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  • Writer's pictureSt Giles Online

Works on our historic building

Updated: Jun 20, 2018

Tower lighting scheme: update

This project has been in the designing and deciding stage for about 18 months and is now in the planning phase. Some of our near neighbours have objected to the scheme (too bright, too near their windows) but we have some confidence that, with provisos, we will be granted permission by Camden Council and by the Chancellor of the Diocese. We hope the work will be begun in late June and take approximately three weeks.

A memorial to Catholic priests

The absence of any public record at St Giles of the burial in the churchyard in the 1680s of a number of Catholic priests, some of them Jesuits, following their execution at Tyburn, has been brought to our attention over the past year. In response a scheme has been drawn up to install a commemorative stone plaque on the wall above the stairs going up to the north gallery.

This scheme may prove more controversial for some. The PCC has discussed it at some length and come to the conclusion that it is right and proper that we do mark this important moment in our history as Christians in this part of London. The Diocesan Advisory Committee (the DAC), which first looks at such matters, is currently discussing it and, if granted permission, we shall commission a high quality letter craftsman to carry out the work, though this possibly not be until the autumn now.

A new set of purpose-built cupboards

Those of you who observe these things (I know, not everyone!) might have noticed that following the last re-ordering a few years ago a new set of cupboards (re-cycled from removed pews) were installed at the back of the church and also to the back of the south choir stalls but not on the north side. So we have applied to the DAC to allow this to be remedied, employing the same joiners and carpenters as before.

External re-decorating

Again, for those who notice these things, the state of the windows of the Vestry House have long been a source of embarrassment to us, being so dirty and worn away. Accordingly our architect has been instructed to draw up a re-decorating scheme for the external woodwork of the Vestry House and for the doors of the Church (while we are at it) on a like-for-like basis. At the end, then, it will look just as it once did when last decorated, and at least not as uncared for as it seems today.

The eastern boundary wall

Cast your eye out of the Vestry House windows and across the apology for grass that is (alas) the churchyard and you will see a low wall behind the shrubs on which a number of headstones have been propped. What you cannot see is that on the other side the ground falls away for about 12 feet and that there is a large wooden structure in place to stop masonry falling on people’s heads. This problem has been discussed on and off (mostly off) for at least twelve years now if not longer. Finally, however, we hope some resolution will come before the summer is out and that Camden Council will rebuild the wall. Let’s hope so.

The church office

Sometimes on Sundays a few people have reason to call into the office but no more than that. Yet it is where the administration and some of the hospitality of the church takes place through the week and where people who work hard on our behalf are based. We hope, after Easter, to improve the look of the room by redecorating it and replacing a very worn out carpet.

The vestry house table

No one who has ever been in the Vestry House can fail to have seen (or to have bumped into) the large, ancient oval table which has long presided over the room. It is at long last about to be taken away for a season to the furniture restorer’s workshop in Brixton for an overhaul and a rest, all funded by grants previously received for the purpose. A set of folding tables will be used in the table’s absence.

A new post - Estate Manager

In view of all the administration and chasing involved in projects such as these, as well as on-going maintenance works and the need to oversee other properties, the PCC has recently created a new role of Estate Manager; and we therefore welcome Mr. Fred Simkin to the post. He comes with a background in property and project management and he shall, over time, begin to take some of the burden of caring for our buildings and fabrics from ourselves.

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