St Leonard's Church in Streatham celebrates its new roof
Published: Thursday, April 2, 2015
A project to undertake extensive repairs to save St Leonard’s Church in Streatham for future generations has been completed, with funding support from the National Churches Trust.
In 2013, the National Churches Trust was proud to support St Leonard’s Church in Streatham, London with a £20,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant, to help undertake urgent repairs to the roof and make the building stable and watertight.
St Leonard's is Grade II Listed and stands in the heart of Streatham, on a site of Christian worship for over 1000 years. It is a pleasing blend of ancient and modern; with parts dating from the 14th century. The Church was fortunate to have been sensitively restored in 1975, following a disastrous fire which saw flames sweep through the Nave and up the tower, destroying all the interior woodwork, roof, bells and much else besides. Thanks to the leadership of Rector Michael Hamilton-Sharp, the restoration project was underway by the following morning and St Leonard’s re-opened within two years. The late Douglas Feast's design produced the present light and airy interior within the shell of 19th century walls.
The famous Streatham Window
One of St Leonard’s finest features is the famous Streatham Window, which was designed by John Hayward and narrates the history of the Church in beautiful stained glass: a story which features a Roman settlement, the Norman Conquest (after which the church was given to the Benedictine Abbey of Bec in Normandy), and Sir John Ward, a friend of the Black Prince who built a new church for the parish around 1350. The bottom right hand corner shows St Leonard’s engulfed in flames on the evening of 5 May 1975.
A new chapter
In the latest chapter of St Leonard's story, the roof has now been fully repaired, protecting this beautiful church from further water ingress and interior damage. On Sunday 26th April 2015, the congregation will celebrate with a Festival Evensong, at which they will unveil a plaque commorating the works and those who have supported them – including the National Churches Trust.
Revd Joshua Rey, Assistant Curate at St Leonard's said:
“I’m delighted to report that the work which the National Churches Trust has so generously supported is now completed. The whole North slope of the roof has been renewed, including some very extensive lead work, and the related stonework and buttresses have been stabilised and made beautiful again. We’re very pleased wth the standard of work, which was undertaken by Norman and Underwood Ltd, a 7th generation family firm based in Leicester. Such is their expertise in working with lead that they were commissioned to make the lead coffin in which Richard III was re-interred in Leicester Cathedral. They have done a really sound job at St Leonard’s, which we believe will stand the test of time.”
“We are so grateful to the National Churches Trust for supporting the work. Your grant was an essential element not only in substantively funding large parts of the work, but also in unlocking a good deal of other funding which was conditional on raising contributions from other bodies."
Help us to help more churches like St Leonard's
The National Churches Trust relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to fund our work. Last year we helped to rescue over 140 churches, chapels and meeting houses with repair and community grants, but sadly we currently receive far more requests for help than we can possibly answer, and are forced to turn down three out of every four places of worship that apply for a grant.
The good news is that there are many ways in which you can help us to help churches; by becoming a friend, making a donation, or leaving a legacy in your will. Find out how you can support our work and Britain's churches here.