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City church to close after 200 years

PUBLISHED: 06:30 20 August 2020

The refurbished United Reformed Church on Princes Street, Norwich, which is closing after 200 years. Picture: United Reformed Church

The refurbished United Reformed Church on Princes Street, Norwich, which is closing after 200 years. Picture: United Reformed Church

United Reformed Church

A church which has served an urban congregation for 200 years is closing.

An archive picture of the original Princes Street United Reformed Church which dates back to 1828. Picture: United Reformed ChurchAn archive picture of the original Princes Street United Reformed Church which dates back to 1828. Picture: United Reformed Church

The United Reformed Church (URC) on Princes Street, Norwich, dates back to 1828 and underwent a major refurbishment in 2014.

Following a survey in June 2018, it was revealed that nails holding roof tiles in place were corroding meaning the entire roof would need replacing.

Lesley Graham, Green Party city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet ward in Norwich. Pic: Green Party.Lesley Graham, Green Party city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet ward in Norwich. Pic: Green Party.

A church spokesperson said: “After 200 years serving the Norwich city community, the URC is deeply sad to announce that Princes Street URC in Norwich is close.

“The decision was made on August 4 at a church meeting where it was agreed by a clear majority that repair bills for the building were simply too high for the congregation to meet.

“There are around 25 people that make up the congregation at Princes Street URC each Sunday who are increasing in age, and it was felt that with a dwindling congregation they would not be able to take on such a large project.”

A date for the final service in the church has not been set and the building will be returned to the URC Eastern Synod Trust.

The Revd John Potter, minister of Princes Street URC, said: “Deciding to close has been a very difficult decision for the church to make, especially after the highlights of the celebrations that marked the bicentenary of the church last year.

MORE: Major revamp plan for Princes Street United Reformed Church in Norwich



“We are all deeply saddened at having to leave such a beautiful, historic place of worship. I hope that whoever buys the building will respect its heritage and use and be able to preserve it for the future benefit of the city.”

Lesley Grahame, who represents the Thorpe Hamlet ward on Norwich City Council where the building stands, said: “It is very sad news. It is a very beautiful church and a very welcoming church for all sorts of groups in the community. It will be greatly missed.

“It is a congregation that makes a church. I wish them the very best for whatever they do next.”

The Princes Street building is one of seven URC bases in Norwich and the surrounding area.

Other churches in are on Unthank Road, Ipswich Road, Jessop Road as well as in Bowthorpe, Norwich.

It also has churches in Wymondham and Wroxham and Hoveton.

As well as services the church was a vital setting for community activities, according to its website.

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