St Mary Magdaline on shortlist to receive heritage grant

Paddington church represents London on shortlist to receive heritage grant

st_marymags_webA historic church in Paddington has become the only church in London to be shortlisted for a new £10,000 grant from the National Churches Trust.

The Grade I listed St Mary Magdalene’s Church in Paddington is the only church in the capital, and one of only five nationwide, to be shortlisted to receive the Friends Grant. The purpose of the grant is to provide additional support for churches which have previously received funding from the NCT, and are carrying out extensive restoration and expansion work.

St Mary Magdalene’s was previously awarded a £40,000 grant from the NCT, to help fund a project for the restoration of the historic fabric of the building, cleaning and restoring the stunning interior. This is part of a wider project backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund that includes the construction of a new annex to provide new facilities and meeting rooms, allowing St Mary Magdalene’s to increase its provision in the local community.

The contenders shortlisted for the Friends Grant include churches based in Derby, Wirral, Paisley and Gloucester, with only St Mary Magdalene’s representing London. The recipient of the grant will be chosen by the Friends of the National Churches Trust, with the winner being announced on 3 July.

Fr Henry Everett, Priest at St Mary Magdalene’s church said:

“We are delighted to have been recognised out of all the churches in London and shortlisted for this grant. The funding we have received so far will allow us to help restore St Mary Magdalene’s church to its former glory, and also begin expanding our facilities so that we can play a much greater pastoral and cultural role in the community. There are countless historic churches in London which do vital work, and we are very grateful for the NCT for choosing St Mary Magdalene’s as a potential recipients for this new grant.”

If you are a Friend of the National Churches Trust you can vote for St Mary Magdalene’s Church via the National Churches Trust website. If you are interested in learning more about the church’s restoration project you can do so by visiting their website.

Revive! invites a discovery and exploration of the mysterious crypt underneath St Mary Magdalene Church

Revive! invites a discovery and exploration of the mysterious crypt underneath St Mary Magdalene Church built by George Edmund Street, a highly original, influential and radical Gothic Revivalist architect.

The artists have created site-specific works to reinvent and reinterpret this intimate space exploring issues such as ritual and spirituality, memory and presence, death and transfiguration and the notion of revivalism in our post-Brexit Britain and after Trump victory.

Revive! is the second part of a two-fold project began by Pompe and devised in reaction to Frieze Art Fair. The Dionysian procession led its followers along Regent’s Park canal via a series of performances and culminated in the crypt where Revive! will take place.

Participating artists: STASIS, Pavel Pepperstein, Adam Barker-Mill, Hans Rosenström, Carolyn Barker-Mill, Alan Magee, Jonathan McCree, Niklas Gustafson and Col Self.

Galitzine MacKenzie’s exhibitions are often motivated by a desire to draw attention to and include local communities. Revive! continues this ambition. The church, together with the Paddington Development Trust, are raising funds to create a community and heritage hub in order to enrich, regenerate and bring greater cultural cohesion to the local area as well as to support the restoration of the Grade 1 listed church building. Revive! aims to draw attention to this cause and the project will reach out to various vibrant community groups active in the area.

Please donate generously here to their cause and help make this project a reality.

Revive! at St Mary Magdalene Church, Rowington Close

December 18, 2016


Readings and Songs by John Julius Norwich


“Spring Sparklers”: Readings and Songs by John Julius Norwich Thursday 19th May 2016 at 6.45pm

John Julius, Lord Norwich, the much loved writer, historian, television personality and Patron of the St Mary Magdalene Appeal, has very generously volunteered to give a performance of “Spring Sparklers” – readings based on his popular publication “Christmas Crackers”, as well as songs at the piano.

The tickets cost £35 each and include wine and canapés.

Please make your booking here on EventBrite

St Mary Magdalene Church, Little Venice to raise funds for the Heritage and Community Centre Appeal

Screening of “The Day of the Jackal”

Screening of “The Day of the Jackal” and discussion with Edward Fox Thursday 21st April 2016 at 8.00pm
St Mary Magdalene Church, Little Venice to raise funds for the Heritage and Community Centre Appeal


The tickets cost £35 each and include wine and canapés.

Please make your booking here on  EventBrite



The Mary Mags Project

Twenty years ago St.Mary Magdalene’s was in a sorry state, as the vast building was decaying visibly and its maintenance was well beyond the resources of the small congregation. The Archdeacon of Charing Cross, Dr Bill Jacob, was the consistent presence over the intervening years as with others he sought solutions to the conundrum of what to do with an outstandingly beautiful and important church now anomalously situated on a very un-Anglican council estate (widely perceived as dangerous) and with other churches with better facilities close by. The constraints that had forced such an inventive design on G.E.Street when building the church made it incredibly difficult to use at the end of the twentieth century, because there were steep steps everywhere and difficult, heavy doors, and the only usable space was worship space. In 2016 we still have no running water (or lavatory), a ruinously expensive and noisy heating system, and steps everywhere, but at least we now have a roof and clerestory windows that have been completely renewed and are watertight, a drainage system that actually carries rainwater away instead of depositing it in the building, and an electrical installation that is not actually dangerous (and indeed lights the nave very successfully). The building is now no longer in imminent danger and is ready for the substantial further investment that is necessary for St.Mary Magdalene’s to return to the centre of the community which it serves.


Over the intervening period many different ideas have been explored with a view to developing the building, mostly involving using the dormant undercroft, including a high-end restaurant and  office space for community organisations, but it eventually became clear that if St.Mary Magdalene’s was to be brought back to life, the whole building needed to be part of the solution. For more than ten years the PCC has been partnered with Paddington Development Trust, who have been at the heart of community regeneration in Paddington for many years, and who have had more capacity than the PCC to develop this project. Feasibility studies have convinced Westminster City Council and the Diocese of London that this partnership can yield real fruit, and so both have been generous in funding the necessary development work.

The Project aims to make Mary Mags into a heritage, cultural and arts centre for north Paddington, while refurbishing it as a living place of worship. To achieve that, we need to build a new “heritage wing” between the church and St.Mary Magdalene Primary School which will house a lift connecting all levels, lavatories, kitchen, a café at canalside level, and a heritage education room. Inside the church, the painted surfaces of the nave ceiling, the chancel vault and the chancel walls will all be cleaned and conserved, and the stained glass windows repaired. The undercroft will be made usable, a new vestry will be created, and the Comper Chapel conserved.


We are delighted to have backing from lots of community organisations, and were privileged that our recent planning application to WCC attracted over 100 statements of support. We are determined that the Project will enable the building to serve the whole community (and not solely Anglican worshippers) and are very pleased that people of all faiths and none are alongside us in this venture. We were fortunate to achieve Stage1 support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Project and are now working on our Stage 2 bid. If our bid is successful, not only will the space in which we worship become even more beautiful, but our facilities will enable us to start to do other things for the community. We will at last have lavatories and level access, as well as warm and comfortable spaces, which will transform the welcome we are able to give people. The aims of the Project, to enrich local people’s lives through heritage, art and culture, fit exactly with our own sense of mission, which embraces the approach to God through beauty.
Fr Henry Everett

Press Release

Green light for trail-blazing church project in Paddington

This Tuesday evening Westminster Council gave the green light to plans to revitalise one of England’s most magical churches, St Mary Magdalene’s in Paddington. The council’s planning committee has approved a new building to adjoin the church, which will provide new facilities allowing St Mary Magdalene’s to operate as a centre for arts and heritage.

This is a milestone decision in a ten year campaign to conserve and develop this iconic church. Built in the 1860s-70s by G.E. Street (architect of the Royal Courts of Justice) this Grade 1 listed building is a treasure house of Victorian art and decoration, but classified as a building “at risk” by Historic England. Since 2005 Paddington Development Trust has been working with the church, residents, and Westminster Council to produce a viable plan for its future – one that puts local people at the heart of its cultural regeneration.

mary_mags9The new building has been ingeniously designed by Dow Jones Architects to provide an airy new learning centre and canal-side café, as well as modern essentials that the church building currently lacks, such as toilets and level access. The new space will unlock the potential of the church for much wider public use and enjoyment, including as an arts venue.

As well as building the new Heritage Centre, the £6.8m project will substantially conserve and repair the historic fabric of the church, revealing its former glory. £4.3m has already been identified from the Heritage Lottery Fund and others, leaving an appeal target of £2.5m to be raised by next July. The new building is due to open to the public in 2018. John Julius, Lord Norwich – patron of the appeal and a local resident – said:
“This is wonderful news indeed, one of London’s loveliest Victorian churches will be reborn.”

Over 100 residents and local organisations have written to Westminster Council supporting the proposals. Parish priest, Fr Henry Everett said:
“I am delighted that the planners have recognised local people’s desire to bring this building back to life. We must now get down to the serious business of fundraising to make it a reality and to transform the lives of local people.”

The vision of a restored ‘Mary Mags’ is of a place that builds common values and community in 21st century London. The project will sustain an active church as window to English art, culture and history, whilst at the same time uncovering the rich ‘living heritage’ of Paddington’s communities, which come from all over the world. Margot Bright, a local supporter, said:
“I’m very excited. This is exactly what we need to bring new life and energy to the area. The focus on heritage and art can really help bring together people of different backgrounds and faiths.”

Mary Mags is at the forefront of new and emerging policies within the Church of England designed to keep churches open as places of worship whilst realising their potential for imaginative new community uses. The partnership with Paddington Development Trust aims to pioneer a way forward for other endangered historic churches. Neil Johnston, PDT Chief Executive said:
“The St Mary Magdalene restoration is one of most exciting projects in London and a test case for new church policies. The local support has been tremendous and we are very grateful to everyone who has helped so far.”

Photo-shoot and tour of St Mary Magdalene’s Church


churchcanalPDT has been working for some time on the St Mary Magdalene’s Church project in the hope of building a new heritage and learning centre, as well as renovating the beautiful Grade II listed Church. We have just received permission to go ahead, which is excellent news, and we are very excited!

On Thursday at 10am we would like to invite you and anyone you know who may be interested to come along to be in a photoshoot for a press release at St Mary Magdalene’s Church in Westbourne, on Rowington Close, W2 5TF. After the photoshoot, visitors will have a chance to tour the building, which has been used in lots of films and TV as a set. Guests will also have the chance to find out more about the project and what this means for the area.

Please do pass the word around. We hope you can come – the more the merrier!