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Historic Holy Trinity Reveals £4.5m Plans To Transform Into Stunning 2017 Venue

Friday 7th November 2014

Holy Trinity Church, Hull’s most amazing place, today revealed ambitious plans to transform into a leading heritage, cultural and tourism venue by the 2017 UK City of Culture year.


The Vicar of Holy Trinity, the Rev Canon Dr Neal Barnes, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, and the Chair of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, Rosie Millard, came together to announce a £4.5m development project for England’s largest parish church.

The transformation will see Holy Trinity’s magnificent interior restored and remodelled to create a new flexible space in a beautiful setting for Christian worship, as well as providing first-class facilities for banquets, concerts and a wide range of artistic and cultural events and performances. The plans, which also include a stylish new café of the highest quality, will, in effect, create an iconic new venue in time for Hull’s year in the national cultural spotlight.

Meanwhile, outside the church, Trinity Square will be transformed with a stunning piazza-style public space as the centrepiece of the Old Town and a beacon for the regeneration of Hull’s heritage quarter. The plans for Trinity Square have been developed jointly by Holy Trinity and Hull City Council and will see the churchyard and square become a seamless space.

Holy Trinity is Hull’s finest Grade 1 listed building and dates back more than 700 years to when Edward I granted a Royal Charter to the former settlement of Wyke to create Kings Town upon Hull (Kingston upon Hull).

Building upon hundreds of years of Christian worship, the church has in recent times established a growing reputation for hosting cultural and community events, ranging from Hull’s premier real ale and cider festival to concerts and plays, and the sensitive redevelopment of Holy Trinity and its surroundings will enable many more such uses.

The transformation will support the objectives of the City Plan, which aims to create 7,500 new jobs over 10 years, including by establishing Hull as a major visitor destination.

The project already has £1.5m in firm pledges from individual benefactors. The remainder of the project costs are expected to be raised from significant donations, trust funds and foundations.

The redevelopment will open up new income streams to provide a financially sustainable future for Holy Trinity as a magnificent place of faith and worship in the heart of Hull, as well as preserving a building of local and national architectural and heritage significance.

Subject to planning permission from Hull City Council and consent from the Diocese of York, physical changes will begin early in 2015 and the project will be completed by late 2016.

Rev Canon Dr Neal Barnes said: “I see this project in the context of the history of Holy Trinity. Seven hundred years ago it was constructed by the people of Hull for the people of Hull, for worship principally, but also for the community generally.

“So this project will breathe new life into this ancient building to advance the worship of God and also open it up to the community in ways that will enable Hull to grow.

“Our plans for Holy Trinity will enhance Hull’s vibrancy and cultural diversity and add a spiritual depth to it. Holy Trinity is a beautiful and inspiring building and these changes will enable us to do amazing things and offer amazing experiences within magnificent surroundings.”

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said: “One of the great biblical images of God’s Kingdom of love and justice is a banquet where all are invited to the feast.

“The Church seeks to embody that gracious welcome in all that it does. I am delighted that Holy Trinity is reimagining ways to open up that invitation to the people of Hull, residents and visitors alike, in the 21st Century.  Come and join the feast.”

Chair of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, Rosie Millard, said: “Holy Trinity Church is one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring buildings in the country, let alone in East Yorkshire.

“Through this transformation, Holy Trinity can become, once again, a focal point and a beacon in the historic heart of Hull. I’m delighted to see the church looking to the future in ways that will introduce it to a wide, new audience.”

John Robinson, Chair of Holy Trinity Development Trust, which is driving forward the project, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the city, as it will restore and recreate the historic heart of Hull, but it depends upon significant financial support.

“We are calling on individuals and businesses that have prospered in Hull and the wider region to back this project. With £1.5m committed in advance of our public launch, we are confident of delivering this amazing transformation, but it cannot be achieved without full and generous support.”

Councillor Steven Bayes, Hull City Council Portfolio Holder for City of Culture and the Visitor Destination strand of Hull’s City Plan, said: “This is an exciting scheme that complements the council’s plans to re-energise and attract more visitors and residents to the Old Town for 2017 and beyond.  

“Holy Trinity Church has a very special place in the cultural life and history of the city. These plans will ensure it continues to play a growing and vital role for generations to come.”


About Holy Trinity

  • Holy Trinity is a unique and  iconic place – a magnificent, vibrant place of worship offering a welcoming Christian presence in the heart of Hull’s Old Town. 
  • It is England’s largest parish church, the oldest brick-built building in the country still used for its original purpose, and  Hull’s civic church. With its beautiful architecture and vast grandeur,  Holy Trinity’s impact is jaw-dropping – it is an amazing place for all to      use, enjoy and admire. 
  • Founded by Edward I late in the  13th Century, Holy Trinity is as old as the city of Hull  itself. Indeed, it has been said that Hull’s history is written in its  walls. It survived the convulsions of the English Civil War and bombing  raids in both world wars. Hull’s most famous son, the abolitionist William Wilberforce, was baptised in the font used to this day. Holy Trinity also  hosts memorials to Hull’s war dead and lost trawlermen. Holy Trinity is an  amazing gift from our forebears that we are determined to treasure and pass to future generations.
  • Our history is amazing, but so  too is what is happening today to ensure Holy Trinity is as relevant now  to the life of Hull as it has ever been. Our congregations are growing  rapidly; we reach out to the community in new and surprising ways; and our majestic building is used regularly for exhibitions, concerts and cultural events, even beer festivals! 
  • Holy Trinity’s visitors have  more than doubled in the past two years. Tens of thousands of people each  year receive a warm greeting from our team of volunteer welcomers. Holy Trinity has been awarded a 2014 Certificate of Excellence by the  internationally-renowned TripAdvisor website, based on a four-and-a-half star rating by visitors. 
  • Holy Trinity has an inspiring vision – to be a beacon for the regeneration of  the Old Town of Hull, be a vital part of the city’s rebirth and be  recognised and valued as a most amazing space for a multitude of uses.




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