Today it was revealed that St. Mary’s Church in the parish of Kemp Town would be the beneficiaries of a £40,000 windfall from the National Churches Trust, which will be used to preserve and restore the iconic building.
An incredibly historic site, St. Mary’s Church in its current form was consecrated in 1878 and has served as the centre of Kemp Town’s 6,000 person-strong parish ever since. A thriving hub of business and hotels in the St. James’ Street area, the community and church have formed a real unity — unsurprising given the unique Gothic style.
But it would appear that those at St. Mary’s are keen for the church not to be stylistically “pigeonholed” and prefer that the it represented an architectural renaissance which retains an open and welcoming space. While the building itself is old, it arguably represents an aged symbolisation of Brighton’s unique aura. Never a city which settles for the ordinary, the church prides itself on the “Romanesque” or “Byzantine” feel to the structure. Indeed, both internally and externally, St. Mary’s is an impressive building and a stunning centre in which the Kemp Town community can congregate.
And this £40,000 influx, part of a £391,000 funding effort from the National Churches Trust, is designed to ensure that the church can continue to act as a thriving centre of community values in the Kemp Town area. Moreover, given that just 28 other churches in the entire United Kingdom will benefit from this sort of grant, the money will be a great boon for churchgoers and parishioners of the community.
Further to that, the grant comes after the Churches Conservation Trust suggested that the church could be in need of a boost in funds in order to “support its upkeep and outreach”. With any luck, the £40,000 can go towards the maintenance of this Brighton landmark, and the grant’s benefits to the community were alluded to by Father Andrew Woodward, the Priest-in-charge; “It’s not just the money. The National Churches Trust’s endorsement of our vision to grow St. Mary’s as a community resource is incredibly encouraging.”
As well as this, the Vice-President of the National Churches Trust and BBC news reporter Huw Edwards said he was “delighted” that this Cornerstone Grant would benefit what he called a “Victorian masterpiece”. High praise indeed, and not undeserved either.