Do You Love the Tin Tabernacle? Redevelopment plans for Shaftesbury Hall.

We have often discussed Shaftesbury Hall on this forum, particularly in respect of the proposed developments over recent years. The statement below, from North London Samaritans, outlines their new proposals for this local landmark:

There is a great opportunity for the Bounds Green community to take a stake in the future of the much-loved ‘Tin Tabernacle’, by the Bowes Park Station in Herbert Road.

North London Samaritans – the owners of the hall and the land since 1974 – want to renovate it as a community asset, a hall for the use of the whole area.

In the process North London Samaritans want to include a much-needed new and improved space for their operation which supports everyone in the local community who finds themselves in a state of distress, despair, or possibly suicidal.

The local Samaritans branch is run by dedicated volunteers, operating under the national policy guidance of Samaritans’ General Office, but it has to generate all the money it needs through local fundraising efforts.

This means funds raised are always for survival – rent, electricity, gas, telephones and an increasing amount on stopping the hall deteriorating further – with nothing left to spend on making it fit for purpose again.

In the past without funds, renovating the hall has been impossible despite their desire to do so. Previous attempts to redevelop the site, ongoing since the late 1970s, have always involved a developer prepared to provide Samaritans with a ‘no-cost’ solution for the space they need. Necessarily, each developer has needed to build new homes on the site rather than just a community asset, in order to recover the cost of delivering the Samaritans’ accommodation.

Understandably, many within the local community did not like these plans as they wanted the hall saved. Fortunately for everyone, the plans have not gone ahead. The local Samaritans have always tried to listen to the concerns raised and now there is a fantastic opportunity for the local community to get involved in the future of Shaftesbury Hall via a possible innovative crowd-sourcing model for raising the necessary funds.

North London Samaritans have decided to deliver the redevelopment and renovation project themselves. A dedicated team of volunteers has been assigned to make the project work and already a talented team of professionals have been assembled. The team comprises architects, surveyors, engineers and so on, offering their services at hugely discounted rates because they believe in the project and its intended purpose. The Samaritan volunteers are really working hard to make this happen for the least amount of money possible and the best return for the community as a whole.

In order for the revitalised Shaftesbury Hall to be a truly valuable community asset, North London Samaritans need to have as much of the community as possible involved from the beginning of the new project.

Samaritans want to work with all interested people and community groups – anyone and everyone who is prepared ‘to get in the boat and row’ – to refurbish the hall and create a 21st century facility; same look, shape, and form!

Get involved! Contact us:
Shaftesbury Hall discussion forum:
‘Like us’ on Facebook: North London Samaritans
Twitter: @nl_sams

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This is a really upsetting situation.  When I saw the squatters going in there last night, I felt really angry initially, but on reflection and after hearing that interview with the samaritans, it dawned on me that these squatters are more than likely vulnerable people.  Yes, they need to get out and yes it is disgusting that this situation is resulting in such a worthy charity as the samaritans losing so much money, but where are these people supposed to go and what will happen to them?  It seems like they are in crisis, perhaps with substance abuse issues?  I can't imagine how anyone in their right mind would choose to take money from a charity or choose to live in an asbestos riddled building.  Having just lost a close family friend to mesothelioma (a cancer caused by asbestos), I know just how evil the illness is and I would hate for that to happen to these people or any local residents if they disturb the asbestos.  I would like to sign something, but I wonder what support there might be for these people once they are evicted? Will the police automatically call social services for example?

Looks like they have been evicted this evening.

Lots of reports locally of the squatters removing all their stuff from the building and piling it on the pavement last weekend:

The local press are reporting this week that after the expensive eviction of the squatters work on redevelopment of Shaftesbury Hall can now get underway - there is still much work to do in raising money to complete the work on the "Tin Tabernacle" but The Samaritans hope that building work can get underway within a year,

Read the full story in the Haringey Independent

I'm shocked that it cost £10k to evict them. 

I hope they can start their work as soon as possible.

I don't know if crowdfunding sites would be appropriate for this, either in terms of what they allow, or in terms of what the Samaritans can do given their charity status, but its worth being aware that such things exist:

I hope I'm wrong, but Squatters may once again have returned and are now living in Shaftesbury Hall.  I saw them this morning...

Did you report this to the police?

No, I was running for my train at the time...


I will go and double check and then phone police if necessary..

I went to check - Yes the Sam's lock had been broken off and the squatters had put new lock on gate.

The SNT phone line was out of order, and N London Sam's line was unavailable.

So..... I sent emails to both on Monday.

Yesterday early I spoke to a young couple coming out and they said that the Sam's people had been to talk to them the previous evening.  So they do all know.

What a shame - more problems for Nth London Sams.

but surely the act of breaking the lock, and/or removing the clasp is criminal damage....?


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