Conservation Church launch marks new industry standard for historic church visits
The Churches Conservation Trust is launching ‘Conservation Churches’, a new network of historic churches open to visitors that aims to raise the standard of church tourism across England and increase the profile of churches as sites of historic interest and significance. The Trust is piloting this new concept which will create a positive identity for historic churches that are open to visitors.
The pilot scheme launches this Friday at St. Mary’s in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. The idea behind the Conservation Church concept is to create a network of our outstanding heritage churches that provide an inspiring visitor experience.
Trust Chief Executive Crispin Truman explains:
‘Every historic church is packed with history, architecture and art that tell the story of our country and the people within its communities. By creating this network of outstanding historic churches we hope that the Conservation Church concept will put church heritage on a par with places such as stately homes and castles as places to visit.
‘Today we start with the launch of our first Conservation Church. Within three years we hope to see 15 sites that will bring England’s rich history to life for a uniquely inspiring day out.’
The first church in the new pilot, St Mary’s opens its doors this week to provide a new type of visitor experience. Visitors on the 19th of September will be amongst the first to experience the new ‘sound scape’ in St Mary’s – which reflects the sounds that would have been heard in the church in eons past - and freshly installed children’s activities as well as receiving a welcome by knowledgeable volunteer stewards. The church also has a newly refurbished café and a small gift shop.