Cambridge University college to install climbing wall inside 150 year old church tower

Pembroke has already converted the church on Trumpington Street into an auditorium

Pembroke College, Cambridge has unveiled plans to install a 10m (32.8ft) tall climbing wall in a converted church tower.

The Grade II listed building, which belongs to the former Emmanuel United Reformed Church, has already been turned into an auditorium on the first floor. The building is currently intended for lectures, performances and events.

In planning documents sent to Cambridge City Council, the college describes the tower as a “rare opportunity within the city centre to utilise an existing tall space, enabling us to provide a 10m high climb, which is deemed by professional climbers to be a medium to difficult climb.”

It also points out that introducing a rope climbing facility in the repurposed 1874 James Cubitt tower would make it the first of its kind in the historic city centre.

If installed, the climbing wall would mean students and fellows will have access to “rare views from the top of the tower staircase across Cambridge and the opportunity to experience the lofty height of the existing tower.”

Pembroke also add that “Structural and architectural interventions will be respectful of the existing fabric and proportions of the tower geometry” and that use of the climbing facility will be limited to “registered users only.”

Other outlined safety measures include an emergency panic button and a requirement that two rescue-trained people be on call while the wall is in use.

The college’s planning application for the church tower on Trumpington Street needs to be approved by the city council before the climbing wall can be installed.

Featured image credit: CC by Jjp43

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