HISTORY OF OUR LADY STAR OF THE SEA
HERITAGE LOTTERY PROJECT TO REPAIR
OUR LADY STAR OF THE SEA
Our Lady Star of the Sea, Lowestoft was built in 1900-02 and designed by George Baines and F.W. Richards. The church suffered bomb damage during the 1939-1945 war and was repaired in 1952.
The interior arrangement of the church was re-ordered in 1984 when the altar rail in the Sanctuary was removed and the pulpit and font repositioned, amongst other changes. The Stella Maris Hall was built in 1986 and connected to the South West Porch in 1987.
Damage to stone cross and pinnacles.
What has been repaired?
For years rainwater has been leaking into the church, causing us to use buckets to catch the drips inside. The dampness has seeped into the brick and stonework, and through to the interior plaster (as the pictures show).
In August 2014 the stone cross on the apex of the Nave roof fell off at the end of Sunday Mass. As this cross fell it broke the stone cross over the west door. A chunk of the stone hit and broke Father Paul’s foot as he stood outside waiting for the congregation to leave. As a result we had to put scaffolding up around the Tower so that the pinnacles on the Tower could be checked and made safe. These were replaced and the stonework of the west window repaired.
Here is a PDF version of the Stella Maris Souvenir Album, compiled by Chris Brooks in 1992 (and currently out of print). A fascinating insight into the history of the church and parish. Below are some preview pages:
How did we afford the repairs?
Parishioners have pledged donations to the Alive in Faith programme. This scheme has drawn on those funds. However the scheme in its present scale is only possible thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
We were initially awarded Development funding of £25,400 to help us progress our plans and have now also received a grant totalling £248,266 to help repair the church. In addition to the repairs, the grant includes funds for developing an innovative digital guide to the church so visitors can use their mobile phones or tablets to find out more about the history and architecture.
Internal water damage caused by rainwater.
Scaffolding around the tower to make the pinnacles safe
A Concert Venue
We have hosted concerts by Lowestoft Choral Society, Pakefield Singers and The Merry Opera Company in recent years.
To encourage more events to be hosted here, we will be developing an easy to build modular tiered staging which has been made possible by the Heritage Lottery Grant.
For more information, interviews and images please contact Tony Walmsley, Parish Treasurer on 01502 562821
View the plans below:
The Kittiwakes - On the endangered
When these rare birds decided to use the ledges on our Tower as a nesting site it seemed a mixed blessing. Putting up preventative measures would be expensive, disfiguring and not guaranteed to work. We decided to adopt them instead as a conservation project.
The Kittiwakes nesting on our tower.