£34,000 Lottery funding for WW1 Memorial Window
St Pol de Leon Church, part of the Penlee Cluster, has received a ‘first round pass’ of £34,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to develop a major project that will celebrate peace through the restoration of the church’s significant First World War memorial window.
This development funding will help the project team to progress their plans so that they can bid for an estimated £259,000 of funding from the HLF towards the end of 2016. The project will not only restore the window, but will also commemorate victims of armed conflict over the last 100 years, create a series of exhibitions, community history projects and workshops on the theme of Sacrifice, Peace and Reconciliation as we approach the anniversary of the end of the First World War.
The project will restore the First World War (FWW) Bolitho Memorial Window. The glazing itself is in good condition, but the window tracery is polyphant, a popular soft stone used by the Victorians, but one found now by Historic England to be irredeemable, irrecoverable and irreparable. The polyphant stone that is removed from the window will be recycled by commissioning the sculptor Alice King to create a series of works on the key themes of Sacrifice, Peace and Reconciliation.
Looking towards the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the project will also commemorate victims of armed conflict over the last 100 years through the commission of a new plaque following the Newlyn Copper tradition. We will commission Michael Johnson, a leading coppersmith who established his workshop in Newlyn in 2004 where he undertakes major commissions, and also offers workshops for young people and apprenticeships.
We will create interpretive displays building on our core theme, including: the Arts and Crafts Movement, FWW Home and Abroad, FWW poetry – Julyan Grenfell ( a quote from a sonnet dedicated to him by Maurice Baring is incorporated in the design of the window ) and the stories of individuals from the local community who fought in the First World War. Volunteers are very keen to collect oral history from our older population to capture their memories of living and working in the Parish, cultural traditions, myths and legends associated with the area
Alongside this will be a two year programme of activities for the local community, including schools, as well as visitors and tourists. The focus of these activities will be to help people to engage with and reflect on the theme of Sacrifice, Peace and Reconciliation as we approach the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, and more widely, encourage people to reflect on their cultural identity and the community’s memories of personal sacrifice.
St Pol de Leon is considered acoustically to be one of the best venues in West Cornwall and so is regularly used for music concerts by a variety of organisations. Developing the church as a cultural venue and community resource is hindered by the lack of toilet facilities and the grant will help with this as well as accessibility improvements.
This initial grant money will fund a development phase which will identify the specific needs of the restoration work and develop a 2 year activity and business plan to ensure sustainability.
Commenting on the award, Rev. Andrew Yates said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and know this project will bring together many different people in our community giving their perspective on the themes of sacrifice, peace and reconciliation”.