Town centre church demolished after 124 years
A church which has graced Hemel Hempstead’s town centre for 124 years is being torn down to make way for new developments at the site.
The Marlowes Methodist Church first opened its doors in 1890, but work has begun to demolish it as part of plans to improve West Herts College’s Dacorum campus.
Construction worker Russ Smith, of Herts-based Lantern Demolition, explained the work was being carried out in stages, as the old structure of the church meant there would be a risk of pieces of the building falling onto the busy Marlowes main road.
Tony Shephard, husband of retired deacon at the church Ann, said during the holy building’s last service back in March: “It is a building with many memories.
“God is permanent but our buildings are not and we move onto the future but He is always with us.
“The service was a closing of a door but the church is looking forward to its future.”
Supermarket Morrisons was due to move onto the neighbouring Civic Centre site and plough £25million into the associated development of the public service quarter and college, but the grocery giant pulled out of the deal because a planned petrol station was blocked under environmental concerns for the underground water table.
Meanwhile, the church is having a new home built in Northridge Way.
The site is due to be completed by February - a whole year after the original finish date.
The project stalled after problems with the original contractors, but now new builders - Life Build Solutions Ltd - have been brought in to continue the project.
Until the new church is ready services will be conducted by its vicar, the Rev Vindra Maraj-Ogden, at Warners End Community Centre.
This story will be updated with a video report by Natalee Hazelwood on the demolition process.