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National Lottery grant secures future of Wanstead’s churches

Wanstead Parish secured a National Lottery grant to secure the future of its two architectural gems. Christ Church Wanstead (picture) and St. Mary the Virgin

Wanstead Parish secured a National Lottery grant to secure the future of its two architectural gems. Christ Church Wanstead (picture) and St. Mary the Virgin

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Wanstead Parish has secured a £72,500 lottery grant to plan for the future of its churches.

St Mary's church in Wanstead. Photo: Ken MearsSt Mary's church in Wanstead. Photo: Ken Mears

Following a successful restoration project at St Mary the Virgin, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) of Wanstead Parish announced on Friday that it had secured the award, entitled Securing the future for St Mary with Christ Church.

Thanks to National Lottery players, the project will enable the PCC to explore how both St Mary and Christ Church may be reordered internally to better serve the wider community.

The PCC will appoint a professional team with expertise in ecclesiastic buildings to work with them during the next year to undertake a governance review and commission surveys and reports on both church buildings.

They will look at how to use the churchyard more effectively and also how the carbon footprint of both buildings may be reduced.

St Mary the Virgin church is the only Grade I listed building in RedbridgeSt Mary the Virgin church is the only Grade I listed building in Redbridge

The Rector of Wanstead Rev Dr Jack Dunn said: “These extraordinary times have highlighted just how important it is for the PCC to plan carefully for the long-term future of Wanstead Parish and to ensure that both of our church buildings are able to serve the needs of all in our parish and especially those who are vulnerable or who would not normally engage with church.”

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By July 2021 the PCC will have a full options appraisal, business and fundraising plans and will be able to embark on a 10-year plan for both churches.

Christ Church, a Grade II listed building, was the first church to be built at Wanstead Place.

It was built as a chapel of ease to St Mary’s to cope with the growing population in Wanstead following the arrival of the railway at Snaresbrook in 1856.

It was designed by George Gilbert Scott and consecrated in 1861.

READ MORE: 102-year-old St Joseph’s Convent School, Wanstead, to closeSt Mary’s is the third church to stand on the site on the corner of Overton Drive since the 13th century.

Designed by Thomas Hardwick, also known for St Mary’s Parish Church in Marylebone Road and the renovation of Inigo Jones’ St Paul’s in Covent Garden, St Mary’s is considered one of the country’s finest Georgian churches.

It is the only Grade I listed building in Redbridge, and of exceptional historic interest.

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