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Bristol church engulfed by fire in 2016 opens its doors again

A church in Bristol which was left as a burnt-out shell in 2016 after an arson attack, is opening its doors again.

St Michael on the Mount Without was closed in 2009 due to falling attendance and has since been a popular place for many homeless people to shelter.

After the fire in 2016, the building was gradually falling apart until current owner Norman Routledge decided to buy the property.

He told the BBC: "When I first got inside in 2019 and looked up all you could see was blue sky where the roof was supposed to be.

"We fitted a new timber roof above the north aisle and were able to restore the rotten timbers above the south aisle."

As part of Bristol Open Doors, the 200 year-old church is now open for visitors. Although all renovations have not been completed yet, the building has already hosted three weddings.

At least £700,000 have been spent on the renovation works, with another £100,000 planned, according to Routledge.

The building was already part of the Historic England's At-Risk Register when the blaze happened and this prompted Bristol Council to put the church up for sale.

Routledge said he hopes the building will become a popular location for events and weddings.

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