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St John at Hackney church reopens after multi-million pound restoration

PUBLISHED: 14:40 09 November 2020 | UPDATED: 12:05 11 November 2020

St John at Hackney Church has reopened after a two year, multi-million pound restoration supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Picture: Gilbert McCarragher

St John at Hackney Church has reopened after a two year, multi-million pound restoration supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Picture: Gilbert McCarragher

Gilbert McCarragher

A Hackney church has reopened after a two year, multi-million pound restoration supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The church was built in 1792. Picture: Gilbert McCarragherThe church was built in 1792. Picture: Gilbert McCarragher

Built in 1792, St John at Hackney Church is an iconic parish church which has given out 140,000 free meals during the coronavirus pandemic as part of its Lighthouse project.

READ MORE: Hackney people pull together to support each other through second lockdown

The church in Lower Clapton has also become a centre for the arts as well as a world-class events venue having, in recent years, hosted live music events for superstar-acts like Coldplay, Robbie Williams, Ed sheeran and Emeli Sandé.

Reverend Al Gordon, Rector of Hackney Church, said: “In these dark days, this restoration is a beacon of hope: a cathedral of creativity, playing its part in a spiritual, social and cultural renaissance in East London and beyond.”

The church, in Lower Clapton, has given out thousands of meals for people in East London through its Lighthouse Project serving homeless and vulneralbe people. Picture: Gilbert McCarragherThe church, in Lower Clapton, has given out thousands of meals for people in East London through its Lighthouse Project serving homeless and vulneralbe people. Picture: Gilbert McCarragher

The Reverend and Bishop of London Rt Hon Sarah Mullally thanked the National Heritage Fund and said the “stunningly” restored building and facilities will enable the church to continue serving its community and putting on events.

Designer John Pawson, worked with architects Thomas Ford and Partners to restore the historical landmark with Roof Ltd as contractor.

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The restoration is said to revive the church’s Georgian spaces adding a new oak interior, two chapels and a font, altar, lectern and processional cross.

The church has hosted live events for Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sandé and many others. Picture: Gilbert McCarragherThe church has hosted live events for Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sandé and many others. Picture: Gilbert McCarragher

Work also included the installation of a state-of-the-art PA system.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: St John at Hackney Church to host services on YouTube after Church of England suspends public worship

Designer John Pawson said: “The vision driving the refurbishment of this East London church was always of a cathedral of creativity, where architecture and people can come together in the richest ways possible, for a variety of purposes and activities, sacred and secular.

“As a designer, it is my belief that such creativity is stimulated and fostered both by the detail of a physical environment and by the character of its atmosphere.

Planning for the restoration began in 2017. Picture: Gilbert McCarragherPlanning for the restoration began in 2017. Picture: Gilbert McCarragher

“I have used new architectural elements to define the different spaces and functions within the body of the church. These elements incorporate much needed storage, whilst also providing a framework for an integrated approach to lighting, acoustic and heating, clearing and simplifying the visual field.”

READ MORE: Historical Hackney nonreligious church removed from Heritage At Risk list following renovations

Planning for the restoration began in 2017.

Visit Hackney Church at https://hackney.church/ or follow on instagram @hackney.church


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