The former St Marks church has been a historic landmark in Leicestershire since 1870 when it was designed by renowned architect Ewan Chrisitan, most notably famous for his design of the National Portrait Gallery in London. Since its closure in 1986, the future of this architectural masterpiece was doubtful; it was left to deteriorate for almost 20 years, until being lovingly renovated and restored to its former glory.
A building of this calibre summons an air of awe. The historical element, the attention to detail and design and stunning success in terms of architecture makes this an incomparable unique venue full of antique charm and character.
From a distance, the building dominates the area, providing an impressive backdrop to the view of Belgrave Gate. The full sweep of the high, steep pitched roof with the continuous range of celestory windows below and the spire beyond provide a dramatic spectacle.
The interior conveys the same air of formidability as the exterior. The hall is a lofty and spacious room with an amazing height of 53', looking up to a once colourfully painted vaulted wagon roof.
The hall is separated with arcades on either side. Granite pillars hold the limestone arches with intricate stonework.
To the front, what was once the marble alter is now used as a stage; the wall behind is adorned with Eadie Reid murals and marble pillars. The windows on the south aisle are all decorated stained glass depicting several historic events.
St Marks Church was re-opened in June 2005 as The Empire and the opening ceremony was officiated by the Right Worshipful Lord Mayor Councillor Mary Draycott. It proved to be a special day for many, whom recalled memories of marriage, christenings, Sunday school and attending church.