Antiques centre brings new life to 14th century Norwich church
New life is being brought to a 14th century Norwich church which has been transformed into a full-time antiques centre.
St Gregory's, between Pottergate and St Benedict's Street, had been empty since it closed as St Gregory's Centre for the Arts in October 2012.
The church contains 15th century wall paintings and is one of the 18 churches managed by the Norwich Historic Churches Trust (NHCT).
Stella Eglinton, administrator for NHCT, welcomed the church's new leaseholders who are now running Pottergate Antiques and Collectables from the St Gregory's Alley church.
'We are thrilled the church is being used again,' said Mrs Eglinton. 'It seems such a good use for the space and allows the public in so they can appreciate the church, its wall paintings and architecture.
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'The new tenants seem very open to hosting things as well, like the Dragon Festival in February. They seem very happy to be involved in things like that so it seems to be a good fit.' The church is not thought to have been used for worship since the 1940s and the rent paid by the new leaseholders will be used for the upkeep and renovation of the church, with its organ due for repairs.
Robin Ebbage and his business partner Robert Charles have taken on a 10-year lease for St Gregory's.
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Mr Ebbage, from Potter Heigham, used to hold the lease for Aladdin's Cave in Magdalen Street, which is now Looses Emporium.
Mr Ebbage said: 'We've got retro clothing, shabby chic, antiques, nothing modern and over 30 traders. The art students are finding we are here now and getting their bits and bobs, so we are doing well at the moment.'
Due to the church being a listed building, the leaseholders had to apply to Norwich City Council to change its licence details and to get permission to install a new sign above its doors. Mr Ebbage added: 'We are not even allowed to drill holes in the walls, although we can obviously use the existing hooks in the walls, but the owners of the church seem like nice people to work with so hopefully it's going to work out well.'
The antiques centre is open between 10am and 5pm during the week, 10am and 5.30pm on Saturdays and midday to 4pm on Sundays.
For more information, search for 'St Gregory's Antiques & Collectables' on Facebook.