First National Churches Trust Friends Grant awarded

Published: Friday, July 7, 2017


St Mary Magdelene, in Paddington, west London, has been awarded the first ever National Churches Trust Friends Grant of £10,000.

The grant will help to fund a major project to conserve the Grade I listed church's outstanding Gothic interior and create a new annex to transform the church into a centre for the local community. The project is a joint initiative between Paddington Development Trust and St Mary Magdalene.

Five churches, which had been awarded a National Churches Trust Repair or Community Grant in 2016 and which needed additional funding prior to starting work on their projects, were shortlisted for the Friends Grant.

In a vote, Friends of the National Churches Trust selected St Mary Magdalene as the church which should receive an additional grant of £10,000.

Other churches shortlisted were St Mary de Crypt, Gloucester; St Thomas, Derby; St Peter, St Paul and St Philomena, New Brighton and the Methodist Central Hall , Paisley, Scotland.

About St Mary Magdalene

Built in the 1860s and 1870s by G.E. Street, architect of the Royal Courts of Justice, St Mary Magdalene is one of only fourteen Grade I listed Victorian churches in London and one of the finest by an architect whose work is universally recognised as amongst the best of the age. The church has an almost completely intact internal decorative scheme of the highest quality, including the later Chapel of St Sepulchre by Sir Ninian Comper in the undercroft. It survives as a unique but isolated building in a social housing estate which is amongst the most deprived areas in the country.

St Mary Magdalene was awarded a £40,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant in December 2016 to help fund a project for the restoration of the historic fabric of the building, cleaning and restoring the stunning interior.

The church already offers a range of services to the local community, including a music society and working with local schools. The church is also a collection point for the North Paddington Food Bank. Many new activities are planned when the new annex is built. Working in partnership with the Paddington Development Trust, the church will run a skills development programme as part of Westminster's Employment Programme; an adult learning programme with Westminster Adult Education Service; learning and inclusion for people with disabilities; and activities for older people.

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said:

 “I'm delighted that we have awarded our first ever Friends Grant to St Mary Magdalene church to help in the funding of a tremendously exciting project to bring the church back to its Victorian glory and to create a new centre for the local community that is so important for this part of London.”

 “We look forward to following the progress of the works and to seeing the benefits of the completed project in the coming years.”

 “All the churches who were shortlisted for the Friends Grant had exciting and important projects and I very much hope that they will be able to find any additional funding required as soon as possible.”

 “Through their support and generous donations, our growing number of Friends help us carry out our work of supporting churches in so many ways. Providing a direct way for them to help us select a church to award an additional grant of £10,000 is a new and exciting way that we can involve our Friends in our work.  Many thanks to our Friends who took part in the vote, and congratulations to St Mary Magdalene for winning.”

Church website

  • St Mary Magdelene, Paddington.

  • St Mary Magdelene, Paddington.

  • Crypt of St Mary Magdelene, Paddington.

  • Model of proposed work at St Mary Magdelene, Paddington.

  • Lady Chapel at St Mary Magdelene, Paddington.