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Model of bombed church on sale

11 January 2013


Preserved: the silver model of the now-destroyed St Mark's, Bromley

Preserved: the silver model of the now-destroyed St Mark's, Bromley

A SILVER model of a church destroyed in a wartime air-raid that was said to have been orchestrated by the Nazi propagandist William Joyce is estimated as likely to sell for up to £12,000.

St Mark's was one of eight churches in Bromley, Kent, hit during the night of 16 April 1941, in a raid that some claimed at the time deliberately targeted ecclesiastical buildings. It was suggested that Joyce, known colloquially as Lord Haw Haw, had helped to pinpoint the churches using knowledge that he had gathered when he lived in the area before the war. He also mentioned Bromley frequently in his radio broadcasts from Berlin.

The ten-inch-tall model shows the late-Victorian church in detail, and includes a miniature clock in the bell-tower. It was presented in 1905 to the church's benefactor, Sir Thomas Charles Dewey, on his retirement after three decades as a churchwarden.

In 1897, in partnership with another local man, he paid £500 for a plot of land for the building of St Mark's, and recruited the architect Evelyn Hellicar - the son of the then Vicar of Bromley, the Revd Arthur G. Hellicar - to design a church in the Victorian High Gothic style. The building was consecrated in 1898.

The destruction of St Mark's - only the tower was left standing - came as plans were being finalised to create its own parish. Nine weeks after the bombing, its first priest-in-charge was licensed, and services were held in the church hall, with an annual service in the ruins, to signal the intention to rebuild. In 1947, a former Welsh Rugby international, the Revd J. Alban Davies, became the first Vicar. A new church was begun in 1952, when a cornerstone was laid on the old building's foundations.

The model, made in 1905 by the silversmiths Elkington & Co., is being auctioned by Bonhams at its Knightsbridge salerooms on 29 January.

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