Building Restoration Appeal

We have now launched our appeal for the restoration of our beautiful building. Not many churches can boast of being 'hung' in the National Gallery. St. Bartholomew's can. We are Grade 2* listed, and celebrated by Camille Pissarro (often called the Father of Impressionism) in his painting The Avenue, Sydenham in 1871. Our church, a local landmark since 1832, contains many wonderful - sometimes almost unique - features and now we need help to restore it. 

Pissarro's Church Will be Restored!

Buildings don't tend to collapse all of a sudden. They crumble away into small pieces and that is happening to the church from top to bottom. For example:

  • stonework is disintegrating; pieces have already fallen off
  • ridge tiles are broken, allowing in water which will rot the roof timbers if we don't act now
  •  brickwork needs re-pointing to keep out the frost and rain
  • the bolts securing the clock faces to the tower are rusting away
  • and the drains need overhauling to remove decades of tree roots and the debris, with rebuilding in places, to carry water away, preventing dampness and further outbreaks of dry rot.

The Building Restoration - What's Happening Now?

We are now deep in the process of applying for grants and drawing up a proposed schedule of works so everyone can understand each phase of the work and how the money we raise will be put to use. We have now raised sufficient funds to restore the vestry and sacristy roofs with associated drainage and hope to undertake this work sometime in the Spring/early Summer.

We are also working towards our next proposed phase of work - that of restoring the church tower. We have already raised a good sum of money towards this and are applying for more. As part of this project we hope to undertake the first part of our long term aim - that of re-instating the beautiful pinnacles, designed by Vulliamy and shown in the famous Pissarro painting. 

NB Also: It is hoped to repair our South Porch, which was put out of action last year, this Spring. A different process for this one but, also very lengthy!

The Clock Faces

The Vulliamy clock faces had become dangerously fragile and were taken down last year for safety reasons. These will be restored as part of the overall tower restoration - see above.

We need to make this safe before we can do anything else and we expect this element of the restoration to cost around £17-18,000.

Funding Applications

Over the next few months we will continue consulting with relevant representatives and gathering the required information needed in order to approach a number of major funds.

NB: Finance available for grant funding is, like so much else, extremely stretched. Since we started planning this project the process and outlook has changed considerably. Much of what we are now expected to do in return for funding is extremely positive but it is extremely time consuming and the outcomes of each grant application far less ensured. Because of this we anticipate the church restoration taking considerably longer than at first hoped, so be patient with us - we are working hard!

Grant bodies all give stringent conditions for giving grants. They require definite and particular outcomes such as increased accessibility to heritage, increased use of facilities, even the boosting of the local economy. They all require match funding and a considerable amount of planning and preparation - hardly surprising given the amount of money needed. So bear with us while we pull everything together. It's a lot of work and we want to get it right!

Consulting with you

Once the clock and tower is safe we want to offer access (as well as to other parts of the church of course) to interested groups. We would like to offer the opportunity to local Media Studies students to make a film about the church and its restoration. 

We want to hear from people who care about this building, or are interested in aspects of its heritage and restoration. We want ideas, not just about how to stop it from falling down, but how to improve it, to enhance it, to make it YOUR church. For example: 

  • a fully accessible and renovated crypt for use by community groups & start up businesses 
  • restoration of the pinnacles on the church tower to reflect Vulliamy's original design
  • restoration and display of the original clock mechanism

What are your ideas?

So, keep watching this space and, if you would like to be kept up-to-date through our e-newsletter (sent out every few weeks), click Here or use the link on the right.

Background

St. Bartholomew's is a building where worship, prayer and the nurturing of spiritual life has been a strong focus for over 180 years. We believe it is a place of significance and service to the local and wider community and - as part of the necessary restoration process (see below) - we intend to deepen and enhance those links. We will consult with and involve our community. We intend to improve accessibility, provide more facilities and offer opportunities for research and education, throughout this process.

St. Bartholomew's is a building of real historical, architectural and cultural importance. We are in the process of developing a section of this site to the art and architecture associated with this building, but a summary of some of its features is awe-inspiring:

  • A leading church architect, Lewis Vulliamy, who also worked on Rochester Cathedral
  • A clock-maker to the Crown, Benjamin Vulliamy (brother to Lewis), and a clock mechanism that is now one of only two or three left
  • An 'Arts & Crafts' Reredos by Henry Wilson, first editor of the Architectural Review, who worked on Ripon Cathedral and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York
  • A 'Cosmati' mosaic pavement using a technique of combining glass and marble that dates back to 12th and 13th century Rome - also found in Westminster Abbey
  • An organ made by the world-famous William Hill & Sons, who made the organ for St. Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney and inaugurated by Queen Victoria's own organist
  • A wonderful collection of original stained glass and the more recent Francis Spear, now featured in the Stained Glass Museum in Ely

We even have a tree planted by the future Emperor Frederick III of Germany and his wife, Queen Victoria's eldest daughter!

What can you do?

Obviously, you can send us money - we will love you for ever if you do - but there will be lots of other ways you can get involved over the next few months and even years. For example you could:

  • Add this page to your favourites bar and follow our progress regularly
  • Let us know what YOUR vision for this church is. How can we improve it and enhance its use to the community?
  • PASS IT ON. Send this web link to everyone you can think of who might have an interest in the building, its history, architecture, artefacts etc.
  • Let local businesses, organisations and schools know what's happening. We want media studies students to make films, artists to paint, pupils to enjoy history projects, people to learn and share new skills.
  • Let us have your ideas for events, however off the wall. We want to fill the church with music, art and fun.
  • Subscribe to our E-Newsletter using the link on the right. Encourage others to do so as well. It will help keep you up-to-date with fund raising events and progress.

Call the Rev Michael Kingston on 020 8778 5290

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Call the Vicar

020 8778 5290

or  Contact Us 

through this page

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HOW TO DONATE

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Give us your ideas

St. Barts E-News

St Bart's Heritage

See us on YouTube

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Total Appeal

c£800,000

Reached so far

£233,000

Time Scale

At least 3 years

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 Most Urgent

Vestry & Sacristy Roofs

South Porch

Tower and Clock

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Essential

Further restoring the Tower

Repointing and brickwork throughout

Identification and eradication of dry rot

Masonry/Stonework repairs throughout

Renewal of buttresses 

Re-roof Choir Vestry

Restoring windows

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Enhancements

Replace toilets, with improved accessibility

Safer access to roofs for easier maintenance

New facilities for the community eg lift to restored Crypt, re-instated gallery within church

Restoration of elements of heritage

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