In order to establish a residential praying community and develop a centre for the study of spirituality, it will be necessary to invest in the facilities. This will primarily involve a significant re-ordering of the ground floor areas of the Priory in order to improve accessibility, create a library that can become a significant theological resource in the study of spirituality and a seminar room suitable for delivering courses and workshops. In addition, the whole Priory building needs extensive refurbishment, to include electrical and plumbing works, IT infrastructure, and redecoration throughout.
Development of Library
For St Antony’s to become a centre for the study of spirituality we are going to need a larger, better equipped and specialised working library, a place in which people will want to spend time, do research, read and think. We can do this by opening up the connecting wall between the current library and the room adjoining it, redesigning the shelving and creating areas for reading and studying.
In order to run courses and workshops we will need a larger meeting room equipped for use as a seminar/conference room. To do this, we will convert the current refectory, opposite the library, into a modern, multipurpose seminar room.
Kitchen, Refectory and Accessible Facilities
Having removed the refectory from its present location it will then, of course, be necessary to create a new one. The whole area at the rear of the house will need to be re-designed, to incorporate a refectory, a kitchen, a small meeting room, accessible loos, and level access to the ground floor areas of the house as well an external platform lift to get to the upper floors via the chapel link.
And the Rest
We will also refurbish the first floor areas to improve the facilities, and carry out any other repairs and maintenance as necessary, including plumbing and electrical work, IT infrastructure, furnishings and re-decorating throughout.
Urgent repairs are also needed to the exterior woodwork of the chapel link, and the gardens require extensive clearing and re-landscaping. The Cottage (for people on retreat) needs redecorating and the property at number 72 Claypath (where the community will live) also needs extensive redevelopment to make it habitable once more.
All in all, it’s a major undertaking. In fact, it is the most significant development project since the building of the Chapel. But one that represents a long term investment in the future of St Antony’s, and will enable it to flourish for many years to come.