Restoration 2002/2003

The re-dedication by the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, on Trinity Sunday 15th June 2003, marked the fulfilment of almost twenty years of planning, praying and fund-raising. The restoration of this historic building is a remarkable story of the amazing goodness and faithfulness of God.

Scope of the work
  • Whole interior redecorated, in colours which respect the existing brickwork and give a vibrant welcome.
  • Lighting completely redesigned, to enable different areas to be used for different types of worship and to highlight the architecture of the building.
  • Pews in the nave replaced by pew benches which can be moved when required.
  • Nave re-floored in York stone, with under-floor heating.
  • New central worship area created at the chancel steps to provide a more fitting space for the central acts of worship.
  • New electronic organ to replace pipe organ.
  • New sound system.
  • Reordering the chancel to enable it to be used for smaller services.
  • Refurbishment of vestry and other rooms at the north-east corner.
  • Two new rooms beneath the gallery at the west end with glazed screens – one of these is now used for babies and toddlers during services.
  • Repairs to the exterior.
  • Ramps to the west end door and to the chancel to make the whole building accessible to all.
Background

The inside of the church had not been redecorated since 1954. The colour scheme of cream and blue was in a style which conflicted starkly with the original Victorian decoration scheme. The paintwork was showing its age. A major problem was that the lighting and heating, which also dated from 1954, had reached the end of its life. The pews were unsatisfactory, inflexible in their layout and the varnish was breaking down. There was dry rot in the baptistery.

Overall, the general atmosphere was not particularly conducive to worship, nor welcoming to newcomers. There was not enough space for youth work and the arrangements for babies and toddlers were not ideal.

St Mary’s applied in 1995 for legal permission (a ‘faculty’) to carry out the scheme. St Mary’s is a Grade II* listed building and one of the best surviving works of Teulon. It was important for the scheme to respect the building as part of the heritage and give us a flexible space and the facilities needed for worship, mission and community use in the 21st century. The Diocese, English Heritage, the Victorian Society and the London Borough of Ealing were among those who contributed to the discussions. The faculty was granted in 1999.

Fundraising

The initial estimate of reordering costs was a minimum of £700,000. A gift day was held in the summer of 2000 and an astounding and generous £500,000 was pledged by members of the congregation past and present. As this was not enough to cover the cost there followed more prayer and discussion to decide what could and could not be carried out. A date was fixed for another gift day. Just two weeks before this, a wonderful answer to the Church’s prayers arrived. The vicar received notice of a very large bequest.

Mrs Helen Price, a former member of the congregation, had died 5 years earlier. Except for a number of legacies and bequests, she bequeathed the remainder of her substantial estate “for the benefit and maintenance of St Mary’s Church Ealing”. This enabled the church to meet the increased building costs – more than double the original estimates – in full. There is a memorial tablet to Helen Price’s generosity on the interior West wall of the restored building.

Contractors
  • Killby and Gayford, main contractors.
  • Ronald Sims, architect at original design stage.
  • Clive England (Thomas Ford and Partners), lead architect completing design.
  • Philip Morphy (Thomas Ford and Partners), job architect at building stage.
  • Cook & Butler (quantity surveyor).
  • Bruce Kirk (lighting).
  • Geoff Boswell (sound).
  • Luke Hughes (furniture).
  • Charles Mynors, member of St Mary’s who co-ordinated this team.