World record attempt helps Morecambe church takeover bid

Beki Melrose, Jo Bambrough and Mollie Baxter from The Exchange Creative Community CIC outside the former Trinity Methodist Church.
Beki Melrose, Jo Bambrough and Mollie Baxter from The Exchange Creative Community CIC outside the former Trinity Methodist Church.

A campaign to turn a disused West End church into a space for talented people has been boosted by an unusual world record attempt.

The brains behind the ‘Steeple for the People’ bid to buy the old Trinity Methodist Church created a super-sized blue photograph on Morecambe promenade to raise money.

A small section of the world's largest cyanotype photo created by the 'Steeple for the People' project in Morecambe.

A small section of the world's largest cyanotype photo created by the 'Steeple for the People' project in Morecambe.

They hope the huge image, made using the old-style cyanotype printing method, will be recognised as an official world record by Guinness.

People donated to take part in the production process which involved dozens of volunteers lying down on material on the seafront.

Campaigners are aiming to raise £200,000 to buy the church and then will continue fundraising hoping to restore its main hall into a place which could be used by artists, musicians and designers.

The campaign is being run by The Exchange Creative Community CIC, an arts organisation based on West Street near the church.

Jo Bambrough, co-director, said: “We feel really strongly that the West End has been under-appreciated for many years. The amount of talent we see here on a regular basis needs a home and a place to thrive.

“If we can all come together, with a common goal, we believe that this new home will be the church.”

The church has been closed for about 17 years. The building is owned by Matthew White and had most recently been used by Morecambe-based Alpha Omega Wrestling for wrestling training sessions.

The Exchange is in talks with Mr White over a tenancy agreement while they raise the cash.

The world record attempt saw 137.5m x 1.47m of muslin fabric coated with the blue chemical cyanotype over several hours then immersed in a paddling pool full of cyanotype.

Like treading grapes, people used their hands and feet to spread the emulsion through the cloth. It was then hung up to dry overnight.

Around 50 people then laid objects and even their own bodies onto the material until the UV in the sun’s rays exposed the image.

The excess chemical was then rinsed out in paddling pools and once the distinctive bright blue of a cyanotype appeared, the cloth was dried over the prom railings.

Mark Aston, a specialist in alternative photography, was lead artist.

The group is now trying to find an exhibition space large enough to accommodate the work and a surveyor who can officially measure the image before it is submitted to Guinness.

Visit www.steepleforthepeople.co.uk or facebook.com/exchangecic to find out more about the campaign or for information on how to donate..