Lottery boost will help Norwich church share its remarkable past

St George's Church Colegate. Photo: Bill Smith.

St George's Church Colegate. Photo: Bill Smith. - Credit: Archant © 2012

A city church, which is looking to share its remarkable Georgian past with more of the public, has been given a vital lottery boost.

St George Colegate, a Grade I listed church in one of Norwich's most historic streets, has been awarded £85,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The boost comes exactly 120 years after the then vicar, the Reverend WC Matthews appealed for £45 to complete a £411 17s 0d internal restoration of the building.

The cash will be used for essential building repair work, but will also help the church to showcase its rich Georgian heritage.

Canon Phillip McFadyen, priest-in-charge, said: 'St George Colegate is undergoing a renaissance. We are rediscovering the movers and shakers of our Georgian past.

'For example, it was here that that the father of English landscape painting, John Crome,was a churchwarden; it was where the English Mozart, William Crotch, played the organ for the benefit of city worthies sitting on his mother's knee, and where Handel's Messiah was first performed in Norwich.

'This pioneering church offers much to the cultural life of our city and we are determined that it should be more available to the local community.'

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The church has a project which aims to carry out important conservation work, with a professional conservator training volunteers in the cleaning and maintenance of historic monuments.

Once trained, the volunteers will be able to help other churches with this essential task.

There will also be a new guidebook and walking trail though the city of Norwich linking together important Georgian buildings and personalities for the first time.

St George Colegate is unique amongst the worshipping Norwich churches as fate determined that it would miss out on the Victorian makeover imposed on all the others.

It dates back to medieval times and it has a large number of wall and floor memorials dating from 1650, as well as its mostly Georgian interior.

As the parish ceased to be residential and the shoe factories took over the local buildings, the church remained cocooned in its Georgian persona.

Robyn Llewellyn, head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: 'This is a really exciting opportunity that will address the urgent needs of the building, as well as securing the future of historic monuments through teaching conservation and cleaning skills to church volunteers.'

In 2012, the church's guidebook – An A to Z of St George's – took home three trophies at the Roses Creative Awards.

The Sheringham Museum has also received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund to build its Atlantic 75 Seaside Education and Archive Centre.The project aims to convert the flat roof area on top of 'The Mo' building on Sheringham's East Promenade, where the museum is currently based, into a state-of-the- art archive and education facility to help protect, display and collect the unique maritime and social history of the town.

• Has your organisation recently been handed a lottery boost? Tell us about it by calling Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email