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Sacred Heart in Southwold awarded £250,000 grant

The Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart in Southwold has been awarded a Heritage Lottery grant of £250,000 to repair and restore the church tower and to improve the heating and lighting.

Recent structural surveys revealed that the church tower was in danger of collapse unless urgent work was carried out. Built at the height of WW1, the church is a unique example of the work of priest and architect Fr Benedict Williamson, who built around 30 churches in the years from the late 1890s to the early 1920s, mostly in and around London.

It is built in the Late Gothic style and is a significant feature of the Southwold landscape. The view from the tower is outstanding taking in the whole sweep of Sole Bay and the River Blyth out to Halesworth.

Parish Priest Fr Roger de Lacy-Spencer said: “This grant will ensure that the Church can continue to welcome both parishioners and visitors. It is very much part of the Southwold scene and I hope that this grant will enable more people to come and share it with us.”

Work will start in the next few months to ensure that the building is safe to use whilst the complex structural works are planned. Nicholas Warns Architects of Norwich have been engaged to advise on the works and it is anticipated that the project will also help interpret the Church building as well as enhance access to the view from the Tower.

Parish project manager, Cedric Burton, said: “We are absolutely delighted and extremely grateful to have been awarded this grant which will help us both preserve a unique piece of architectural history and enable more people to understand why churches are built as they are.”

Total costs of the project to repair the structural defects and improve heating and lighting as well as providing interpretative displays is likely to be around £320,000.