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Lucinda Lambton reports on the progress of the INSPIRE! Appeal for BBC Inside Out London.
In 2012 St Bride's began a major campaign to repair and clean the fabric of Wren's magnificent building. The INSPIRE! Appeal was launched to raise the £2.5 million needed to finance the project.
Lucinda Lambton, writer, broadcaster and general advocate for British heritage has been following the progress of the campaign and reports for the BBC's Inside Out London on the current state of play. She identifies St Bride's as a "beacon of beauty" at the heart of Fleet Street which is still fulfilling its purpose 350 years after Wren's design was realised.
The first phase of the work began in 2013 and aimed to restore the iconic spire of St Bride's which was showing dangerous signs of failure. The spire is Wren's highest church spire and is the inspiration for tiered wedding cakes thanks to the imagination of a local star baker. For much of the year it was enveloped in scaffolding. That scaffolding has now been removed and the pristine tower gleams white against the clouds through a myriad of gaps in the London skyline.
However, the spire represents barely a quarter of the structure of the building and there is much still to be achieved. In addition, the church's interior is in serious need of repair, restoration and redecoration. Furthermore, as a legacy of the work, St Bride's aims to create a Wren Centre in the church crypt as a permanent exhibition devoted to Wren's city churches together with an educational programme, currently in development, to foster a greater understanding of Wren's body of work, the history of Fleet Street and St Bride's, where a church has stood for a thousand years.
St Bride's courageously began work to save the spire before the Appeal had completed its fundraising, due to the poor condition of the structure. Much of the target of £2.5 million is still to be raised and, like other churches, St Bride's is not eligible for heritage grants.
You can donate to the INSPIRE! Appeal in a number of ways: by standing order for regular giving; textgiving for small donations; online via JustGiving; or by sponsoring an item in the interior as part of our Wash the Face of an Angel campaign. Details in the How To Donate box on the right of this page.
Any amount is gratefully received and will help to restore St Bride's to Wren's glorious design for this and future generations.