The restoration of our church, has received a significant boost this week from Allchurches Trust.
Architecturally ambitious and built in 1933, our church dominates Wirral’s skyline. It was nicknamed ‘The Dome of Home’ by merchant seamen returning to Liverpool during The Battle of the Atlantic in the Second World War.
This restoration project initially began with National Lottery Heritage Funding in August 2018. A grant of £12,200 from Allchurches Trust to The Institute of Christ the King, who care for the church, means that over half of the match-funding support for 2020 work has now been secured.
Great plans are taking shape to complete the restoration of the majestic dome, drum and main Sanctuary of this beautiful landmark church including activities for the whole community linked to Wirral’s Borough of Culture 2019.
Since 2013, two-thirds of the roofs of this basilica-like building have been restored. 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 Montjean, Rector of the church, said, “This grant from Allchurches Trust is a substantial contribution towards our match-funding for our most ambitious project yet! Thank you so much to Allchurches Trust and National Lottery players. We’ve launched a new ‘Friends’ group to help fundraising and they will be delighted at this massive help towards our target in November 2019 when we must submit the next HLF application.”
Allchurches Trust is one of the UK’s largest grant-making charities and gave £16.9 million to churches, charities and communities in 2018. Its funds come from its ownership of Ecclesiastical Insurance Group.
Allchurches Trust grants officer, Paul Playford, said: “This project is a true celebration of this heritage gem, but also of the rich history of the local community, and the church’s continuing and growing role within that community. It’s wonderful how this project is bringing together local people of all ages to share their reminiscences and collective experiences, with the aim of preserving them for future generations and improving wellbeing. We’re delighted to be able to support such an ambitious
and innovative project.”
Canon Montjean added, “We’ve planned our heritage activities to welcome new people, stimulate nostalgic memories but keeping the church’s primary function, open all day, every day, accessible for everyone to enjoy the oasis of traditional worship and Gregorian chant.”
Teams of volunteers are planning a varied Activity Programme for the whole community. It includes a dementia-friendly inspirational ‘Reflections book’, with contributions from local artists, photographers, poets and schoolchildren. There will be a digital photo album collecting and archiving personal heritage associated with the church, musical activities to bring the community together, a Secondary Education Pack and Continued Professional Development for Heritage professionals: something for all ages and abilities, and all happening in this wonderful building. Project Manager, Anne Archer commented, “Things are coming together. We’ve begun to collect family photos of events at the church for our new digital Photoalbum archive, to be completed in 2020, during the second phase of the project; and we’re just about to launch publicity to collect stunning local images from artists and photographers with inspiring reflections interspersed with memories of the church, to make people stop and ponder. It’s really exciting.”
If anyone has photos, artwork or reflections to contribute to this project, would like to join some volunteers to help or just book a volunteer-led Guided Tour or school visit, email or follow us on Facebook Dome of Home, Twitter @domeofhome or phone 0774 323 5046.