Please find here all details to book your scaffolding tour!
Our beloved landmark church has been awarded £362,900 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to complete the restoration of the majestic dome and main sanctuary.
This architecturally ambitious basilica, built in 1933, the church dominates Wirral’s skyline, and was nicknamed during the Second World War. Its distinctive green dome has been lovingly known as ‘The Dome of Home’ since mid-20th century, when sailors would see the church from the River Mersey. ‘The Dome of Home’ is one of the last iconic Art Deco buildings to survive redevelopment in New Brighton, whilst still retaining its original function, and continues to open its doors for everyone to enjoy.
Alongside the structural restoration work that will take place, the funding will also ensure that there will be exciting activities to enable specific members of our community to discover this historic gem for themselves. Working with partners such as Williamson Art Gallery, Wirral Borough Council, multiple care homes, community centres, and local schools and libraries, activities including a dementia friendly heritage package, a memory book and heritage talks will be delivered. Other activities include a Reformation Workshop for students, continued professional development for heritage workers, a conference for other churches interested in applying for funding and Heritage Open Day scaffolding tours and lectures. There will be something for all ages and abilities, and all happening in this wonderful building.
Previous projects have been phased since 2013 and supported through the National Lottery’s Grants for Places of Worship programme, restoring two-thirds of the roofs. However, concrete bursting from the Dome ring is putting previous investment at serious risk, and water ingress threatens the historic fabric. During the last project, a large lump of concrete fell onto a repaired chapel roof, confirming urgency. Fortunately, contractors were able to ‘patch’ repair onsite. This new project will cover the Sanctuary barrel roof with a membrane, repoint brickwork, restore steel windows and cast-iron rainwater goods treating the structural concrete problems, making the whole church safe and watertight.
Canon Amaury Montjean from the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest and Rector of the church is delighted. He said: “This is our biggest project yet, which has taken 18 months of careful planning by a committed team of people! Thank you everyone, from the architect and structural engineer, to the wonderful volunteers, supported by prayers to ‘Our Lady of Good Success’ from the congregation. We have a special ‘Thank You cuppa’ for all National Lottery players planned to accompany a recital of church heritage at The Williamson Art Gallery near the end of the project, so watch this space!”
Canon Montjean added, “Match funding is going well, but not yet complete. AllChurches Trust awarded £12.5k in March 2019 for this project and we have received £15k in private donations. We still have another £17k to raise and launch a further fundraising campaign today.”
Project Manager, Anne Archer, was overjoyed with the news. She said, “Our volunteers have worked extremely hard planning this project, proving that we have the capacity to succeed. It is these people who have won this award for our church. The grant will ensure the dome becomes a living, lasting legacy for the New Brighton community.”
David Renwick, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: The commitment of the Dome of Home’s volunteers is to be applauded, as is their drive to share the fascinating heritage of the landmark church with the wider community through a carefully considered activity programme. Encouraging communities to discover their history is positive not only for safeguarding the heritage itself but also for increasing wellbeing and strengthening community pride. We are delighted to support this worthwhile project, with thanks to National Lottery players for making it possible.”
The Dome of Home is recruiting more people to get involved in the activities, with the aid of Community Action Wirral. This contributes to helping Wirral become a Dementia Friendly Borough as part of their Action Plan pledge to help older people live well. Anyone interested in helping and joining the fun, please email ”
Ss. Peter & Paul and St. Philomena submitted the application for a grant to National Lottery Heritage in November and we are awaiting a decision in March.
Last Thursday was our last chance to present our proposed project to our National Lottery Investment Manager and one of the committee who will be deciding whether to fund us. They were particularly impressed with the volunteer contribution during development and the promised contribution of volunteers for delivery, if we get the grant.
The investment manager explained that although some of our activities have a relatively low budget compared to some other projects from councils and museums, that is because of the massive volunteer contribution. Thank you to all who have helped so far, whether through your time, your energy, your sacrifices and your prayers.
The board of trustees will meet at the beginning of March to decide whether we deserve funding. Competition is tough. A novena for the success of our HLF application for our restoration project will be organised at the Shrine from 25th February to 4th March.
To implore the help of Our Lady, we will be saying a Novena. The Novena will be prayed at the end of the Morning Mass on weekdays, and at the end of the 10.30am Mass on Sunday.
A small booklet about the devotion and Novena to Our Lady of Good Success is for sale at the Piety Shop for £5.
A very well attended recital took place at The Williamson Gallery in Birkenhead yesterday afternoon
The concert featured a wide repertoire of music and poetry with classical piano, Gregorian chant and sacred music being amonst the feast that entertained a packed crowd in excess of 100 people.
The Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus together with Helen Neilsen Scott performed pieces that made up a varied programme.
Below are a selection of photography capturing the event.
Sunday 11th August 2-5pm (on St Philomena’s feast day)
Starts behind Bubbles on the prom at Marine Point, New Brighton.
This is a sponsored walk organised by Ss Peter Paul and Saint Philomena Shrine Church to raise funds for the church and for St John’s Hospice, Wirral.
It will take place on The Feast Day of Saint Philomena, on Sunday the 11th August, at 2 o’clock.
The emblem of the Walk is a golden cockle shell to echo the scallop shell emblem of the famous pilgrim route of The Camino Way.
The Walk will start on the prom behind Bubbles and will continue along the prom to Vale Park gates and back again, a total of three miles. You can repeat this route to increase your mileage.
These are available at Ss Peter Paul and Saint Philomena Shrine Church in Atherton St and at St John’s Hospice Charity Shop in Victoria Rd, New Brighton, and online here
At Vale Park walkers will have the opportunity to write the name of a loved one inside a cockle shell which will be included in shell murals to be made in the gardens of the church and the hospice.
We are asking all walkers to wear blue as it is the colour associated with Our Lady and also with St John’s Hospice. All walkers will be given a golden cockle shell pendant bearing the anchor emblem of Saint Philomena to wear during the walk.
Don’t forget your sun hat and sun cream or your umbrella and raincoat!
All day parking is available in Morrison’s car park at Marine Point and also along the prom. Do Not Park in Bubbles car park, it’s for patrons only and you could be fined.
These are available in Morrison’s at Marine Point, also at Vale Park Cafe
Everyone is welcome:
This is a traffic free, wheelchair friendly route.
Children under 14 must be accompanied by a responsible adult
Dogs on leads are welcome to join us.
Do you fancy going on a scaffolding tour if we get the Heritage Grant? Maybe you have always wanted to see the Dome close up, been part of this church for a long time or even want to take that fantastic photo of New Brighton. Whatever the reason, you are eligible to enter our competition to win a tour around the scaffolding.
We will have up to 18 places available subject to the appointed contractor’s eligibility and insurance criteria (I.e. a head for heights and fit enough to climb!). To enter, a person must answer the following question:
In 30 words or less, say why the landmark building of Ss Peter & Paul and St Philomena aka the Dome of Home, is important to you?
We need feedback to show National Lottery that our church is very important to the local community. Please get anyone you know who would like to go up the scaffolding to submit their answer either by email to or post to The Presbytery, 7 Atherton Street, CH45 9LT or simply click here to do online.
The eight months since the ‘Development Grant’ from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF previously HLF) was awarded to prepare our application for the grant to restore the dome and main sanctuary have flown by! NLHF requires us to engage our wider community with our church. We must have evidence of a need for proposed activities and be able to assess the outcome to prove they meet that need. So this year has been a time for piloting our ideas and testing them to see if they meet the NLHF criteria. It has enabled us to see what has and has not worked and to make the necessary changes. The public were consulted via our survey over the winter (over 500 replies). The following activities were then selected for piloting.
As part of the grant application we must raise some funds ourselves (Match funding) This is overseen by the ‘Friends of the Shrine’ group (which you are all welcome to join!). Organized so far: Summer Fair 29th June, Sponsored Walk 11th August (in conjunction with St John’s Hospice) and the 200+ Club.
We also have been busy collecting art work for a fundraising calendar which we hope will be on sale by September 2019. Art work will also be displayed in the Williamson Art Gallery throughout November 2019 and we will have a recital at the Williamson on 3rd November 2019 – more details to follow.
As you can see there has been a huge amount of work going on, including writing draft policies which all volunteers will need to follow. These are available via Anne and awaiting final approval.
A heartfelt thank you to all who have volunteered their time and talents so far. Please keep sending in your volunteer hours to Project Manager Anne – . If you love the Dome and wish to see it restored, please see what you can get involved in. Welcome aboard!
Saint Peter pray for us! Saint Paul pray for us! Saint Philomena pray for us!
In connection with the recent launch of our Calendar campaign to help raise much need funds for the restoration of the Shrine, the Mayor and Mayoress of Wirral, Councillor and Mrs Watt visited on Monday 29th April 2019.
Both enjoyed a fascinating tour of the Church and took tea with Canon Montjean and others in the Presbytery after which Councillor Watt said “I’d like to encourage our talented Wirral residents to contribute their beautiful images of the locality for this new calendar initiative. This kind of local support will really help this church gain the funding they need to complete the restoration of the Dome.”
The restoration of our Shrine Church is now in its fourth phase and needs your help.
The church is producing a calendar, to help raise match-funding for a National Lottery Heritage Grant to repair the dome. In keeping with Wirral as Liverpool City Region’s ‘Borough of Culture 2019,’ the calendar, entitled All You Need Is Love’, will showcase local talent and our beautiful Wirral. Monthly themes will be based on St Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians – ‘Love is Patient, Love is Kind’, with a different aspect on love for each month.
Project Manager Anne Archer said, “Initially, we are looking for twelve stunning images, hopefully some funny ones, some historical ones – great if they have the Dome in them too! The competition is open to all ages, so we hope local children will also contribute. And we have secured exhibition space in Wallasey Central Library and The Williamson Art Gallery Café to display more works.
Our other aim, subject to funding, is to produce a coffee table style hard-backed ‘reflection’ book which will include yet more of your stunning images along with inspirational words – verses that either make us smile or inspire us – so please do also send us your poetry, either with your image or separately. We are keen for this book to appeal to a wide audience, including people with dementia. So, for the poets among you, please stick with simple language and short sentence structure.”
The Calendar will be sold at many local outlets including: The Post Office, Victoria Rd,
The Sea Shanty Café, Atherton St, Literally Bookshop, Atherton St, The Light Cinema,
Cafe Creme on the promenade, Vale Park Café, the Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead, the Floral Pavilion Theatre, Cards Galore, Victoria Rd, Heritage Centre, and St James Church, Albion St.
The reflection book would be free of charge to libraries, care homes, day centres, schools and on request.
The artwork and photos will be chosen by a panel of judges including: Cathy Roberts (aka ‘Tugboat Cath’, local author and illustrator), Wirral Globe’s Peter Grant and Dave Peddie from The New Brighteners. Selected works will be displayed at Wallasey Central Library from the 3- 27September 2019 inclusive and at the Williamson Art Gallery during November 2019. There will be a recital session of music and poetry at The Williamson one Sunday afternoon in November 2019, date to be confirmed.
Image requirements and consent agreements are available when you submit your work online.
To submit artwork, photos or reflections, please go to https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ImagesforDomecalendar
or email Deadline for all submissions is Friday 28 June 2019.