and its place in the World Heritage Coast.

BEFORE:

West Bay chapel before conversion and repair.
West Bay chapel
Original floor joists were laid directly on the beach.
Kim Sankey inside West Bay Methodist Church
Architect Kim Sankey and builder Cristian Icoara survey the building soon after work begins.
Interior West Bay Methodist Church Feb 18
The chapel interior in winter 2018.

AFTER:

West Bay Methodist Church interior
A mezzanine has been added above the entrance to the church. This provides a small office area. Below it is a wheelchair-accessible toilet and understairs storage.
West Bay chapel
The display space seen from the mezzanine.
West Bay Chapel
Great care was taken to conserve the original windows.
West Bay chapel
The restored exterior of the firmer Methodist Church, soon to be a visitor centre.
West Bay chapel
The entrance porch after conservation work.
West Bay chapel
Architect Kim Sankey on the mezzanine stairs in the West Bay Chapel.