S. Paul’s, built under the ’50 New Churches Act of 1711’ along with St Nicholas’ and the new terraces in Albury Street, is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the area. The church designed by Thomas Archer in 1713 and consecrated in 1730 is described by Pevsner as ‘one of the most moving 18th century churches in London’.
On the 7 December 1716, the minutes from the Commissioners recorded that proposals were read ‘for glazier’s work at Deptford new church from Chas Scriven, Thos Commings, Jos. Goodchild, Wm Ransom’. On the 10 December 1716, it was confirmed that ‘Commings to be employed for glazing Deptford new church with crown glass, with lead of 9 inches to the ounce’. (The Commission for Building Fifty New Church the Minute Books, 1711 – 27)
Repairs to the church have been undertaken in 1856 (John Whitcord), 1883 (Thomas Dinwiddy), 1930s (Eden & Marchant), 1975-85 (Marshall Sisson), 1990’s (Marshall Sisson), 2003 (HLF & Thomas Ford and Partners).
The windows have wrought iron frames incorporating leaded glazing. The east window is in the form of a Venetian window but following the curve of the apse, ‘a very Baroque trait’, Pevsner observed.
The recent church quinquennial report highlighted that the windows at St. Paul’s are in fairly good order, although some cracks have been reported and generally are in need of a good clean.
There have been many discussions over the past year with Tideway whether or not secondary window glazing would be of benefit in sound proofing the church.
The initial proposal by Tideway was to secondary window glaze the south side of the church, directly overlooking the construction site. However, there is strong opinion to suggest that the east side will be just as affected, as it has a direct line of sight over to the works site alongside Church Street. For secondary glazing to have a meaningful impact, both sides ideally would need to be treated.
The other consideration that needs to be accounted for are, aesthetic and conservation approaches. Ideally the quality of the architecture would benefit from all windows treated rather than a portion, since there will be differences which would be more apparent between treated and untreated windows. This has obvious cost implication which not surprisingly, would be quite significant.
Our church architect Nicholas Weedon has advised that, ‘inconsistency’ is not recommended, unless there is a very clear programme. Furthermore, the installation of internal secondary glazing would be a very sensitive matter and any repairs or alterations of this scale would require the church applying for faculty.
Finally the project coordination of any type of work like this would need careful planning and consideration in light of the current Tideway works and on-going church activities and services.
As part of Tideway’s TAPs (trigger action plan), we met with the main contractor ‘CVB’ towards the end of last month, to take these discussions further along with their appointed heritage consultants and window Specialist Company. An assessment of the building and report with proposed actions will follow in due course, which the church and advisors will need to consider carefully.