Crumbling city church needs series of repairs

St Margaret's Church in St Benedicts Street, Norwich
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

St Margaret's Church in St Benedicts Street, Norwich PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A crumbling medieval church in Norwich is set for a series of repairs to "give it another 500 years" of life.

St Margret's Church in St Benedicts has been disused as a church since 1975 and is now used as an art exhibition space.

Plans for repairs have been submitted by the Norwich Historic Churches Trust (NHCT), which cares for the grade I listed building and 17 others across the city.

Repairs are needed across the building, including the tower, south chapel and chancel.

Sandra Martins, operation manager for NHCT and Mark Wilson, surveyor of the fabric, said: "The Church of St Margaret de Westwick needs urgent repairs to safeguard the future of this important medieval building.

"After a recent development grant from Historic England, NHCT have carried out investigation work to build a better picture of what repairs are required in the building and what improvements can be made to stop any further decay."

The works include repairs and improvements to the south chapel roof and timbers, work to the flintwork at the east end of the building and the tower. As well as alterations to the porch roof and new drainage.

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Alongside the repairs, a survey found asbestos in the cement gutter on the outside of the church which will need to be removed.

However, some areas of the church were inaccessible and the surveyor said they should be presumed to contain asbestos until an inspection proved otherwise.

The footpath has been closed for almost 2 months

A footpath next to the church was closed for several months last year - Credit: Sarah Burgess

An alley next to the church had to be closed for several months last year because there were concerns the church wall would fall.

When the alley reopened NHCT had only carried out minor repairs and installed protective scaffolding.

Ms Martins ad Mr Wilson promised to minimise disruption as much as possible and to communication with the neighbours.

They said: "NHCT is now fundraising while entering into the repairs phase of the project and we are hoping to start works later in 2022.

"The Trust hopes these works will give another 500 years of life to the building, so that this building may continue to serve as an important part of Norwich’s arts and cultural scene."

If you wish to donate to the church's upkeep visit www.nhct-norwich.org/support