St. Oswald’s wins prestigious John Betjeman award

Dorian Crone and Britt Harwood of the SPAB, with Sonia Rickman, Rev Penny Driver, architect Chloe Granger and Richard Beskeen.

St. Oswald’s Church has won the John Betjeman Award for outstanding repairs to the fabric of places of worship in England and Wales. Awarded annually by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), the award is always made to the winning building rather than to individuals.

The award was presented at a special ceremony after the morning service on Sunday, 1st September.

The SPAB Press Release reported: “This year brought twenty-four entries. At the end of the site visit, all five judges agreed that the project was executed to the highest of conservation standards.

“The repairs were challenging, pioneering in the use of hot-lime mortars on this scale was commendable. Great care was taken by both architect and contractor to retain as much historic fabric as possible and repair in a truly like-for-like manner, showing exceptional attention to detail and execution.

“A special part if this project was the outreach activities. Scaffold tours were conducted throughout the works allowing members of the local community to access the tower roof and see lime mortar works at first hand. A final tour was held so locals could see the end-result of the project.”

Paul Crosby, of Crosby Granger Architects, said the judges particularly noted the teamwork of the architects, the Contractor UK Restoration Services and St.Oswald’s PCC.

Chloe Granger said: “Standing next to the River Rothay, the reinstatement of the limewashed tower is a beacon whether seen from Grasmere’s lanes or the surrounding fells, it reminds us of its presence and the celebration of God, as originally intended.”

Read Chloe Granger’s background article to St. Oswald’s entry.