Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Save Rochester Square Spiritualist Temple

Developers in London have applied to Camden Borough Council for permission to demolish the Rochester Square Spiritualist Temple. They want to build residential units and a gallery there. This is one of the most famous Spiritualist churches in the world and is one of the cornerstones of Spiritualism in Britain. It was founded in 1926 and has hosted such greats as Arthur Conan Doyle and Helen Duncan. Please sign this petition to save it: https://gopetition.com/petitions/save-rochester-spiritualist-temple.html.

Margaret Hahn, Helen Duncan's granddaughter, as made the following appeal to the Spiritualist National Union:
"Helen Duncan's granddaughter
My personal statement:
I became involved in assisting Rochester Square Spiritualist Temple, to help their members save their church. Not many people may know, but my grandmother Helen Duncan, was visited by someone of that congregation, when she was in Holloway prison awaiting trial.
I can inform you first hand after reviewing Camden Planning documents via online, from my understanding and from my own research, these are the facts I have found. The SNU has lied about the church closing in 2012, it may look to have closed in January 2014, but online it is written that the last meeting was on the 6thSeptember 2014. It was only closed to be refurbished this is SNU statement in The Evening Standard.
How can members support or trust an organization that lies on public record? As I've stated before, I have heard from many churches up and down the country, hearing the same story of churches being closed after they have asked for my help from their own organisation, who are listed as a charity.
This is the first time I became involved since this Church has such historical value to many Spiritualists that care. As one of the greatest physical mediums of our times Helen Duncan's granddaughter, I knew I had to become involved.
I would like to ask the SNU why don't they use the 13 million pounds that are publicly known to be in their bank account. Yes you heard me correct 13 million, is that there to help the community? Every charity should have six months in reserves, but 13 million? I will correct this statement it's 11 million in assets. From the charity commission. Link below anyone can look up the financials.
I worked for Charities and any extra money we always reinvested it into the community we served. Yes, I know the SNU will do fundraising and give that money to another charity but how much do they give from their bank account?
The SNU has a legal, ethical and moral responsibility to maintain a property since taking on the role as trustee’s, It appears no maintenance, or refurbishment way done to the exterior, allowing for overgrowth. So what happens when the Trustee who took over the building neglects it. I'll tell you it becomes an eyesore within the community. How does a community respond to an eyesore they want it gone.
Another question I have to the SNU is couldn't you have spent 50 pound a month out of your 13 million in the bank to ensure that the property didn't become an eyesore?
It was mentioned in a newspaper article back in March 2014, which involved some squatters, the SNU spokesperson stated they would refurbish the building, what happened?
Was it left intentionally to appear as an eyesore to the community in which it served? I believe this is exactly what was done. I will attach pictures so you can see.
The question is who do you trust when the very body, that the church has become affiliated with such as the SNU, don’t act in the best interests of the church, their members or the community. I have heard that many churches have taken out loans to help cover the costs, only to have their churches sieged on failure to meet the requirements in the upkeep. Is this the reason why so many churches are closing and being sold off, to cover the cost of a take-out loan? Another thing I have heard and is common knowledge within the Spiritualists Community is if a church has problems or the SNU has wants to sell the church. The SNU puts in their own committee forcing members out and of course the SNU committee wil vote however the NEC wants. Selling the church.
I'd like to ask the SNU out of all the churches they've sold over the years how many have been restablished? My guess is it's not many
Let's see if I get a response from the SNU.
Surely, Spiritualists should help Spiritualists, like some did in the past, like Hannen Swaffer, Barbie (Maurice Barbanell) who were a part of this very Church, who supported my grandmother. Look what happened to my grandmother and her personal property. I put the question to you, where do your loyalties stand? To fight for what is right or to bury your head in the sand. It might this church now, but tomorrow it might be yours. Same thing goes for your certification I know of one man who fought to save Wimbledon church and the SNU revoked his certification. Good medium too, yes SNU I hear everything. Pretty sad that I 10,000 miles away know what's going on."


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Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Glad you like it, PMM. Thanks.

David Grove said...

This is terrible news. I have read about it in Private Eye. It seems the SNU is more interested in money that retaining an historic building with such important connections. Is there a petition somewhere?

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

I agree, David. Yes there is a link to the petition in the article.