If you had glanced to the south (Kirkgate) side of the gallery in 2014, you would have seen a large area of bare stonework where plaster had been removed. This was to allow examination of the wall to see what was causing a crack and whether the damage has been caused by water getting in. This examination was part of a project to re-roof the church and renew the guttering over the next few years.
The slate roof was replaced in 1926, with second-hand materials. A roof report (2011) and Quinquennial Survey (2012) identified the need for “re-roofing of the church within the next 2-3 years using new slates.” Following discussion it was decided to undertake repair work in two phases, with the South side of the church done first. This would include stripping and re-slating of the pitched roofs and installing a breather membrane and roof insulation. The fallpipes would be overhauled, parapet gutters renewed and repairs undertaken to address the weathering stonework. The windows were to undergo any identified pressing repair and new guards would be fitted to protect the windows against vandalism.
The estimated cost of phase 1 was in the order of £200,000.
The PCC applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund Grants for Places of Worship programme, which assists funding of urgent repairs.
We were awarded a grant of £18,100 for a development phase, which allowed us to commission surveys and enable the architect to draw up detailed plans and tenders for the work.
We commissioned surveys on the condition of the roof and plaster, the timber (roof trusses) and of the stained glass. Additionally, an environmental study for bats and an investigation for the presence of asbestos were done. The PCC took advantage of this latter to have the rest of the church surveyed for asbestos – a legal requirement. Whilst most of the church has no asbestos, some was found in the boiler house and this has now been cleared by specialist contractors.
Bats are a protected species and we needed to see if bats were using the church. An initial survey revealed that six species of bat had been reported within a 2km radius but none in the church itself. Inspection of the church concluded that breeding roosts are considered unlikely and a flight survey (watching out for bats) and detector in the roof space showed no presence of bats in the church.
The stained glass report concluded that the glass in the church is, on the whole, in reasonable condition though clearly some minor repairs are required. The east window is in the poorest condition, particularly the upper half of the window, which will require some repair. Currently this is protected by external glass.
From the surveys the architect (Bill Glaister of Overton Architects) prepared a specification for the works. The specification was approved by the Heritage Lottery Fund and passed to contractors to provide a price. The prices were higher than anticipated and so some of the work in the original proposal was deferred to a later phase of the project. The project then comprised re-slating the south nave and SW corner roofs, attention to the south side masonry and renewal of the rainwater goods to the nave and south west staircase, as well essential guarding of the south windows.
A grant of £145,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund was awarded to do the south side of the roof. That is about £70,000 less than the cost of over £215,000. However VAT of about £34,000 could be reclaimed from a Government scheme, leaving £36,000 to raise.
A contract was signed with the firm of Lloyd and Smith for the work to be done under the supervision of Overton architects.
The work on the roof started in June 2015 and lasted for about 5 months, to end October. This involved scaffolding on the south and west sides of the church and a workman’s cabin by the lower gate in Kirkgate. There was also some scaffolding inside the church on the south gallery as a safety measure. The roof was protected when the slates are being replaced.
As part of a repair project HLF also fund work to encourage greater community use and engagement with heritage. As part of the project we tried to increase awareness of St Paul’s history and community involvement. This involved revising/updating/extending/ reprinting the historical guidebook to St. Paul’s and adding the information to the existing Parish website. In addition, there are currently a few schools visits each year as part of their national curriculum work (RE) This project would develop these with current schools and create a schools pack on the church history.
So what was achieved?
Re-designed rainwater gutters, gullies and hoppers fabricated and installed. New fallpipes fitted. Two additional soakaways constructed. South roof has been stripped of slates. Waterproof membrane fitted. Roof reslated with new battens and slates. The south gallery has had insulation installed above the ceiling. Access hatch constructed at west end of main roof. The SW staircase roof stripped, reslated and access hatch provided. Although main structural timbers required less treatment, the ceiling in two areas above the south gallery needed urgent attention – it was in dangerous condition since some timber was rotten and plaster about to fall. This was repaired, requiring a scaffold tower. Masonry work and pointing completed. All the parapet stones needed resetting and repairs done to nave parapet masonry. Loose pinnacles reset. These were required to be done as they were in a dangerous condition. Scaffolding has been removed and site returned to good condition.
The interior wall which was stripped to examine the extent of a crack, has been cleaned and replastered. A damaged cornice was repaired.
Repairs to windows were made as necessary. Window guards were fitted over all areas of stained glass on south side and to large west window in tower.
Various people were involved in researching the history of the church. Volunteers have come forward to act as tour guides. People used to talking to children are available for their tours and have the material. Experience will come as groups visit.
Substantial additional research was completed, leading to a historical guidebook written and printed. Self-guided tours have been produced for adults with notes on key items including a historical summary. A History leaflet, Stained Glass leaflet and Children’s Guide with adult notes have also been produced. Extensive school’s work was undertaken, providing suitable material for Reception, Classes Yr1/2, Yr3/4 and Yr 5/6 including visits to church and classroom work, plus notes for teachers/assistants. A Schools History pack includes materials plus additional historical contexts and relevant references / websites.
The parish history for this website was updated as part of this project to include:
- The History of St Paul’s
- A Guide to the Church
- Access to historical guidebooks
And all this was done to just under budget at a cost of £208,500.
Three organisations have given us grants towards the work.
The Heritage Lottery Fund is the body which distributes a share of the income from the National Lottery to projects aimed at preserving and making accessible the nation’s heritage. It was established in the United Kingdom under the National Lottery etc. Act. It distributes money to a wide variety of projects. One of these is its Grants for Places of Worship which funds urgent structural repairs to listed places of worship in England. We have been given one of these grants for the roof and other repairs, £145,100, which provides a large proportion of the money we need.
The Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust (YHCT) provides funds for churches, chapels and meeting houses of all Christian denomination within the county of Yorkshire. The majority of grants awarded have been for fabric repairs. The YHCT has awarded us £8,000 towards our project. The Trust welcomes individual members to help fund its work and has fund-raising efforts such as Ride + Stride, an annual sponsorship event in which people walk, cycle or drive between churches, raising funds for their local churches and for the Trust. 50% of the money raised goes to YHCT, the rest to a chosen Church.
The AllChurches Trust aims are to promote the Christian religion, to contribute to the funds of any charitable institutions or associations and to carry out any charitable purpose. It is the owner of Ecclesiastical Insurance. They have given us a grant of £2,000.
In addition, the Government Listed Places of Worship Scheme allows us to claim back much of the VAT on repairs, saving us about £34,000.
The Second Phase
This has completed the first phase of the project. There have recently been several problems caused by water getting in the north side of the church. The next phase will involve reslating of the north side of the nave roof, the chancel roof and the repair/renewal of the roofs over the clergy (north side) and warden’s (south side) vestries. As with the first, this second phase will include attention to the stonework, examination and repair of main roof joists, replacing guttering and fallpipes and creating better roof access. The rest of the ceilings will be insulated.
Repairs will be made to the internal plasterwork and the cornices. Some repainting will be needed to both galleries. Because the roof above it will be removed at one point, the organ will require a lot more protection and may be out of operation for a period to avoid damage to this fine instrument.