English Church Gallery
Because of the rich English tourists who forged their way into the alps with local guides, Meiringen was one of the very first places in Switzerland to hold church services in English. First in the hotel «Zum wilden Mann» (now known as the Parkhotel du Sauvage) and later in the Zeughaus chapel. Due to shortage of space, construction of the English church was begun in 1867.
Financial problems led the church being handed over to the Bishop of London in 1876. The church was unscathed during the first village fire in Meiringen in 1879 but it was destroyed in the second village fire in 1891. The then owner of the «Sauvage» requested the chapel be rebuilt and services could be held in the newly rebuilt chapel in the same year.
The English church was used by detained British soldiers during WWI – with the proviso that the bell was not to be rung. Not many tourists came to Meiringen after the war which meant services in English were no longer required. The church became the property of the «Sauvage» in 1937 when it was used mainly for storing empty bottles. During WWII it was used as a soup kitchen.
In 1974 the Meiringen commune bought the English church and shortly after it became a listed building. Schools used the building for 10 years and in 1984 Arthur Reinhard laid the foundations for its present use as a gallery with his exhibition about the history of the chapel.