East Leeds: £500,000 for historic church’s leaking roof

Audrey Sugden, church warden pictured with Nick Rochford of Heritage Lottery Fund and Trevor Mitchell of English Heritage.

Audrey Sugden, church warden pictured with Nick Rochford of Heritage Lottery Fund and Trevor Mitchell of English Heritage.

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A church with a leaking roof and flaky paint is the biggest beneficiary of heritage grants totalling £2.3m.

St Wilfrid’s, at the top of Halton Hill, is one of the last churches built in the solid Arts and Crafts tradition and is listed.

It has been described by English Heritage as the most important building in Halton.

St Wilfrid’s is receiving £498,000 from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund for urgent roof repairs.

Other regional awards include £189,000 to the Church of the Epiphany, Gipton; £199,000 to St Peter’s, Birstall; and £94,000 to Holy Trinity, Ossett.

Buckets have to be placed inside St Wilfrid’s, a 1937 building, and rainwater has already caused new decorations to flake.

“The grant is brilliant,” said church warden Audrey Sugden, “and means work can start in the autumn and hopefully finish by the end of 2012. It will cause a little disruption in the church but we can move things around.

“We are very, very lucky to get this sum but we also have a find a quarter of the money ourselves to pay for the £708,000 repairs.”

The church was built in concrete and steel and its roof structure was somewhat experimental. But a new modern roof should last for 125 years.

Nick Rochford, casework manager for Heritage Lottery, said St Wilfrid’s cost £10,000 to build 70 years ago but was not at the top end of the lavish spending during the Arts and Craft period.

Now the repairs would cost 70 times that figure.

howard.williamson@ypn.co.uk

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