Award Celebrating Conservation And Repair Projects At Places Of Worship Launches

The SPAB Heritage Awards are now open

The newly-launched SPAB Heritage Awards that champion built heritage across the UK and Ireland are open for entries now

Entries are invited for the SPAB’s (The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) prestigious John Betjeman Award for outstanding repairs to places of worship, one of five awards that will be presented to the very best conservation projects across the UK and Ireland as part of the SPAB Heritage Awards.

The award is given for projects of repair or conservation at historic faith buildings (such as churches, chapels, meeting houses, synagogues, mosques, temples) which remain in use for worship. However, cathedrals of any denomination are not eligible. Projects can be of any scale, but must be for a specific part of the building’s fabric (e.g. tower, wall, roof, floor) or a significant element of its fittings or furnishings (e.g. monument, screen, tomb, seating), rather than a general programme of works. Projects must have been carried out within the previous two years. 

Importantly, the award is always made to the building rather than to any individual, so this is a chance for a whole community to celebrate the building and the repair project. The competition honours the poet, writer, and broadcaster Sir John Betjeman, marking his contribution to heritage and culture, and to the SPAB. 

Some exciting projects have won the award over its long history. The Death Reawakened Project to research and conserve wall paintings at the Guild Chapel of the Holy Cross in Stratford upon Avon won in 2018. From Ireland, St Doulagh’s Church, Balgriffin was one of the winners in 2020 for the sensitive repair to its stone roof, the oldest of its kind in Ireland. 

The closing date for the John Betjeman Award is 28 March 2022. All entries will be judged by a selection of specialists working across the building conservation sector. Winners will receive their award at an event at Conway Hall in London, the atmospheric 1920s headquarters of the Ethical Society. 

The SPAB warmly encourage applications from all faith buildings. For more information (including details of past winners), and to apply, visit the SPAB website: www.spab.org.uk/about-us/awards/john-betjeman-award 

Written by: Felicity Martin

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