Iconic London church looks out over Hounslow once again
A previously closed historic church in West London, reopened by the Bishop of Kensington in 2012, has now been fully restored to its former glory thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Grade II listed St Paul’s Church, Hounslow West has stood as a landmark in the Borough since 1873, but its spire and stone work had degraded to such an extent that in 2009 its iconic weathervane and finial stone were removed due to concerns that they might collapse. However, thanks to a £249,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the spire has been restored and the old, corroded cockerel weathervane replaced with one made of stainless steel and gilded with gold leaf. The finial stone, which sits under the weathervane, was also replaced with one carved from a solid block of honey-coloured Bath stone.
Part of the grant was also spent on the installation of a new kitchen, allowing the church to increase its provision in the local community. St Paul’s already regularly engages with the local community through a wide range of services, celebrations and special events, including a food bank, debt counselling service, community café, play café for mothers and toddlers, a lunch café for the over 50’s, children’s holiday clubs, after school events, a football academy and seasonal community street parties.
A celebratory service to mark the restoration took place earlier in March and was attended by, among others, the Bishop of Kensington, local MP Seema Malhotra, the Head of Wellington Primary School and the architect responsible for the restoration project.
The Revd Libby Etherington, Vicar of St Paul’s and its sister church the Good Shepherd, said:
“I would like to thank all those who have played a role or helped contribute to the restoration of St Paul’s spire. Our beautiful new weathervane really stands out high above the church and together with the restored spire symbolises this new exciting chapter in the history of the church and its place at the centre of our community.”
The whole restoration project has cost over £300,000. This includes not only the HLF grant, but also £30,000 contributed by the church and £15,000 donated by members of the congregation. Work is expected to continue on some of the stonework until 14 April. St Paul’s will continue to invite contributions to cover the last £10,000 required to finish all of the stonework repairs.