Underfloor Heating Helps Transform 19th Century Oxford Church Into Arts Venue
A massive cash investment in an Oxford church looks set to transform it into one of the city’s newest and brightest arts and music venues. The 19th century St John the Evangelist Church in Iffley Road, originally the spiritual home of the Cowley Fathers religious order, has already had substantial work done to make it comfortable and energy-efficient, including the fitting of half a million pound’s worth of underfloor heating and the installation of a new toilet block.
With the snappy new name of SJE Arts, the church, which comes under the estates management of Oxford University permanent private hall St Stephen’s House, is now ready to host concerts and other shows, and bursar Michele Smith explained why the transformation had taken place. “We started a couple of years ago trying to work out whether there would be interest in using it as a concert hall and we came back with enormous encouragement,? she told the local paper, adding that there had already been eight performances held in the new venue since January. Now that the underfloor heating is in place, there are further plans to glaze the windows of the cloisters, carry out work on the roof and guttering, and restore the original painted ceiling, at a total cost of over £2.2 million.