Meher baba's last message on the alphabet board

 

In January 2015, after a long period of discussion and fund-raising, we were able to start renovating the Centre, beginning with the basement damp proofing, followed by work to gut and replace the toilet, radiators and boiler, and to re-route wiring & piping. Our aim was to meet some of the desired requirements envisioned by Baba Lovers for a 'new' Centre, established by the Way Forward process. This included creating an intimate meeting space/quiet room in what was Don Stevens's front room, with archival items on display and a library, an archive workshop and storage space in the back room, and a more accessible toilet off the corridor. Downstairs was identified for use for bigger meetings and is now our eating and socialising space.

 

We encountered some problems which slowed the work down in the basement however, these included a safety issue with the gas supply pipe above the fire exit, which took many months to resolve. There was also some rot in the joists near the door and we needed clarification on some of the damp proofing work. We also had to wait to complete some of the decoration until our neighbours had done their party wall work, though this was subjected to a survey first.

 

On March 16th 2015 we began renovating Don’s Steven's old flat. It had to be completely gutted, and the crumbling plaster and ceilings made safe; all the walls were hard-boarded around the flat due to the poor condition of the plaster, and a new ceiling was made, to replace the dangerous one in the back room. Joists were strengthened throughout, and a new, more accessible toilet was installed.

The basement and ground floor areas cleared ready for renovations
Progress of Ground Floor (Don's flat) renovations

 

 

 

 

The front room of the ground floor flat now has a wonderful new display of Baba photos given to us by Martin and Christine Cook, the photographs were are made directly from the original negatives on to traditional silver bromide paper and they have an impressive tone, and presence of Meher Baba.

 

The photos show Baba at different stages of His life at work, in repose, in the Cage Room, in Mandali Hall and a late passport photo. They also include one of the most beautiful pictures by the Japanese photographer: Imai, which was taken in 1931 in Ebury Street, London. The photos were printed by permission of the copyright holders: the MSI collection, MN collection and the M & C collection, these can all be found online.

 

This room was completed by the installation of a top quality archival display case, currently displaying Beloved Baba's pink silk jacket, which was originally given to the UK for the opening of Oceanic in the 70s and which returned to the Centre in 2015. In the basement Baba's chappals have also now been displayed in a proper case which should protect them long into the future.

 

The addition of carefully chosen flexible furniture which can be folded away and stored, or moved around the building have completed the Centre, and in November 2015 we were finally able to open our doors for a weekend of celebrations.

 

 

Official Opening - 28th & 29th November 2015

The Quiet Room | Christine Cook & Mike McInnerney & Barbara Freije | The Group
Paul Birchard | Art Lester | Alain Youell | Kavas Arjani | Maria Radoje
Keith Ashton & Hilla Talwar | Richard Cork & Maria Radoje (Co-chairs) | Mike da Costa | Hilla Talwar

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