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Christian Conferences Trust - A History

The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick

The Christian Conferences Trust has been serving Christian organisations for over 100 years offering conference and event venue across three UK sites.

BTP were recently involved with works at CCT's Hayes site in Swanwick, of which more information on the property and history of the site can be found below.

CCT exists to promote the Christian faith by providing locations for conferences, retreats and meetings.

The Hayes site in Swanwick, Derbyshire boasts award winning gardens, indoor & outdoor sport facilities as well as a chapel and prayer labyrinth. Set in the Amber Valley within 100 acres of award winning landscape gardens, woodland and countryside the site is set in a stunning natural setting.

The centre itself is a state of the art facility boasting both event facilities as well as bedrooms and a bar/lounge area.

The Hayes was the first Christian Conference Centre in the UK. Built in the 1860's as the home of Mr Fitzherbert Wright, the builder of St Pancras Station and a great, great grandfather of the Duchess of York. In 1910, Fitzherbert's son sold the estate to the company who would adapt it for its current use with the Christian Conferences Centre.

During the Second World War the site was transformed by the arrival of German POW's, known as Camp 13. The site was the home for one of the most daring escapes during the war when five German prisoners, including ace fighter pilot Franz von Werra, successfully tunneled out of the camp as the POW choir distracted the guards. This was later depicted in the film The One That Got Away.

High Leigh site, set in Hoddesdon Hertfordshire is set within 40 acre grounds and boats a fitness trail as well as bar and lounge areas.

Originally built in 1853, High Leigh was bought by banker Christian Robert Barclay in 1871 where he lived until his death in 1921 when the property was sold to First Conference Estate, a company which Barclay founded and directed in 1909 with the purpose of providing affordable facilities for various missionary and other Christian societies.

The Besley Bridge site in Suffolk started life as a school for orphans in 1862 as well as being a hospital and home for fallen women. In the early twentieth century it was transformed into a fee-paying boarding school known as All Hallows School. In 1947 a junior school was added until it was finally closed in 1990 after which it was converted into a Conference Centre.


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