We are grateful for the support of the Listed Place of Worship Roof Repair Fund, a government-sponsored fund set up to help make listed places of worship in the UK weathertight, safe and open for use.
This fund enables us to replace our existing rainwater drainage system. Work is expected to commence in mid February. Scaffolding will be put up, and some areas around the church building will need to be closed off during the work; we will provide more information here and in the pew news as more details become available.
Update 1: Work commencing 22 February 2016
Work begins on the south wall. The scaffolding will take about a week to erect. The south rainwater systems will be replaced and the high level windows checked and repaired. Once this is completed, the scaffolding will be moved onto the lady chapel.
For your safety, the south side of the churchyard will be closed for at least three weeks from 22 February while the scaffolding is in place to replace the gutters. Please follow the signs and access the West End Road car park via the pavement. The main access to the church for the next month or so will be via the west door at all times.
Update 2: 4 March 2016
A lot of progress has been made this week.
All the Lady Chapel and south high level gutters have been removed and replaced. Five of the high level windows have been temporarily replaced by clear glass while the originals are being repaired at ARB glass in Quob Lane. All high level areas have been inspected by our architect, who is generally very impressed by the quality of the original build and the state of the building now. She has pinpointed several areas of work that would benefit from the access now available. We are waiting to see how much this will cost before agreeing to any extra work. The window on the south side of the sanctuary has been cleaned externally.
Update 3: 11 March 2016
Little bits of work have continued, including the start of the construction of the scaffolding on the north side, the replacement of the broken high level glass panes and the window frames being cleaned and painted.
On Monday, the 5 large areas of temporary glass will be replaced by refurbished leaded lights. The north side scaffolding will be completed and, hopefully, all the guttering replaced on that side.
The south path will remain closed for this week.
Update 4: 18 March 2016
Due to difficulty of arranging for different contractors to be on site at the same time, the decision was made to extend the scaffolding to cover the full extent of the gutters and windows.
Last week, ARB glass replaced the newly refurbished opening windows on the south side and repaired several damaged diamonds on the north side. GSL have replaced most of the high level gutters, this work will be finished next week. The architect, accompanied by Noel, inspected all the areas which are usually inaccessible. The great news is that, in general all is in good condition and it would appear that the church was built to an excellent standard. There are a few bits of pointing and a several broken tiles to be attended to. I am hopeful that this will happen next week. It now looks as though the scaffolding will be here until just after Easter. The South path will remain closed until the south scaffolding is removed.
Update 5: 31 March 2016
This week saw Colin Avery, stonemason, working on the high level masonry to ensure that the church will remain watertight for some time to come. Whilst the church was built to a very high standard, there are several bits that have been out of reach for over 40 years and so we took the opportunity to carry out a bit of maintenance. In addition, the east nave chimney has been capped to prevent water ingress.
The missing and broken tiles will be replaced early next week and then the scaffold, at least on the south side, will be lowered to enable the final pieces of guttering to be replaced. At the moment, the plan is by next weekend.
Update 6: 8 April 2016
Most of the scaffolding is down, the south path opened and we have new shiny red gutters and a watertight church! Our thanks to LPOW roof fund and to GSL for their work. Particular thanks are due to Noel Becket, our buildings officer who secured the £38,000 grant for us and enabled these works to take place.