Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Hornsey’s Restoration

On the 26th December 2019 I received word that Hornsey Moravian Church was in flames. As I made my way from my parent’s house near Bradford, where we had been celebrating Boxing Day as a family, I wasn’t sure what I would find, and indeed, how much of the building was left. When I arrived, I was relieved that the damage wasn’t as bad as I had feared. Being located just over the road from a fire station certainly helped. Once the initial shock and grieving process was passed, and upon hearing we were thankfully covered with our insurance, focus shifted to turning this disaster into an opportunity. Now, just under six months later, work on the restoration of the church is almost complete and we have a beautiful, light and inviting building to return to, whenever we can do so.

Our first main decision was about the organ. Repairing it would have cost the insurance company a lot of money and so instead we decided to replace it with a high standard Electric Organ similar to the one installed in Ockbrook so that we could use the money that the insurance company gave us back towards other things. This has made a world of difference and whilst it is a shame for sentimental reasons to lose the pipe organ, it opened so many new opportunities.

Then we had to look at our balcony and entrance area. It was discovered that it was structurally unsound and so, after it had been taken down, we decided not to replace it. This has made the entrance to church much lighter, and more dramatic as you walk straight under the high ceilings as opposed to the balcony ceiling.

The other main decision we had to make was with regards to the paint colours. Our previous ceiling was a dark, varnished wood. This had become so burnt in the fire that it needed to be painted. We decided then to paint it ivory which has helped dramatically lighten the building whilst picking out the beams with a dark brown paint.

With some of the money left from the organ replacement we have sanded and varnished all the pews, pulpit, communion table and lectern which has breathed new life into them. We also used some of the money to turn where the organ workings used to be into a storage room with a mezzanine and fixed a sloping floor.

The stonework has all been cleaned and the walls painted ‘polished pebble’ a light grey and the wooden panelling a darker grey. We have also had to install new lights which we had made bespoke to remain in keeping with the age of the building.

All of these have helped transform the church and really made it come back to life for a new beginning once we are able to get into it and back worshiping. Whilst nobody would wish for a fire like we had to suffer, I’m grateful that, with the guidance of God, we have been able to turn this negative into a positive. On behalf of the congregation I wish to thank Wooburn Project Managers Ltd, Harrisons Chartered Surveyors and Packetts Insurance Brokers for all their help, work and advice. Work has now begun on the Church Hall and surrounding parts due to careful management of the budget.

Out of the darkness, there is now a great light. Thanks be to God.

Br James Woolford
Minister of Hornsey Congregation

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Church House is the Headquarters of the Moravian Church in the British Province and is located in London at:
Moravian Church House, 

5 Muswell Hill, 
N10 3TJ


020 8883 3409

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