Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

City Church Plea for Help with PS400,000 Repair Bill

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

City Church Plea for Help with PS400,000 Repair Bill

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Brown Reporter

FOR almost 900 years its has welcomed visitors to Newcastle - but now a medieval landmark needs almost PS400,000 for repairs to once again put it at the heart of city life. Both inside and out parts of the Grade I-listed St John The Baptist church, on Grainger Street, are crumbling as the effects of age and the weather take their toll on a building which has parts that date back to the 12th century.

"Once you do one thing it has a knock-on effect, so you have to do the next thing and if you've done half the job, you might as well do the rest as well," said parish priest Dr Nicholas Buxton.

Churches are supposed to undertake a report every five years to assess any repairs that are needed, but somehow St John's missed its previous inspection, so was not looked at for a decade.

When it was finally assessed a list of things to fix was prepared, with most of them categorised as being needed "within two years."

"The report was in 2013, so all of those things need to be done by now," Dr Buxton said. "It's a fairly major project.

"It's things like work on the windows, the stonework around the windows, and the pointing where we're getting damp coming through inside. Then because of the damp we've got to re-plaster, then redecorate sections, but if you do that then there's no point not redecorating the rest as otherwise it would look ridiculous.

"Also outside we have to repair things like the gutters and downpipes - originally the downpipes were lead, but they were replaced otherwise they would have been nicked, but with pipes that were too small so they don't do their job.

"Then it made us think what else we should try and do while we're at it, and there's two or three things that we feel will make the building better for everyone, not just those who are here on a Sunday. …

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