The London Historic Buildings Trust (LHBT) has warmly welcomed Historic England’s decision to take St George’s Garrison Church in Woolwich off its Heritage at Risk Register. This move signals the success of a very long and complex restoration project managed by LHBT to conserve the remaining parts of this historic, WWII bombed building and return the site to public use. The project was made possible by funding principally from Historic England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the active support of the local community.
The Grade ll listed church, built in 1862 to designs by TH Wyatt, was destroyed by a V1 flying bomb in 1944. The site was placed on the Heritage at Risk Register in 2000. With encouragement from Historic England LHBT took on the project in 2010 and has since overseen a two-phase conservation programme of the remains, which has resulted in the preservation of a valuable historic site that is now leased to the Woolwich Garrison Church Trust and available to the public for the first time in a generation.
Diana Beattie OBE, FSA, Chair of the London Historic Buildings Trust, said: “The removal of the St. George’s Garrison Church from the Heritage at Risk register is the culmination of many years of hard work. It has been a complicated project with multiple stakeholders and we are delighted to have been able to play our part in bringing it to a successful conclusion. We could not have achieved this without the support of a team of dedicated experts and the strong backing of Historic England, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and many other generous supporters. We’ve now handed it over to the Woolwich Garrison Church Trust so that this historic site, with the VC memorial to the Royal Artillery in the Chancel, has now found a new life as a resource that is actively used by the local community. This is a war memorial which is itself a victim of war.”
Tim Barnes QC, Chairman of the Woolwich Garrison Church Trust, said: “We cherish our local heritage and we would like to thank everyone who has worked to make this ambitious regeneration possible. We are already seeing the benefits of using the site once more; as a venue for regular religious services, as well as vibrant events organised by local people that celebrate the diversity of our community’s interests in today’s London. We’ve had a lot of active support from the Barracks and local groups and we look forward to the site only growing in value as a community resource in the years to come.”
Simon Buteux, Partnerships Team Leader at Historic England, said: “It is a major achievement to see St George’s Garrison Church removed from the Heritage at Risk Register, 20 years after it was first added. It’s thanks to the unwavering dedication and painstaking work of many individuals that this extraordinary site has a secure future, and we are glad Historic England has been able to play a part in its rescue. Heritage has a proven positive impact on people’s quality of life, and I look forward to seeing St George’s become a cherished place to many more people in the years ahead.”