Northumberland National Park’s Sustainable Development Fund grant towards the restoration of the stained glass and other windows at former St Luke’s church, Greystead.
A key part of the restoration at Greystead Old Church was to restore the important Victorian staned glass and other windows. This work was generously supported by Northumberland National Park’s Sustainable Development Fund, whose assistance was a key component in mkaing the project viable.
The East window at Greytead Old Church contains three important Victorian stained glass lancets by a leading London Victorian firm, Powell of Whitefriars, one of Britain's longest-running and most innovative glassworks. The firm specialised in providing neo-Gothic stained glass to churches, using leading designers such as Burne-Jones and William de Morgan, and Greystead’s window, although perhaps dating to around 1910, is Pre-Raphaelite in style, depicting scenes from the life of St. Peter. It is in memory of 22-year-old Margaret Isabella Spencer of The Grove, Ryton, who had died in 1865 far away from Northumberland in Madeira, but whose family owned land in the North Tyne Vallery.
The window required specialist cleaning and conservation to enable it to become the focal point of the new interior, and, as a result of the grant we were able to have it fully cleaned and restored by the well-known Northumberland stained glass restoration firm, Iona Art Glass of Warkworth, whose previous work includes the restoration of windows at York Minster and in the Chapter House at Westminster Abbey. Also in urgent need of restoration and repair was the tinted 'quarry' or 'cathedral' glass (a cheaper Victorian alternative to stained glass) with its leadwork frames used in other windows at former St Luke's, together with the tower windows, the only ones to retain their Georgian design, which were conserved and reglazed.
The project accords with the aims of the Sustainable Development Fund, and set out to be an exemplar development within Northumberland National Park, using currently available best practice by establishing a long-term business which incorporporates sustainable development principles in a prominent listed building, whilst at the same time being fully socially inclusive, providing collaborative local partnerships and employment, and encouraging tourism. A key aim was to promote new opportunities in the training and employment of young people in heritage skills, and a bursary in stained glass at Iona Art Glass, linked to the Greystead restoration, was arranged through the North East Civic Trust ‘Heritage Skills Initiative’. Additionally, a community and youth workshop at former St Luke’s church on specialist conservation skills, including stained glass, was arranged in conjunction with the National Park’s Youth Engagement Officers, together with a second workshop on the opportunities involved in setting up a tourism business within the Park.