For over a year the church has been without any of the most basic of amenities, no running water or drainage, no heating and no electric. During this time we have been limited to what we’ve been able to do and the lack of electric has held us back more than anything, but it hasn’t stopped us and we’ve already been able to start on a big clean up using the most basic of methods. We’ve managed to start on the windows, the kids have got stuck in and we’ve mucked out the tower stairwell.
It took a little under a year for the sale of the church to go through, the church are notoriously slow, so although our offer was accepted very early on in the process we were hesitant to start any work in case things fell through. But for the last three months since we exchanged contracts, sealed the deal and picked up the keys we have been able to crack on full force.
A high hurdle in our adventure was getting the electric supply back to Holly House
, it wasn’t a simple flick of a switch and took almost 4 months so sort out.
As the church was classed as a business our first hurdle was to get the electricty board to transfer the church from a business dwelling to a residential home, this involved copious amounts of phone calls and emails being passed from one department to another, our first necessity was to register Holly House as a new address, this meant creating a brand new address with the council, without an address we would be unable to pay council tax and without paying council tax we would be unable to re connect any amenities to the property..there’s no avoiding taxes!
As a part of the sale of the church it was stipulated that we had to re name the property from ‘St Thomas A Becket Church’ to something that had no bearings to the original name or any religious factors linked. A shame really, but just one of the hoops we had to jump through. But although no longer official, the church will always proudly hold the name St Thomas A Becket alongside its pseudo name ‘Holly House’. To keep things simple we decided to officially register the church by following the numbers of the existing street name and have just followed suiting numbers to the last house in the street.
Once the new address was accepted we were able to get back to the electricity board to arrange a meter reading, as the church had been disconnected to the mains electricity a fair few years ago it took a lengthily about of time to establish the electricity connection due to business records being filed manually and being taken off of the computed system.
But eventually everything fell into place and we got a date for the electric engineer to visit to reconnect the meter and exchange it from a business meter to a residential one, but it wasn’t at this stage that we were able to switch the lights on, the next hurdle was to get a registered electrician to check the electrics over and be present whilst it was witched on to ensure that it didn’t go bang.
Luckily there is an awful lot of love for the church within the community and many locals have reached out to lend a hand, offer advice and knowledge and we have been quite overwhelmed at the acceptance that people have to our adventure with Holly House, as part of this kindness we were contacted by an electrician that had cared for the church for many years and as luck would have it he was able to pop by on the same day that the electricity board connected the electric to share in our hopes that the church would be bought out of the darkness and shine brightly once and again….and so it did!! There were no pops or bangs and we were all awe ridden as the lights were switched on, it really was an incredible moment!
It really was a fabulous moment and the church seemed to instantaneously come to life! And you could even begin to imagine the elation that there was when we discovered that the organ worked!! How crazy is that!You can see our switch on over on Instagram HERE
. We took some time to absorb the moment before downing tools and heading back to our rental with the intention of returning when it got dark to see what the building looked like from the outside, and we were certainly not disappointed!
We switched the lights on and stepped outside to take a walk around the churchyard to get the full effect of the moment, and it was simply stunning. It looked like the building had come back to life and we were treated to a real vision of our future home.Be sure to follow us on Building Holly House over on Facebook for daily updates!
And we were not disappointed, just like we’d suspected, Holly house looked incredible nestled in the darkness.It was one of those moments we’d been waiting over a year for and it was a hefty reminder to grab your dreams, chase them wholeheartedly and hold tight onto determination…. it’s most certainly not the easiest of adventures we’ve taken on, some days contain more downs than ups, but moments like this remind us to keep going forward & keep chasing….that way we may just turn those dreams into a reality.
You can also follow us here on Instagram where we will be sharing an everyday account of our journey, with stories and findings as we unearth the history of Holly House.