Bringing history back to life…..
The Search and Finding the Perfect Property
We are expanding, our offices are too small, help!!
Fuel Storage Solutions has grown consistently since we set it up in April 2002. It was May 2017 and 15 years on (10 years since our last move), we were again looking for bigger premises to accommodate our increased numbers. In fact, we’d been looking for about a year already but nothing on the market fit our need for office and warehouse size. Everything was either all office and no warehousing, or vice versa. Then we found our gem!
In May 2017, Jonathan and I came across dilapidated Wesleyan Chapel that had been used for the production of textile products for approximately 20 years. The building had ceased to be used as a Chapel in the 1960’s.
The textile business had ceased to operate in approximately 2014 and although the owner used it for personal purposes it had not been maintained and was in a very sorry state! We decided there and then that we wanted to bring this property back to life and into use. It was perfect! We had looked far and wide trying to locate a suitable property for our expansion plans and here it was! Plenty of office space and plenty of warehousing. We put our offer in.
Wesleyan Chapel at the time of purchase
The property is a 19th century chapel (not listed I might add) and we met all the normal issues that arise when you buy something of that age. To add into the mix we were also buying the attached graveyard!! Finally, after approximately 6 months we were the owners…… Then the work really started.
We instructed a Project Manager and builder and they started work on site in January 2018. The roof was repaired and the pointing sorted, finally the black mould and damp was gradually retreating and the true beauty of this amazing old building, which had once been the heart of the community, began to re-emerge.
The internal walls were removed and the actual size of the property began to be revealed. Wow!! When we had first viewed the property we had no idea of how big it really was.
Office floor before works – Nov 2017
We really began to imagine Fuel Storage Solutions trading from there. Work was steaming forwards … until the Beast from the East and the flu epidemic hit. Work ground to a halt. Our builder couldn’t get to site and his employees (and ours) were dropping like flies with the flu. The only comfort was seeing the progress that had already been made and seeing the car park, which had originally been a woodland (see the trees at the left had side of the top picture? That is now the car park – no, it wasn’t part of the graveyard, it is the footprint of the original chapel which was demolished in the 1960’s)
Car parking – all the trees removed
Finally, at the start of March 2018, it was all hands to the pumps and once again we were rolling. The builder and his team were back to full strength and they, along with the window fitters, electricians, plasterers and other tradesmen the project was back on track. The changes have been incredible and I will share them with you once we have finished the works.
This refurbishment is an enormous project and it’s not finished yet. To date we have:
- Repaired the roof
- Stripped the internal plaster and replaced it
- Demolished internal walls and reconfigured the office area
- Replaced 4 (very disgusting) toilets
- Removed and replaced 3 kitchen areas
- Upgraded all windows (40 of them and some are huge!)
I told you they were big. Jonathan is 6 foot tall!
- Re-wired the building including new data cabling and fire alarm system
- Increased the access to the loading bay
- etc etc!!
Satisfaction and achievement
This is and has been an enormous task but we have done it with the intention of making the building beautiful again and useful for us and the ever expanding team at FSS. We could probably have bought somewhere on an industrial estate for much less hassle, but the sense of satisfaction when I see the things that have been achieved and the history we have saved in an age where everything is disposable, makes it all worthwhile.
Features of the Building
We have come across some amazing insights into the building as it used to be, including the mural and carving below. There are some amazing original features that we have been able to save.