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Half a million given to churches to help fight the march of time

16 December 2016

NATIONAL CHURCHES TRUST

Faulty roof: Our Lady Help of Christians, Kitts Green, which is to receive £40,000 for urgent repairs

Faulty roof: Our Lady Help of Christians, Kitts Green, which is to receive £40,000 for urgent repairs

A LEICESTERSHIRE church that stood before the Norman Conquest and a Roman Catholic church fash­ioned from glass and concrete in the 1960s are among the churches that will enjoy a share of more than £500,000 distributed by the National Churches Trust (NCT) this Christ­mas.

A total of £596,000 was an­­nounced on Thursday, to be divided between 36 churches. Almost half of the churches were built during the Victorian era, and two-thirds are Anglican. Eleven are on the Historic England “At Risk” register.

The oldest is St Thomas Becket, Tugby, an Anglican church built in the 11th century. It has been awarded £15,000 to repair its tower, dated to before the Norman con­quest. Our Lady Help of Christians, Kitts Green, a RC church in Birming­ham designed by Richard Gilbert Scott, will receive £40,000 to help fund urgent repairs to the roof and to rainwater goods. Built in 1966-67, the materials used have not stood the test of time.

The NCT explains: “As the build­ing was of such an innovative design, some of the methods used had never been fully tested, and its durability was perhaps a secondary consideration. The combination of glass and concrete have been stressed by external factors such as high rainfall, and the building’s position directly under the flight path of Birmingham Airport — windows shake when aeroplanes fly over.”

Another ’60s construction, St Laurence’s, Catford, will receive £10,000 to repair its windows and roof, putting an end to worshippers’ having to put out buckets when it rains, and worrying that lumps of glass could fall on to their heads.

Among the medieval churches receiving help is St Thomas’s, Exeter, which has survived several threats over the centuries. Built in 1405 to replace a chapel destroyed by flood, it was destroyed by fire in 1645 during the Civil War, out of fear that it would be fortified and used against the city, and reopened in 1657.

The Methodist Central Hall, Paisley — the last remaining intact Central Hall in Scotland — will receive £40,000 for repairs.

Requests to fund repairs to roofs, stonework, and draining, and the provision of lavatories and kitchens topped the list of funding requests received by the NCT in 2016. St James the Greater, Twycross, has no lavatory, and only one electric kettle to provide refreshments. It has been awarded £10,000 to remedy this.

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