Restoration

Patrons: Joseph Fiennes, John Gilhooly, Patsy Kensit, Frank Skinner, Ann Widdecombe

“In the world we live in, faith, and a still and holy place to nurture it, has never been more important.” – Lord Fellowes of West Stafford, writer of “Downton Abbey”, speaking of Corpus Christi.

The campaign for the restoration of Corpus Christi Maiden Lane began in 2011. In addition to significant repair work to the building, we aim to restore the interior elements of the church to reflect its position as an oasis of calm, peace and prayer in the very heart of London.

Brick restoration
The Restoration of Corpus Christi

The project is for the complete restoration and enhancement of this historic and most important church, right in the very heart of London. Corpus Christi was opened by Cardinal Manning on the 20th October 1874.

  • After the Protestant Reformation, it was the first Catholic Church in the country to be dedicated with the title Corpus Christi
  • Built in reparation for all the sins committed against the Blessed Sacrament in the 16th century and since.
  • The intention of Cardinal Manning was that it would stand here as a statement of what the Catholic Church believes about the Mass i.e. the Body and Blood of the Lord, and as “a sanctuary created specifically for the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament”. (Words of Cardinal Manning, from his homily at the opening of the church).

After a long period of neglect, exacerbated by considerable pollution in Central London, and clumsy attempts to clean the internal fabric by sandblasting, the interior walls and stone work were fully painted out with Artex and other modern paints in the 1970s. The church is looking tired, unloved and in much need of restoration to its former glory.

His Eminence, Vincent Cardinal Nichols has requested the complete restoration of Corpus Christi and the work has begun. To date, we have already carried out:

  • The Renewal of the slate roof on the spire of the tower and the restoration and re-hanging of the bell
  •  Restoration of the Porch and the Sacred Heart statue in that area of the building
  •  Stripping and restoration of the Narthex of the Church – with the relocation of the Baptismal Font in that area
  • Restoration and decoration of the Sacred Heart Chapel, including restoration of the original stained glass and the work of re-gilding the ceiling
  • A new statue of the Sacred Heart was also commissioned for this chapel, and is now in place
  • New Stations of the Cross have been donated by the widow of Arthur Fleischmann, and these are waiting to be installed, once the nave has been stripped of paint
  • New glass doors and an outer grille have been installed together with disabled access to the church for the first time
  • The Lady Chapel has been designed after the Holy House in Loreto and a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was installed and blessed by Bishop Alan Hopes of East Anglia in September 2015.
  • The Sanctuary had the dirty paint and Artex stripped away, with the reredos and walls being redecorated and gilded. The carved stone work was highlighted and repainted to show its former glory.
  • The statues of Ss. Peter and Paul were restored to their original colours, having been coated in thick and ugly whitewash. They also had their halos restored. Canopies were designed based on photographs of the originals.
  • Seven sanctuary lamps were hung, restoring the original designs and replacing those that were ripped out in the 1970s.

Lady Chapel MassTHE NAVE

We are currently working on the nave, which is the last visible part of the church to be restored. The stripping of the north aisle has been completed and the scaffolding has moved to the south aisle. The statues of Ss. Patrick and Mary Magdalene have been sent away to be restored and will return when the nave is completed. Once all the walls have been cleaned, the floor will be coming up and new underfloor heating will be installed, with a new marble floor laid over it.

The new chandeliers have been made and will be hung once the angel brackets supporting them come back from the workshop. The pews have been sent away to be cleaned and have new kneelers fitted and so in the meantime we have some rather penitential pews to use whilst we wait!

Whilst the nave will be the last of the visible work of the restoration, it is by no means the end of the project. The sacristy will still need restoring, with new cupboards and work areas fitted. Then there is the work of supplying the church with the liturgical items it needs to function as a worthy shrine. We are currently fundraising for a canopy to allow us to have processions of the Blessed Sacrament, for example.

 

Sanctuary work

SO: HOW CAN YOU HELP?

  • The most obvious way is to make a donation towards the restoration work.
  • This can be done by using one of the forms in the church or downloaded from the website (see the pdf at the bottom of this page which you can open and download to fill in). This will enable you to make a gift by cash, cheque or bank transfer. You can either hand your donation to the priest, put it through the letterbox of the Presbytery or send it to us through the post. If you pay tax, please do complete the Gift Aid part of the form. This will enable to parish to receive a further 25p for each £1 that you donate, at no cost to yourself. You can also make a donation via Paypal on our website Donate page.
  • Something that absolutely anyone can do to help and support us is to pray for us and the work that we are carrying out here at Corpus Christi. That really is just as important as the money we receive to carry out the physical work: prayer is fundamental to enable us to keep moving forwards.

So please do pray for us. Thank you and God Bless you.

Fr Alan Robinson

Parish Priest

Help us complete the restoration!

Download a donation form here

Download a Gift Aid form here

Lady Chapel Restoration

Patrons: Joseph Fiennes, John Gilhooly, Patsy Kensit, Frank Skinner, Ann Widdecombe

“In the world we live in, faith, and a still and holy place to nurture it, has never been more important.”

-Lord Fellowes of West Stafford, writer of “Downton Abbey”, speaking of Corpus Christi.

This Parish is part of the Westminster Catholic Diocese Trustee.
Registered Charity Number 233699