well, I was sure when I read your title that you had some good reason for going there, and hadn't suddenly lost your mind! Art gallery is a much better use of the building. Sounds like fun, actually.
So I Went back to my old Kingdom Hall Today...
Aaah. This reminded me of another WT flip flop:
OK TO RE-USE RELIGIOUS BUILDINGS FOR K.HALLS?
YES: -- w02 10/15 p. 27 Questions From Readers
Would it be a form of interfaith to purchase a building from another religious group and convert it into a Kingdom Hall?
[Picture on page 27] This building, which was a synagogue, was purchased and renovated into a Kingdom Hall
NO: -- w99 3/15 p. 24 Building on Pagan Foundation
AMONG the many impressive monuments that are visited by tourists to Rome, Italy, is the Pantheon. The Pantheon was originally a pagan temple, a "place for all gods," which is the meaning of the original Greek word. Today, it is still considered a Roman Catholic church.
It ought to be obvious, however, that changing the dedication of a temple or the name of a celebration is not sufficient to transform the ‘worship of devils into the service of the true God.’ "What agreement does God’s temple have with idols?" asked the apostle Paul. "‘Get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’
YES: -- g96 9/8 p. 31 Why the Chapels Are Closing
The list serves as an epitome of the collapse of religion’s influence, not only in Wales but in many parts of Europe. Sixty-eight chapels were listed as "now demolished." One that was not listed, in Penygraig, was converted many years ago into a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses for the flourishing Rhondda Congregation.
YES: -- jv (1993) chap. 16 p. 251 Meetings for Worship, Instruction, and Encouragement
In a few instances, they later purchased buildings that had formerly been used by other religious groups and made use of these on a regular basis. That was the case with the Brooklyn Tabernacle and the London Tabernacle.
YES: -- yb78 p. 117 The Philippines
The chapel was converted into a Kingdom Hall and this was the start of the Biñan Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
YES - (From the Guardian newspaper, 11 September 2012 )
" The Berwick Watchtower, a brand new gallery and arts centre, has just opened in Tweedmouth. Originally built as a Presbyterian church in 1848, the turreted building on the south bank of the Tweed was, more recently (1972), the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah's Witnesses, who blocked up all the windows."
Summary: It is ok for JW's to convert a religious building into a Kingdom Hall, but it is not ok for any other religion to convert a religious building for themselves.
Did the cong. build the KH like that?
If I had seen that building before becoming a witness I'd be afraid to go into it!
Is this kh in England? There must have been several congregations meeting there, right?
Parts of this building date back to the 1700's. It was turned into a KH about 1972, only one small (at that time) congregation used it. The nearest other congregation is around 30 miles away. The upper storey was the KH, the ground floor was used as a literature storage depot by the WTS.
Prior to this the congregation met in the old Norman Hall just along the road from this building. This was a meeting hall for the local 'Knight's Templar' group. That building was demolished for road widening.
Great looking building. I always think about those who first built it the people, where did they come from, what were they like, you know things like that. Old building are really neat. But I seem to remember many years ago when it was OK to start building more kingdom halls. I think it was in the late 70's or early 80's. One of the things the Wt. said was do not use a design that looked like a Wt. Down in FL near Tampa there was a KH that had Wt. on every corner. I use to think that was neat. I think sometime in the 80's they sold it. I don't know what happen to it after that. But nothing that old here in the U.S. the only stone structure that is really old in the U.S. is in St. Augustine FL It's a old spanish fort. Made with coral stone. It's really neat also. Totally ADD
I remember my first EVER awareness of the fact that there were people aligned against the WT was on holiday in Berwick..
I saw a notice in a window or on a noticeboard somewhere, I forget the actual message but it was something like "have you been hurt by JW's", or, "do you want to know the TRUTH about JW'S", I remember thinkingthat I couldn't believe there was anything anyone could possibly be upset about!!
Funny how it all comes around full circle.....
It was turned into a KH about 1972
Really? Why? After all, "only a few remaining months" of time were left before Armageddon was coming.
Oh, yeah, I forgot: it was okay for the rank-and-file to sell all their stuff and Pioneer, but as for the WT, it was business as usual.
Thank you George!
So they used the bottom floor as a literature depot. That made good use of the space. That is an old building! No wonder it was designed like that.
I also thought it was neat to see watchtower structures on the society's buildings. A brother told me this was done back in the 50's and 60's when there were few witnesses and it helped people make the connection between the people who brought them the w magazine and the Kingdom Halls.
I especially like the watchtower ontop the 77 Sands st building and ontop of 124 Columbia Hts. Sadly, the new owners will probably remove them although the one on the 77 building (The Watchtower Bldg, factory #2) covers a water tank and the one on top of 124 C.H. has at least 1 room in it.
I got to go in it during a visit to Bethel many years ago and thought it was so neat looking down at the street from inside the watchtower!
I was sad when they took down the tower that was atop 25 CH with the watchtower painted on all 4 sides.
As the number of witnesses increased and became more well known the society stopped putting watchtower structures on their bldgs, at least in most places.
I remember a kh from the 50's with a large watchtower built on its side that was sold and turned into a church. Another kh had a watchtower on the roof and even after the kh was sold and turned into a store the watchtower remained there!
I know the society does not want kh's to have any watchtower structures since jws do not have a symbol.
Well done George! Your knowledge of Berwick is spot on.
The original building was probably just the big square part in the middle and was an 18th century manor house.
The turrets were added at some later date, possibly Victorian but I don't know for sure.
The square ventilation hole upstairs had a Church of Scotland engraving on it when the JWs took over.
My wife and I got married here in '86. At that time the entrance was from the lane at the back of the building and as George said it was a literature depot for London Bethel downstairs.
Around '89 there was a major renovation. The downstairs became the toilets, 2nd school, library etc and the main hall upstairs was turned around by putting the platform at the other end, covering all the windows and installing the usual drop ceiling.
The back wall had to be underpinned as the whole building had no foundations.
Apart from the ugly window shutters it was a good looking and unique KH.
This photo of Cofty's old KH taken just after it was opened. In the centre is a painting of a Watchtower magazine, painted by a local brother who was an artist. This was presumably painted over and the windows blocked up during its 'restoration'.
Thanks George, great picture.
I remember that Watchtower picture, its covering the Church of Scotland engraving.
The little ugly extension on the right tower was the gents toilet. I had the pleasure of knocking it down with a sledghammer in '89.
Love the old Mini and the back end of the MKII Cortina.