Wren’s largest surviving City church reopens doors after regeneration
St Andrew Holborn, the largest of Christopher Wren’s surviving churches in the City of London, reopened its doors on Wednesday after an extensive regeneration project.
Members of the congregation and local community came together to celebrate the completion of the project, and witnessed the unveiling of a new stone floor installed by Chichester Stoneworks, a business with a 250 year history of award-winning stone masonry craftsmanship.
Wednesday’s event took place in the context of St Andrew’s weekly evening service and saw a procession move around the church to bless the new bapistry, Lady Chapel and tabernacle. The project also involved an upgrade of the church’s lighting, sound and heating systems, and the refurbishment of its facilities.
St Andrew Holborn was built between 1684 and 1690, replacing a medieval structure of Saxon origin that survived the Great Fire but later fell into decay. It was almost completely destroyed by an incendiary device during the Second World War and rebuilt from the ground up, re-opening in 1961.
The now-completed regeneration honours Wren’s original intentions for the church by amending some of the issues left unresolved in St Andrew’s post-war redesign, equipping the church for the next phase of its ministry to the working population of the City of London. The building plays an active role in the community, administering three charities which together generate grants totalling more than £500,000 annually.
The project was aided by funding from the All Churches Trust, a grant-giving organisation that supports the repair, restoration and re-ordering of churches and cathedrals of all denominations. The £18,000 grant centred on the refurbishment of the toilets as a community facility.
Speaking after the service, The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, the Guild Vicar of St Andrew Holborn and the Bishop of Fulham, said:
“St Andrew Holborn has stood on this site for well over 1,000 years, surviving the Great Fire of London and the Blitz, and witnessing astonishing changes in architecture, population and society. With this in mind, it was vital that this project safeguarded such a rich history, and I think it has clearly done so. Walking through its doors this afternoon I was struck by the skill of the regeneration, and I thank everyone involved for their commitment to this important project.”
Chris Gladwell, Pre-Construction Manager at Chichester Stoneworks, said:
“St Andrew Holborn has been a particularly enjoyable project for me. The opportunity to install a large new floor using Hopton Wood, one of the premier British Limestones, does not come along very often. Together with the new decorative scheme and the brass work to the Lady Chapel, the church is now a serene and beautiful space and I am proud to have played a part in its transformation.”