First Church of Christ, Scientist, Stratford-upon-Avon was established in 1949 in a building called Ely Place. At the time it was made up of an original Tudor core (much modified in Victorian times) fronting onto the street, with a Georgian extension at the back, Victorian servants quarters on one side, and a small cottage and stable block to the rear. Services were held in the Georgian building with the Sunday School upstairs. The ground floors of the Tudor and Victorian buildings were used for the Reading Room, with a large shop-style window onto the street.
The cottage and stables were demolished soon after, and then in the 1970s an auditorium block was built behind the Georgian building. The church still owned a substantial amount of land at the back which was partly used as a car park and partly left wild, creating a small oasis of woodland in the centre of Stratford. This wild area was sold in 1985 for the development of five townhouses.
By the Millenium, the cost of maintaining the older buildings was becoming prohibitive, and options were sought to generate income from parts of the property or sell some or all of it and either rebuild or move the church. An offer from a local dentist, David Langman, resulted in the sale of the Tudor, Edwardian and 1970s buildings and most of the land. Dr Langman was able to build a state-of-the-art dental practice now known as Langmans at Ely Place, while the church redeveloped the Victorian servants' block into a modern two story church. We moved into the new building in December 2012 and we are very pleased with the design. The high-ceilinged auditorium with its large window framing views across Stratford is a particularly pleasing feature.
The Sunday School is downstairs, as is the Reading Room, which has retained the street frontage with its large window, alongside which are the glass double doors of the new church entrance.