Howarth discovers how community spirit saved a Victorian gem

August 24, 2009 10:32 AM
Howarth visits All Saints Church

CAPTION: David Howarth visits All Saints Church with Rebecca Rees (left) and Christine Barlow, secretary of the Friends of All Saints Church.

A major renovation project, which saved a fine Victorian church from demolition, has been explained to Cambridge MP David Howarth.

Mr Howarth visited All Saints Church in Jesus Lane to learn how the local community rallied to rescue the church 30 years ago.

The Churches Conservation Trust - the national charity which cares for historic churches - stepped in and invested more than £500,000 restoring the church.

Water had been pouring into the 250-year-old building, damaging much of the painted interior and fabric of the church.

All Saints Church, which has the second tallest spire in Cambridge, is a fine example of the Victorian Gothic Revival style. It includes painted walls and ceilings by one of the most distinguished and influential Victorian church architects, George Bodley, and a stained glass east window by the so-called Pre-Raphaelite School of English Painters, William Morris, Ford Maddox Brown and Edward Burne-Jones.

Now the church is open to visitors every day and is used by the neighbouring Westcott House theological college. It has also hosted local events including a flower festival, concerts and lectures.

To mark the Churches Conservation Trust's 40th anniversary, a jazz concert will be held in the church on September 27 and an anniversary concert on October 3.

Trust Regional Manager, Rebecca Rees said: "This church is a real gem. Now we want to promote it as one of our flagship churches."

Mr Howarth, who visited the church on Tuesday, said: "The restoration work on All Saints is testament to what can be achieved when the local community really gets behind a project.

"This building has been saved and preserved for future generations and the Churches Conservation Trust should be congratulated on the meticulous work it has carried out.

"I would encourage everyone to go and take a look at what has been achieved here and to support future events at the church so that it can become a central part of the community once again."

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