The latest news and progress on our redevelopment

Complete and ready for service

We are delighted to announce that the  redevelopment of the former St Columba’s is now complete; and our contractors, Coulson’s have departed.  Last Friday, our minister Revd Nigel Uden formally received the key to the building and said a few words.

The occasion was recorded on video by our architects, Archangel, and can be viewed on their Facebook page here

– you do not need a Facebook account to watch the video.

We hope to hold our first service at 10.30am on Sunday 16 May as a ‘dry run’, with a small number of worshippers present.  We hope this will also be live-streamed – we will give details of this nearer the time.

If Government guidelines permit, we plan to hold the first of our Lunchtime Concerts on Wednesday 19th May at 1pm.

Continuing Covid-19 restrictions mean that numbers attending all events will be strictly limited and booking will be essential.

Here are some images taken over the past few days of the building as we continue to unpack and settle in.

Wednesday 14 April 2021

Beautiful lettering is now in place above the new Welcome entrance, due for completion soon.

The extensive glass frontage of the Welcome entrance opens the building up and offers views of the interior to passers-by; and also offers a ramp entrance for maximum accessibility.

Thursday 1 April 2021

Our contractors take us on a tour around the almost-completed building as the redevelopment of Downing Place approaches completion.

It is 2 years almost exactly since the congregation left the building to allow work to start after Easter Sunday 2018; and after some unavoidable delays, work began in September 2018.  Our anticipation is mounting as much of the building is now complete;  and we look forward to seeing our beautiful Sanctuary in its full glory before too long.

Wednesday 10 March 2021

Downing Place is in the press this week, with an article about the latest Time Capsule to be buried as the project nears completion.

See March’s Place Matters to read more about the three Time Capsules.

Click the photo on the right to enlarge it.

While on site, David Thomas took some photographs of the almost-completed building, which you can view below.

Please click on each image to enlarge it.

Wednesday 16 February 2021

We are now in the final month of redevelopment; with most of the building scheduled to be handed over to us on Friday 5 March.

Stuart Humphrey, Site Surveyor from Coulsons, takes us on a tour of the latest developments, as new windows flood the building with light and connect us to the outside world.

Monday 11 January 2021

Beautiful images of our redeveloped and reordered church created by our architects, Archangel.  

Click each image to make it bigger.

16 December 2020

The latest on our redevelopment as 2020 draws to an end


Watch the latest walk-through showing how our redeveloped building is taking shape.   Our grateful thanks as ever to architect Jack Boyns from Archangel for bringing us these regular updates.

Pictures from a site visit on Friday 27 November 2020

20 November 2020

New video shows breakthrough as work commences on the external walls

Our contractors are making the most of the lack of shoppers and night time revellers during second lockdown, and the exterior wall facing Downing Street is receiving some beautiful stonework and new additional windows which will flood the interior with light.

The new accessible entrance onto Downing Place is also under construction.

Elsewhere, the courtyard garden is taking shape, and the caretaker’s flat is looking good!


9 November 2020

Latest Site Tour with architect Jack Boyns

The redevelopment project continues to make excellent progress, and has now breached the walls to form the new Downing Place entrance.  Our thanks to Jack Boyns of Archangel for taking us through the latest developments.



12 October 2020

Topping Out Ceremony

Our minister, Revd Nigel Uden, takes to the rooftops as the finishing touches are put to the work on the roof.

He offered this prayer on behalf of the Church:

Eternal God,
your Son Jesus Christ is the Church’s keystone,
crowning it with hope,
holding it in place with grace,
ensuring its stability with truth.
As we mark the topping out of this project,
we praise you for all those who, with myriad skills,
are renewing Downing Place Church
for the glory of your name
and in service to your mission.
Looking down on the sanctuary,
where we preach Christ crucified and risen,
we hear you calling us to come to you in faith;
looking out over the city,
where beauty and need walk side by side,
we hear you calling us to go to it with love.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
we pray your blessing upon what is being done,
until you bring it and all things to completion,
at the day of Jesus Christ,

23 September 2020

Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry (CFCI)

A broader look at the redevelopment project, which combines the 3D walkabouts we’ve been seeing with before-and-after images of the building, and  fascinating detail about how the project has been taking form. 



16 September 2020

The latest progress report from the Downing Place site

We’re very grateful to Jack Boyns of Archangel Architects for taking the time to walk us round the latest developments at the Downing Place site.  Our Gibson Hall is looking marvellous and the Hub is really taking shape!  



5th August 2020

A New Walkaround

Work is progressing briskly on site, and you can see how everything is starting to fall into place in this short video created by our contractors.

‘The NightLite Area’ referred to in the video refers to a room which is being created at the Downing Street end of the building, which will be known as the Emmanuel Room.  As well as providing the perfect space for NightLite to operate from, it will become the home for many ‘Anonymous’ groups who have a long history of meeting on the site.

Thank you to Stuart Humphrey of Coulsons for his kind permission to reproduce the video here. 

26th June 2020

Downing Place

We are delighted to say that redevelopment work started up again at Downing Place a couple of weeks ago, after 8 weeks of lockdown.  Arch.angel partner Jack Boyns was around to take us on a brief walk around the site to review progress and take the following short video:

It’s great to have Downing Place United Reformed Church back on site with Coulson. New Covid-19 procedures have been put in place to ensure safe working including lots of new signage, a new protocol for signing in, hand sanitiser stations and various measures such as one way systems and phased working to ensure social distancing. All subcontractors have also updated their risk assessments to account for Covid-19 procedures.

Construction is progressing well. The steel frame for the sliding glazed doors is installed. The baptistry pit has been excavated. Timber work has gone in to install the first floor in the hub area. The new roof lights in Gibson Hall have had a big impact on the feeling of light and height in the space. The roof to the caretakers flat has begun to be fitted. The finished slating and roof lights on Gibson Hall look fantastic.

Thank you to Coulsons for the photographs from our regular virtual site progress updates.

11th February 2020

Downing Place

Members of Downing Place visit their building to survey progress so far

4th February 2020

Downing Place

Site visit

6th January 2020

Downing Place

Site visit

Photos by Robert Porrer

19th December 2019

Downing Place

Site tour with Jack Boyns of Archangel Architects

26th November 2019

Downing Place

Site visit

Photos by Margaret Reynolds

Sanctuary – former organ loft & insulation (5″/125 and 2″/50) stacked ready for Gibson Hall roof

Sanctuary – opening up new doors from Welcome Entrance

25th November 2019

Downing Place

Site visit

TV Interview with Revd Nigel Uden

29th October 2019

Downing Place

Site visit

Photos by Robert Porrer

Sanctuary – opening up for new windows onto Downing Street

New Hub – looking into St Columba’s Hall

Former toilets, with rooms above

Temporary scaffolding roof over St Columba’s Hall

Courtyard Garden – conservatory demolished and temporary scaffolding roof over St Columba’s Hall

Looking into Gibson Hall (kitchen and balcony demolished)

9th October 2019

Downing Place

Site visit

Photos by Robert Porrer

25th September 2019

Downing Place

Site visit

Photos by Robert Porrer

Sanctuary – wood block floor removed

Sanctuary – wooden screens disassembled and kitchen/rest room built for workers

Courtyard – conservatory already removed

Gibson Hall – panelling and balcony removed (wall between hall and kitchen will be removed to enlarge the hall)

St. Columba’s Hall

Kitchen – nearly cleared

September 2019

Downing Place

Site visit

Redevelopment work begins

Photos by Elaine Barker

September 2019

Downing Place

Low-energy design
at Downing Place URC