St Leonard’s church, Streatham has received a funding boost in time for Christmas in the shape of a £15,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent repairs to its south roof and to install an accessible toilet.
The church is one of 93 churches and chapels in England, Wales and Scotland set to benefit from rescue funding of £680,230 from the National Churches Trust, the UK’s church support charity.
Huw Edwards, Broadcaster and Journalist and Vice-President of the National Churches Trust said:
At the heart of communities in cities, towns and villages, churches are a treasure trove of architecture, history and faith.”
I’m delighted that St Leonard’s church is to be saved for the future with the help of a £15,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant.
This will help ensure that this historic church, where Jane Austen is known to have worshipped, remains open and at the service of local people who use it for a wide range of community activities.
The project will repair the leaking south slope of the roof of St Leonard’s church and put in a disabled loo and ramp. The roof is leaking very considerably and increasingly into the nave, chancel and choir vestry. There is only one lavatory which is not wheelchair accessible and is very run down and hard to keep clean which is limiting use by the community, particularly mother and baby groups and Streatham Seniors. Another benefit of the National Churches Trust’s grant is that it will unlock Heritage Lottery Fund funding of £221,600.
The church has already benefitted from two previous grants from the National Churches Trust and the latest grant will help remove the church from the Historic England Heritage at Risk Register.
St Leonard’s church is Grade II Listed and stands in the heart of Streatham, on a site of Christian worship for over 1,000 years. It is a pleasing blend of ancient and modern. Both Samuel Johnson and Jane Austen are known to have worshipped in the church.
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. It features a Roman settlement, the Norman Conquest, and Sir John Ward, a friend of the Black Prince who built a new church for the parish around 1350.
The church was 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. The bottom right hand corner of the Streatham Window shows St Leonard’s engulfed in flames on the evening of 5 May 1975.
St Leonard’s provides a space and a focus for a range of community activities. It is a place to find calm away from the intense activity of Streatham High Road. It provides a weekly assembly space for a local school and a place where parents meet and have a coffee and chat. The church has developed Streatham Seniors to address loneliness in the community with home visits and events in the building. It hosts frequent concerts, and is the base for the Streatham Choral Society.
Revd. Canon Anna Norman-Walker, Rector of St Leonard’s Streatham, said:
“St Leonard’s is very grateful to National Churches Trust for its generous donation of £15,000. This significant contribution towards the restoration project supports St Leonard’s Church’s ambition to create a welcoming and more accessible space for the wider community whilst continuing to provide warmth, comfort and ministry. With National Churches Trust’s help, St Leonard’s can look forward to a new era of serving the local community in one of the most deprived parts of London.”