Flower power at St Mary le Strand, as fundraising campaign launched to restore iconic church
St Mary le Strand is inviting people to sponsor flowers on its famous ceiling as part of a fundraising drive to raise money for restoration and conservation work.
The church launched its Jewel in the Strand campaign at an event on Tuesday 19th September. The spectacular floral plaster ceiling will be the centrepiece of the church’s transformation, which will see the repurposing of the crypt into a multi-purpose events space, as well as delivering much-needed repair and redecoration work to the interior and exterior. Improvements will also enhance accessibility for people regardless of whether they have a visual impairment, mobility issue or other access requirements. Donors can give anything upwards of £50 to sponsor a flower, including roses, acorns and sunflowers.
St Mary’s is seeking to raise £4.5 million to fund renovations, after receiving £3.9 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The Jewel in the Strand project is central to the wider Strand Aldwych Project. St Mary le Strand has long been a sanctuary – a place of welcome, worship and well-being – in the heart of the bustling City of Westminster. This area is in the middle of a long-term transformation, with the East Strand having recently been pedestrianised to create a popular new landscaped public space and ‘global cultural thinking quarter’ for the City of Westminster.
Formerly known by taxi drivers as ‘St Mary’s in the Way,’ the church, which had previously been surrounded by heavy traffic, now sits at the centre of a pedestrianised zone at London’s cultural heart. This is a unique opportunity in the church’s story, an opportunity to build on this new accessibility and to become a space that once again hosts important moments and connections and maintains its place in history.
St Mary le Strand will work with key partners, including the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Northbank Business Improvement District (BID), King’s College London, the London School of Economics, Somerset House, the Courtauld, and other local stakeholders to deliver this ground-breaking project.
Works will begin in September 2025, with the formal opening planned to take place in late 2026.
For more information visit https://stmarylestrand.com/flower-appeal/
The Revd Canon Dr Peter Babington, Priest in Charge at St Mary le Strand, said:
“This project is not just about bricks and mortar, but about the people and communities who worship in and visit, work and study around our beautiful church. St Mary’s has been able to continue to function to date through the dedication of parishioners and church wardens, but we now need to invest significantly to bring this Grade I listed building into the 21st Century and make it fit for the future.
“With the help of investment from our partners, local businesses and community supporters, we are finding ways to not only open up the building physically and make it more accessible for all, but to make it reach a wider audience than ever before. We hope that supporters will join us for the next stage in the Project’s journey, turning what we have learned and our detailed plans into a reality.”
The Bishop of London, The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally, commented:
“St Mary le Strand is one of London’s most iconic and beautiful churches, and I am thrilled that, following pedestrianisation, work is being done to transform the church and its surroundings. London’s churches are truly for everyone, and I pray this work will enable St Mary’s to continue to bring people together and to make the love of Christ known for centuries to come.”
Ruth Duston OBE, OC, Chief Executive for The Northbank Business Improvement District, said:
“We are very proud of the impact that pedestrianisation and regeneration of Strand Aldwych has had on the local environment. St Mary le Strand is truly the centrepiece of the area, and this project is vital to ensure that the community can enjoy it for generations to come.”
(From left to right) Catherine Jenkins (The Northbank BID and Jewel in the Strand Project Board member), Andy Hicks (Shaftesbury Capital and Jewel in the Strand Project Board member), Peter Babington (Priest in Charge, St Mary le Strand), Peter Maplestone (Churchwarden and Chairman of Project Board), Anne Biggs (Project Director, Jewel in the Strand Project)
Photos: Mickey Lee Photography and The Northbank BID.
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