Byberry Friends’ Meeting House Addition

Founded in 1683, the Byberry Friends’ Monthly Meeting (Quakers) have been worshipping at their current site since 1694. The current meeting house, constructed in 1808, is the third on the site. The meeting house is almost exactly as it was in 1808 including the ante-room and women’s outhouse (accessed through the ante-room). It was updated in the 20th century with electricity and central heat. However, plumbing was never introduced. Wishing to increase their membership, the Friends realized it would be hard to attract new members without indoor plumbing.

Adding toilet rooms would require a very delicate touch. When inside the virtually unchanged Meeting House, one can almost feel the thousands of quakers who have sat on the benches. It was clear that an addition would be the only way to resolve the goals rather than disturb the existing spaces. A number of locations were explored until finally the location of the previously demolished men’s outhouse became the clear answer. The addition is level with the meeting house floor and has an ADA compliant sloped walkway leading to its entrance. There are two restrooms, a kitchenette and a room to accommodate gatherings which don’t need a space as large as the meeting house.

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