An in-depth inspection of St Matthew’s Church has revealed several issues with the building which require attention. St Matthew’s was built in 1875 and remains largely intact as the original architect designed it. The building was listed “for its special architectural or historic interest” in 1983. It is not surprising that after over 140 years the building is succumbing to wear and tear.
The tower and spire are in need of the most urgent attention and the church has been working with architects, surveyors and other specialists to plan for major repair and renovation works to start in Spring 2019. The entire tower and spire will be encased in scaffolding whilst specialist contractors replace defective stone and mortar, remove inappropriate materials used to repair the building many years ago, and generally restore this most striking and visible feature of the building to as close to its original state as possible. It is perhaps ironic that, externally at least, one mark of success of this project will be that the tower and spire look much as they do today, but with the removal of the risks and deterioration that the passage of time have caused. The project is being closely monitored by Historic England and the Diocese of Southwark. The work is being supervised by Oliver West & John Scott Architects Ltd who have enviable conservation credentials.
The opportunity will be taken during this pressing work to improve access to the inside of the tower and spire and also to overhaul the existing toilets in the church, including the installation of a new toilet with appropriate facilities for people with limited mobility.
All this work is an expensive proposition and the congregations at St Matthew’s have been working hard and digging deep to start the funding ball rolling. They have been joined by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) who have been enormously supportive, initially providing us with a grant to develop plans this far and now considering an application for a much larger grant to help pay for the main works.
Working with the HLF has helped us to focus on the somewhat overlooked heritage features of the church, including its wonderfully varied stained glass, its important WW1 memorial, its nationally registered organ and many other features not excluding the grandeur of the building itself.
We hope to keep the church open as much as we can during the works, and do not anticipate cancelling any of our regular services. We may on occasions have to use alternative entrances, which will be well sign-posted.
We will be posting regular updates on this site but if you have a close interest in the building and the works why not become a Friend of St Matthew’s?
There is also a form for donating here 2018 Bank electronic payment form with Gift Aid form – G003 which also includes a Gift Aid Declaration. If you are a UK Taxpayer, signing a Gift Aid declaration makes your gift go much further at no extra cost to yourself.