Scientology does not have a imposing presence here. The church has occupied the same small shop for more than 25 years, and membership has seen better days.
A few members of the small group of active Scientologists occasionally push a brightly-painted wooden handcart (laden with e-meters and copies of “Dianetics”) into the nearby shopping area, where they “disseminate”. Apart from this, the Church may as well be invisible.
However, in 2010 – after a long fund-raising campaign, the Church of Scientology bought a redundant hotel a few miles away. It cost £1,000,000 ($1,680,187). The Church promised that their new acquisition would soon be refurbished -to become an “Ideal Org” (a sort of ‘Super Church’). Another drive to raise £2,500,000 ($4,200,391) for this work was immediately launched.
Years later, no work has been done, no plans have been filed and the building is visibly decaying. Read on, for up-to-date high resolution pictures (taken on the site, today) and a little speculation about the state of mind of the Scientologists of Plymouth.
3rd of September 2014 | Scientologists “still in design phase” for Plymouth Hotel | “The Herald” Newspaper
On the 6th of June 2014 I visited the Plymouth Ideal Org (which is not far from where I live). This is a redundant Hotel that was bought by the Church of Scientology in 2010, for £1,000,000 (approx $1,644,417). I took a few pictures and wrote a detailed post about the history of the building and my visit.
Despite unrealistic promises about restoring this building and staffing it, four years later, the Church of Scientology has done absolutely nothing, and the structure is beginning to crumble.
I have described the building that is supposed to become Plymouth’s Ideal Org in previous posts.
Situated close to the Royal Dockyard in Devonport, it was built to provide visiting Royal Navy personnel and Royal Marines with a (respectable) place to stay.
After it was sold by the Royal Navy, it had a brief and unsuccessful career as a hotel. In 2010 the building was sold to the Church of Scientology for £1,000,000 ($1,680,187).
It is now 2015… and the place is still empty and untouched. It’s not difficult to see why – it has 50 rooms, 2 ballrooms, kitchens, storage areas and… well, it’s a big building – too big, considering that, according to the 2011 National Census, there were only 26 Scientologists in Plymouth (including ‘independents’) and only 2,418 in the entire country.
Local Scientologists soldier on in their more modest premises near the central shopping area (where they at least have access to foot traffic). In contrast, their Ideal Org is in an out-of-the-way part of the city increasingly surrounded by affordable housing.
So what has changed since June the 6th 2014, when I last photographed the place?
A few days ago, I came across a Facebook page for “Scientology Plymouth“which contained the remarkable image at the right (there is a larger version below, after the break).
At first glance, it looks rather like a building decorated to celebrate a Nazi rally. It is, in fact, a rendering representing the old Royal Fleet Club / Hotel in Plymouth (UK) – a old building with 50 rooms, two ballrooms and a number of kitchens.
If you follow this blog, you will know that this place was bought by The Church of Scientology for £1,000,000 in 2010. Over the intervening years they have claimed, time and again, that it is going to be renovated to a high standard, and become an ‘Ideal Org’ serving the South-West of England.
Presumably, this image represents what they hope to achieve – however, many of the renovations presented in it are simply not possible.
To illustrate this, I went to the building to take a picture of the real thing for comparison purposes – and discovered some interesting developments. It is possible that the Ideal Org project in Plymouth (the only one in the UK which is self-financing) is on the move again.