This eclectic selection of papers looks at historic and contemporary issues concerned with the redundancy of churches, and their subsequent reuse and maintenance. When did it come to be thought preferable to reuse the buildings rather than demolish them? What is the role of the Church of England, and how has the law changed over time? How have ideas evolved about the acceptability of different uses - by members of other religions, for commercial purposes, and involving for instance licensed premises and martial arts? And how are heritage bodies entrusted with former churches, such as the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Churches Conservation Trust and the Norwich Historic Churches Trust (NHCT), coping with the challenges of maintaining and converting the buildings in an age of austerity?
Papers presented at conferences organized by the NHCT and its Friends in 2014 and 2015 are supplemented by four specially written contributions on aspects of the NHCT itself: its history, its guiding principles, the Heavenly Gardens project to enhance churchyards, and the experiences of a tenant.
The NHCT is entrusted with the care of 18 of Norwich's redundant medieval churches, and works not only to maintain them but to increase awareness of architectural, historical and other related aspects of our medieval ecclesiastical heritage. All profits from the sale of this book go to support its work.
Foreword, Nick Williams; Historic churches: heritage and voluntary action, Robert Piggott; The use, reuse and abuse of `alternative use': a historical perspective on the reappropriation of urban closed churches for other purposes,Steven Saxby; Working co-operatively with closed churches: the Holland Coastal Group, Stella Jackson; `With concern, but not without hope': an overview of the Norwich Historic Churches Trust, Nicholas Groves; The Norwich Historic Churches Trust, returning churches to the community, Rory Quinn; Heavenly Gardens, George Ishmael; Confessions of a former tenant, Susan Curran; Inspired by the past - engaging the present - securing the future. New uses for religious heritage at the Churches Conservation Trust, Peter Aiers, Matthew McKeague and Edward Walkington; Index