Spring Clean at St John's Lancaster
St John the Evangelist Church opened its doors to welcome the people of Lancaster for a Spring Clean recently. The event was part of a community consultation exploring options to reopen the church back into the heart of the community. The event was well attended by locals, members of Lancaster and District Chamber of Commerce, Lancaster and District Heritage Group and Lancaster City Council.
Volunteers were briefed on the historical significance of the church and how best to care for the delicate fabric which dates to the Georgian period and throughout the day people came in to have a look around and some reminisced about their memories of the church before Storm Desmond flooded the building in 2015. CCT is working with various stakeholders to identify the best option for how the church can be used by the people of Lancaster once more, recognising and conserving the diverse architectural features.
Elanor Johnson, CCT Regeneration Officer, said “It was wonderful to see everyone hard at work in St John’s preparing the church for some ‘meanwhile use’ whilst we work on a long-term future for the building, with the hard work of the Lancastrians who joined in the Spring Clean echoing that of those who built it so many years ago. We want to get the doors open over coming months so more people can visit and use this beautiful space, but in order to do that we’ll need local volunteers – everyone is welcome so if you’d like to play a part and get more involved do get in touch!”
After a day of intense and intricate cleaning the church looked and felt like a place a grandeur with lots of excitement for the next steps in the future at St Johns.
Clive Shaw, local resident of Lancaster, said “St John's is a beautiful survivor of Georgian Lancaster and survivor of storms and floods too. It was good to sweep away the dust and cobwebs of the winter and help make it ready for visitors. It is amazing that the pipe organ survives too, thanks to it being safely up in the gallery and it will be great to hear it fill the church with music again.”
Vicky Lofthouse, CEO Lancaster Chamber of Commerce said “The Chamber Team and I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Spring Cleaning’ St Johns Church earlier this month. It was exhausting and dusty but so rewarding, not only in the sense of giving back to the community but also in the treasures we found, which will be catalogued and safely stored. We hope our efforts enable the church to be used by the community over the coming months, while a more permanent future use is secured for the building.”
Spring Clean at St John’s was funded by the Architectural Heritage Fund, who are generously supporting Churches Conservation Trust in the development of plans to repair and reuse the building. As part of this development work further surveys, research, and consultation will be taking place in coming months – look out for details on our website. We are also hoping to open the church for an art exhibition next month, in partnership with Lancaster Arts so look forward to welcoming local people into the building again.
To make a donation to support the work we do Text LAN to 70970 to give £5 Text LAN to 70191 to give £10.
To find out more about volunteering opportunities contact Mahalia on [email protected] or 07469 853476.