One of the great aspects of the building improvement work is it encourages us to look again at the heritage of the church and the area we serve. We have done this in many ways, and continue to do so. Our volunteers welcome many people into the church and this year we have worked with a lot more schools. Twice a week we cook a hot meal, and three times a week we open our doors and offer a Place of Welcome. We host open days and events.
But now we are also working on sharing our heritage and today, despite the awful weather, a group went to Uplands Infant School, along with Linda from the museum’s service who brought the Memory Box we helped put together last year. The group talked about what it is like in the Caribbean, and the difficulties experienced coming to England, and how the area had changed, and as each new wave of neighbours came and brought new foods, more colour and a renewed vibrancy.
We are going back soon and will hopefully record and share some of the experiences.
Some of the items from the Caribbean Memory Box (Leicester City Council).
Google have recently flown over St Peter’s and Highfields and updated their aerial photos of the area. The shots of the church and halls show how impressive the scaffolding is, and also show (for you who are interested) the new roof on the top of the tower.
The work has been funded by Heritage Lottery and Diocese of Leicester. You can see more Google images of the church and Highfields here.
In many ways, the last few months have been frustrating. We know that work has been ongoing – we see and talk to the stonemasons regularly; they even join for lunch sometimes. Yet most of the work is shrouded in scaffolding.
So it was great to receive an update from Smiths of Derby on how the clocks faces have been repaired, renovated and now painted. They are ready to be reinstalled as part of the finishing work on the tower.
Here they are in the workshop, resplendent in their new colourings.
St Peter’s Church Highfields – Tower Stonework Repairs
Work to repair stonework on the tower of Grade II listed St Peter’s Church in Highfields has started, thanks to a grant of £158,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and support from the Diocese of Leicester.
The mammoth job of erecting the scaffolding to the 26 metre high tower has now been completed and the repair of the crumbling stonework can begin.
Rev’d Jonathan Surridge, Priest-in-charge of St Peter’s says: “This is the first phase of a long-term plan to repair and refurbish our wonderful Victorian Church, a significant hub of Christian worship and hospitality in the multi-faith, diverse community of Highfields.”
The tower stonework repairs and associated repairs to tower roof, tower windows, the clock face and internal repairs to the tower stairs are being undertaken by specialist Historic building restoration contractors, Stone Edge, and will be completed in February 2018. The Project also includes heritage learning activities with local primary school pupils and oral history recordings on video.
St Peter’s Church will be open to the public during the Heritage Open Days on Friday 8th September (11.00 am to 4.00 pm), Saturday and Sunday 9th and 10th September (12.30 to 4.00 pm).
Rev’d Jonathan Surridge, Priest-in-Charge: mobile xxxxx xxxxxxx, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ted Cassidy MBE, Project Manager: mobile xxxxx xxxxxxx xxx, email email@example.com
If you look at the tower now you will see it surrounded by a feat of engineering that has seen the entire tower surrounded by scaffolding.
The scaffolding will enable the work to be completed safely and has taken so long because of how soft some of the stone is. Crafts people will now begin the careful work of restoration along with other vital work. Access to the church and halls is being maintained at all times.
The church is open Tuesday from 9.30 and Wednesdays and Fridays, 11 to 1pm.
Here is a reminder of the scaffolding being erected.
And what we looked like before.
As the building works continue, and we pray for further good news and a break through in our fund raising, the Church Community has been reflecting and reviewing what we do, and how we may go forward.
We are now embarking on a major review of the gifts and skills God has given us all, and how we might use those to serve God better through the work of the Church.
To that end, we all being encouraged to complete a questionnaire. If you want to, you can complete the form online below, print it off from this link, or pop into the church and pick a copy up.
Want a form to fill in with a pen? You can download a copy here. <link>
It seems like it has taken ages, but building work is about to get underway as the scaffolding goes up.
This is very much the start, and at the moment this work is just on the tower. We still have urgent works to carry out on the roof, and the inside is looking tired and in need of some TLC. But at least we have started.
The building is still open, just follow the signs.
The Leicester Mercury on Saturday 29 April covered the start of the work on our tower, which has been supported by grant from the Diocese of Leicester and a Heritage Lottery Fund.
We have also been featured on the Leicester Diocese web site. You can read that story here. CLICK HERE
Today we have issued a press release to local and national press about the start of the building work, supported by Heritage Lottery and the Diocese of Leicester.
St Peter Press Release April 2017
Work continues to progress on the urgent repairs to the building, focusing on the tower to start with and then, hopefully, moving on to the roof repairs.
As a church community we are also maintaining other parts of the building. Last autumn we did a lot of gardening work, and have improved the water supply to the church and community buildings. The new doors to the New Hall should be installed very soon.
In the church we have installed a new sound system and will, hopefully, be putting a hearing loop in, and we continue to look at the lighting.
When the building work starts we will have to look carefully at some of our access arrangements. Plans will be made available nearer the time and we hope that all users will bear with us during the disruption that we will experience.