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 contactus(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)domeofhome.org ”