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Photo by Viktor Bystrov on Unsplash
Photo by Viktor Bystrov on Unsplash
World News

New climbing wall proposed to replace old church space

by Lydia Davies

Pembroke College, Cambridge, has proposed an innovative project to transform the tower of the former Emmanuel United Reformed Church into a climbing facility.

The church tower dates back to 1874 and is set to house 10m (32.8 ft) climbing walls.

The ground floor of the Grade II listed building has already been repurposed as an auditorium for lectures, performances, and various events. This latest initiative aims to further utilise the tower's considerable height, providing both students and fellows with views of Cambridge from the top of the tower staircase alongside a thrilling climbing experience.

In the planning documents submitted to Cambridge City Council, Pembroke College highlighted this project as a chance to "breathe new life into the historic tower space."

They said: "Students and fellows will be awarded rare views from the top of the tower staircase across Cambridge and the opportunity to experience the lofty height of the existing tower."

The proposal also underscored the careful consideration being given to "preserve the tower's architectural integrity" while introducing modern recreational facilities.

According to the plans, only registered users will have access to the climbing wall, ensuring safety and respect for the historical site.

Additionally, Pembroke College outlined various safety measures, including the installation of a panic button for emergencies, to ensure climbers' wellbeing.

Reports say this venture promises not only to offer a challenging activity for climbing enthusiasts, rated as "medium to difficult" by professional climbers, but also an opportunity to engage with Cambridge's architectural history in a new way.

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