Calls for further funding to repair 'devastating' damage at Brighton church

Renovations at an historic Brighton church will need further funding as more 'devastating' damage has been uncovered.

The Brighton Unitarian Church, which dates back to 1820, has been undergoing work after a survey in 2016 revealed its columns and portico were under threat of structural collapse.

The Brighton church has called for further funding to restore the building

The Brighton church has called for further funding to restore the building

The New Road church was awarded £227,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund earlier this year to restore its classical Greek frontage, after it was named on English Heritage's 'at risk' register.

This made up just over half the funding; the rest was raised by church members through a programme of lunchtime concerts, organ recitals, quizzes and fairs.

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But this week, the church said 'devastating damage has been uncovered during the current restoration project'.

Brighton Unitarian Church

Brighton Unitarian Church

It said structural experts had found: the pediment is in an advanced state of collapse; the timbers are extensively rotten; the metal supports are corroded so badly that some have disappeared; and the stonework is falling apart and in danger of falling off.

The church said the stonework poses a 'serious risk to the safety of pedestrians and local businesses on New Road', and added that the estimated damage adds a further £71,000 to the existing repair bill.

Phillida Simpson, Brighton Unitarian Church treasurer, said: “Thanks to generous financial contributions from charities and individual supporters, work is well underway on rebuilding our beloved church’s endangered classical Greek frontage, one of the city centre’s finest landmarks.

"However, we simply do not have the money to address the serious restoration problems, as funds raised by our many efforts are already fully committed to the original project. We urgently need to seek additional funding to help to repair the damage and make the pediment safe again. This is why we are looking to our community and friends for your help and support.”

The building, which is used as a church and as a concert venue, was the work of Brighton architect Amon Henry Wilds.

It was completed in August 1820, built on land bought from the Prince Regent for £650 in 1819. The plot had been part of the gardens of the Royal Pavilion.

The church has now set up a Just Giving page to raise cash for the extra funds.

For more information on the project, visit: www.brightonunitarian.org.uk

Video by westcreative.org