The significant grants announced last month towards the repair and restoration of seventeen churches reveal the increasing recognition of the historic value of the finest Catholic architecture
Preston, Rochdale, Great Yarmouth, Ramsgate, Newport on the Isle of Wight: these are some of the most deprived towns in England – and they all have magnificent Catholic churches. Maintaining them is a challenge, never more so than in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many parishes have understandably placed restoration programmes on the back burner and diverted their scarce resources to supporting those in need.
The latest round of grants from Historic England (part of the government’s Culture Recovery Fund) has gone some way towards getting these urgent repairs back on track. Seventeen out of 30 applications from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have been approved and will get a total of £2.9 million from the £35 million allocated to Historic England’s capital works programme of grants for repairs to Grade I and Grade II* listed buildings that are open to the public. Last year Catholic churches achieved a similar result when they were awarded £3 million from a £34 million pot.