Heritage in Two Traditions

by Gerry Lynch last modified 15 Dec, 2016 06:08 PM

Former Anglican, now Orthodox, church and architectural landmark gains lottery grant

Heritage in Two Traditions

Photo (C): Chris Downer under Creative Commons 2.0 licensing.

A former Anglican church now housing an Orthodox congregation has been given a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Saint Dunstan’s Orthodox Christian Church, a parish in the Antiochian Orthodox tradition, is located in what was once the Anglican church of St Osmund, and is a prominent landmark in Poole’s Parkstone district, and is still home to a fine Compton organ which belongs to the Diocese of Salisbury. Restoring the building is likely to be of great importance in safeguarding of this wonderful instrument.

The Bournemouth & Poole Orthodox Christian Foundation, which now owns the building, has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the first phase of Saint Dunstan’s Restoration project.

The project aims to restore the Grade II* listed building, built in the early 20th century in as a Neo-Byzantine basilica in the Arts and Crafts style, and designed as the last work of the renowned architect E.S. Prior. It contains a number of furnishing and objects in the Arts and Crafts style designed for the church by W. Bainbridge Reynolds, and MacDonald and Eric Gill, as well as 18th century railings donated by St Mary-le-Bow, London.

Development funding of £ 25,000 has been awarded to support the Foundation’s plans to apply for a restoration grant of £135,800 at a second phase of the project. The Foundation is currently engaging in a major fundraising drive for the preservation of the building. The project is being guided by the Borough of Poole Conservation Officer of the Planning and Regeneration Service. Historic England agreed to list the church on the Heritage at Risk List it publishes annually to assist the owners of heritage structures in need of major restoration.

The project aims to carry out essential repairs to the roof, windows and walls, while documenting the process for future use by similar organisations struggling with heritage buildings. As well as being a major centre of Orthodox life in the Greater Bournemouth-Poole, the church continues to be available for performances by choirs and musicians and guided tours may be arranged for groups from schools and interested organisations.

The project will make it possible for more people to engage with the building, both as a place of Christian worship and as an outstanding architectural and artistic testimony to the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century.

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