St Luke's Roof Fund Appeal

St Luke's Church was built in 1868 and the roof has reached the end of its working life.

What's the problem? The beams of the roof structure are still mostly sound, and the slates on the roof still keep the water out, but the laths on which they are nailed are now very dry and brittle, and the nails that hold them on are also brittle and fragile. The"torching" (which is the mortar that was put on to hold each slate close to the slates above and below it) has mostly crumbled so that the slates are now rattling against each other in the wind, as can be seen by the black dust which has been shaken down into the space below and coats the walkways and loft insulation. When it was built the roof would have had a life expectancy of perhaps 100 to 120 years, and it is now 150 years old. It could last another 20 or 30 years, but on the other hand if there was a storm-force wind the whole roof could blow off like a pack of cards!

What needs doing? The building needs scaffolding to access the roof. Then the slates need to be taken off and stored, and the timbers inspected. The laths need taking off and a waterproof membrane needs to be put over the timbers, then new laths need to be fixed on. Then slates need to be nailed onto the new laths - the architect estimates that we will be able to reuse about half of the original slates (and these will be used on one side of the building) and about half of the roof (the other side) will need new slates. Along with the work the downspouts and hoppers need renewing and some extra downspouts adding. There is also some high-level pointing to be done whilst there is access to the space.

What has already been done? The whole roof originally needed renewing, but in 2014 we re-roofed the chancel (the east end of the building) at a cost of nearly £50,000 as we needed to make sure the organ (which is probably worth £500,000) would not be damaged by rain getting in if the roof failed.

How much will the work cost and what funds do you have? Of course we won't know an exact cost until we put the work out to tender - which in itself costs. The architect gave us some estimates in 2012, and prices may have changed since then. But we reckon the cost of the main roof might be about £150,000, and we have raised about £75,000 of this.

How can I help? You can donate via the BT My Donate page at mydonate.bt.com/charities/stlukeschurcheccleshill, and of course you can send us a cheque through the post. But we would welcome you to come and see the building for yourself, because that way you'll get a clearer idea of who we are, what we do, and why we are worth supporting..