Brighton church previously at risk of damage from rainwater wins award for restoration

A church in Brighton has received an award from the National Churches Trust after the once at risk building was restored.

Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 11:45 am
Left to Right: Edwards Insurance, Peter Tulley maintenance manager, Marion Bance administrator, Cathy Pitt treasurer, Jef Jones lay pastor or Brighton Unitarian Church

Brighton Unitarian Church is the First Runner Up in the Good Guardianship Awards which was held at Mercers’ Hall, London on November 15 and recognises hard work invested in church restoration.

As a result of the award, run by the National Churches Trust (NCT) and the Pilgrim Trust, the church has been granted £1500 for its ongoing care.

The NCT commended the church maintenance plan introduced to secure the building’s future as an active centre of cultural and community activities in the city.

Marion Bance, administrator of Brighton Unitarian Church, said: “Brighton Unitarian is delighted to have received the award for excellence in church maintenance planning. Our ongoing relationship with the NCT is very important to us. 

“In 2017 Brighton Unitarian was on the At Risk Register... We thought at one time that we may even have to close our doors. But with the help of generous grant giving bodies, such as the NCT, we were able to embark on a huge restoration project.”

Built by architect Amon Henry Wilds in 1820, the church’s design was modelled on the ancient Temple of Theseus in Athens, Greece. 

The Grade II listed frontage had been placed on the English Heritage At Risk Register after surveys revealed rainwater seeping behind the stucco frontage, threatening parts of the church with collapse.

After securing Heritage Lottery Funding, a restoration project went ahead and was completed in 2018.

As a result, the church was removed from the At Risk Register.

Marion Bance said that the church has given ‘a great deal of time and attention’ to preserve the church for future generations.

“We fully understand that we are custodians of the building and it is our privilege as well as our responsibility to ensure that it is cared for in the proper way.” she said.

For more information on the project, including a short documentary about the restoration, visit its website here.