Appeal launched to raise funds for renovation of Stevenage's oldest building
PUBLISHED: 06:59 10 January 2019
© Trevor Coultart 2016
An appeal is being launched to help raise the final £200,000 needed for the major renovation and modification of a Grade I-listed church - the oldest building in Stevenage.
A total of £550,000 has already been secured for the work to Rectory Lane’s St Nicholas Church, which has a 900-year-old tower and a 14th century spire.
The plans – costed at £750,000 in total – include a new stone floor throughout the nave and chancel, a new energy efficient lighting system and under-floor heating.
Improvements to the church will also include a new internal layout – re-siting many of the wooden screens to create a more flexible space for worship, private prayer, a creche and a dedicated area for musicians.
The in-fill of the arches between the church and the parish room will be replaced with glazed panels to allow greater light into the main body of the church, a new floor above the parish room will provide a much-needed meeting space, and the audio-visual systems will be upgraded.
Peter Gordon, trustees’ chairman of the Friends of St Nicholas, said: “The church has been a major landmark for much of the history of Stevenage and is a well-loved local amenity.
“The church now needs major maintenance work and the opportunity is being taken to make some modifications to the church to enhance the building’s utility to all members of the community, whether church members or simply families living in Stevenage.
“Plans have been drawn up in consultation with the congregation and a number of heritage bodies to ensure the beauty and historical importance of the building and the needs of the congregation are both taken into account.”
Work is expected to begin in the spring.
All are welcome to attend a free event – held by the Friends of St Nicholas – at the church next Friday, January 18, at 7.30pm.
The first part will include a presentation about the plans, including timescales and costs.
Then bestselling author Ken Follett will give a talk based on religious tolerance – a theme that crops up in a number of his most recent books.
To donate to the appeal, make cheques payable to The Friends of St Nicholas, Stevenage, and send to the honorary treasurer Doctor Robin Bailey, 162 York Road, Stevenage, SG1 4HQ.