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20th December 2017

Early Christmas presents for two historic Lancashire churches

Two historic Lancashire churches are celebrating receiving grants from the National Churches Trust for important repair work.

St Peter’s Church in Darwen and Holy Trinity Church in Blackpool have received early Christmas presents of £17,087 and £12,913 respectively.

St Peter’s will use the cash to help fund new sheet copper coverings for its roofs while Holy Trinity is putting the money towards repairs to its tower. See end of story for more details.

Huw Edwards, Broadcaster and Journalist and Vice-President of the National Churches Trust said today: “At the heart of communities in cities, towns and villages, churches are a treasure trove of architecture, history and faith.

“I’m delighted that St Peter’s Church, Darwen and Holy Trinity Church in Blackpool are to benefit from these National Churches Trust repair grants.

“This will help ensure that these historic churches, two of the finest examples of architecture in their towns, are able to continue in the service of local people.”

From St Peter’s, Rev Canon Fleur Green commented: “This award from the National Churches Trust is very much appreciated as we strive to preserve the heritage in this most beautiful church in the centre of our town.

“Once the work is completed on the building we will be able to extend the amount of work and outreach we are able to do here, knowing the building is secure for future generations.”

David Eaves, parishioner at Holy Trinity Church Blackpool, added: “We are delighted the National Churches Trust has awarded us this funding towards our repair work supported by Heritage Lottery Fund and other fundraising by the congregation.

“It will make a massive difference and helps us to maintain the church for the community who use the facilities.”

The news of the National Churches Trust awards was also welcomed by the two Archdeacons of the Diocese, The Venerable Michael Everitt, Archdeacon of Lancaster and The Venerable Mark Ireland, Archdeacon of Blackburn.

Commenting on the Holy Trinity grant Archdeacon Michael said: “It is wonderful that Holy Trinity, Blackpool has been given such a generous grant. Holy Trinity is an amazing Church with magnificent windows, one of which even features a polar bear!

“It is a Church that serves God and the community in the South Shore area of Blackpool through a whole range of activities.

“This grant enables both the beautiful building to be repaired and also encourages the parish in their mission to be a healthy church, transforming their community.”

Speaking about St Peter’s, Darwen, Archdeacon Mark added: “I am delighted to hear of the award of this well-deserved grant, which will help to secure the fabric of this historic church. St. Peter’s Church stands at the heart of its community and its doors are open every day to witness to the good news of Jesus and to show God’s love to all the people of Darwen. This is a great and timely Christmas present which will hopefully encourage this dedicated and faithful congregation.”

Holy Trinity church, Blackpool has received a funding boost in time for Christmas in the shape of a £12,913 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent repairs to its tower. The church is one of 93 churches and chapels in England, Wales and Scotland set to benefit from rescue funding of £680,230 from the National Churches Trust, the UK’s church support charity.

Urgent problems have been discovered with the church’s high-level masonry. Stonework to louvred openings in the tower was found to be badly eroded, mortar bedding material was missing and old mortar repairs were now failing and pieces were breaking down and falling from the church.

With the whole building safe there will be greater opportunities for use of the building. It will be more aesthetically pleasing, attracting local people, tourist and holiday makers. The community will be able to use the building for concerts and events in a unique local setting.

Holy Trinity is a large stone built church, listed Grade II, located in Dean Street, back from the Blackpool Promenade, and not far from the Pleasure Beach.

The present church was built 1894-5 by R K Freeman, and is designed in a free style of Decorated Gothic. His work was mainly ecclesiastical, but he also designed other buildings and even made additions to the piers of Blackpool and Southport. Although his work was mainly in the North-West, he also designed buildings abroad. He built the only Anglican church in Moscow. Holy Trinity Church was considered to be his very best.

The church is large, being over 150 feet long and 80 feet wide. The tower is of five stages and around 90 feet high, with angled buttresses, belfry louvres, battlemented parapet and canted stair turret with pyramidal roof of red tiles.

There are many beautiful stained-glass windows in the church, and the ones in the South Nave have an interesting story. They depict the four Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and were originally in Rawcliffe Street Methodist Church. The last service was held there on the 25 July 1971, and in 1972 the church was demolished. Fortunately, these windows were saved from destruction and given to the church by the Methodists.

St Peter’s church, Darwen has received a funding boost in time for Christmas in the shape of a £17,087 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund new sheet copper coverings to its roofs. The church is one of 93 churches and chapels in England, Wales and Scotland set to benefit from rescue funding of £680,230 from the National Churches Trust, the UK’s church support charity.

A recent survey confirmed that the roof coverings of the north and south aisles are failing. Water is saturating the interior every time it rains, insulating materials have been soaked and water has reached electrical conduits causing a risk of electrical shock and fire, severely restricting these upper sections of the church.

The work will include replacing the sheet copper roof coverings, the failing asphalt gutter on the south side, and any associated elements of the building such as the parapet masonry (which is affected by corroding iron reinforcement) and new rainwater goods.

The project will ensure that this special building is water tight and safe. The roofs will be sealed and the threat to woodwork, ceilings above the galleries on the north and south aisles, electrical conduits and lighting, will be alleviated, conserving the church for future generations of townspeople and congregations.

The foundation stone of St Peter’s was laid on July 19 1827, and the consecration ceremony held on 13 September 1829. Then called Holy Trinity, it was one of the “Commissioner’s Churches” financed by Government grants and declared to be in thanksgiving for the victories in the Napoleonic wars.

It is in the heart of the local conservation area and of great significance architecturally and as an integral and relevant part of this Lancashire town which grew in the Industrial Revolution. The Diocese employed Thomas Rickman as St Peter’s architect. Rickman is notable as the author of ‘An Attempt to Discriminate the Styles of English Architecture’, published in 1817, and a classic of architectural writing as it outlines the commonly accepted definitions of English medieval church architecture.

St Peter's was built in a modest style using fine red sandstone in complete contrast to the local sandstone or brick of the rest of the area. There is a three-stage west tower complete with working chiming clock overlooking the town centre. The bells mark the passing of time and ring for Sunday services, weddings and Jubilee celebrations.