The project will include removing layers of paint covering the mural of the Ascension of Christ painted on the ceiling of the Apse, restoring it and cleaning and restoring the wall panels which have accumulated centuries of dirt.
The trustees understand that the ceiling painting was over-painted when the church was acquired by the United Presbyterians. As this was only 44 years after the mural was painted, the trustees are reasonably optimistic that it will still be in good condition once the covering layers of paint are removed.
The initial stage of the project was to commission an expert art restorer and conservator to investigate the viability of the project and to assess the most appropriate method of uncovering and restoring the mural on the ceiling and of cleaning and restoring the wall panels. That involved raising sufficient funds for the fees of the investigation, including the cost of scaffolding.
In May 2018 sufficient funds had been raised from concerts and individual donations to enable the trustees to instruct Mr Owen Davidson (MA) to undertake the investigations and to prepare a report for the trustees.
In August 2018 Mr Davidson and Ms Nicola Grimaldi, Senior Lecturer in Conservation of Fine Art at Northumbria University, commenced their investigations on site. On 3 August the Herald published an article about these investigations together with a photograph.
To view that article please click
For recent media coverage about our project please click below to hear the Interview broadcast on BBC Radio in November 2018.
Throughout the process of restoration consideration will also be given to the church overall in terms of its layout and how it currently functions.
We anticipate that there may well be an opportunity to reorient the pews, raise the level of flooring and move the baptismal font. There is also the possibility that the apse space could indeed function as an intimate baptismal side chapel with seating and space for prayer.
These are just some of the possibilities which will be offered for consultation and discussion with parishioners and the wider ecclesiastic community as the process develops.
For an outline of our Updated Indicative Budget Costs as at September 2019 please click on the link below to download our document:
We are delighted to have featured in The Tablet on 9th February 2019 and to have been given the generous opportunity to discuss our exciting project! Please read the article here below.