ISKCON has finally acquired the HSBC bank building on Granby Street, a
Grade II listed building built in 1875 by the famous architect Goddard.
Recently this stunning building was identified by English Heritage as at
‘risk’ of ruination.
The devotees lost their original place of worship last September, when the
temple suffered a gas explosion. All of the 50 devotees within the building
managed to escape the multiple blasts, uninjured. This was referred to as a
‘miracle’ by firefighters.
After 15 months of worship and community gatherings in rented spaces,
acquiring the keys to the HSBC Bank is a dream come true.
The Society plans to restore the building to its former glory and bring it
back into use as a place of worship with a range of community activities,
eventually providing a restaurant, yoga and meditation studio, and
Pradyumna das, President of ISKCON Leicester said, “We are very excited with this
news. This is a great opportunity for us to bring back into use a fantastic
building right at the heart of the city. As well as a focus on spirituality
and self-realisation, we want to invite the people of our county to come and
learn about the heritage of the place and celebrate its wonderful architecture.”
The purchase of the Bank has been the donation of a family based in London
and Leicester. They have commented that: “This is a once in lifetime
opportunity to be able to offer not only a place of worship but also a place
of spiritual learning for all the people of Leicester.”
Members of the ISKCON community congregated at the Bank last night to
celebrate the news. But there will be a lot of work to be done before the
community officially begins to use the building. Plans for the development
of the site are in early stages and will unfold over the coming months.