Rescue mission to save St Mellitus College crumbling tower and spire

A rescue mission to save the crumbling tower and spire at the iconic St Mellitus College building has moved a step closer to completion thanks to a major grant from Allchurches Trust.

The £50,000 grant will fund structural repairs to the Grade II* St Jude's Church tower and spire, which stand over St Mellitus College and the busy parish church in Earl’s Court like a beacon. Without these works, the buildings would be forced to close.

As well as being the largest theological college in the Anglican Church, with more than 250 ordinands in training and 650 students taking its courses, more than 300 people from Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) regularly attend services at St Jude’s Church and the building, which has been operational for nearly 150 years, also hosts a number of community groups each week.

After concern over several pieces of stone falling on public access areas last year, works to fully repair and restore the tower and spire urgently began in April 2017.

Poor air quality at the end of the 19th Century meant the St Jude's tower and spire stonework suffered severe corrosion. In 1898, repairs were undertaken, with the upper 20 feet of the spire being dismantled and rebuilt, with further spire repairs in 1908.

However, the limited repair methods meant that, over time, the cement render fell away, leaving the stonework in a state equal to, or worse than, before the initial repairs.

James Laing, Director of Grants and Relationships at Allchurches Trust, said: “The restoration of this building will not only benefit the prospective clergy who train there, but also each of their communities they will go on to support.

“As well as being a place of world-class study and a building of historic significance, St Mellitus College provides space and facilities for external groups and a large congregation. We’re delighted to be able to provide funding to ensure that it can continue to enable individuals and communities to thrive.”

In 2017, the 75 graduating ordinands from St Mellitus College went on to do curacies at 21 dioceses around the UK, each with a mission to transform their society. The College also runs a popular access course, Beginning Theology, which is aimed at people who typically have not had a formal education, of whom more than 40% are BAME.

St Mellitus College and Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) have each committed £250,000 to the £1million restoration project.

The Rt Revd Dr Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington and President, St Mellitus College, said: “Restoring the spire is an important gesture in ensuring that witness continues and that the vital work of St Mellitus for the good of the whole church can carry on developing and growing.”

Allchurches Trust is one of the UK's largest grant-making charities and gave £15.6 million to churches, charities and communities in 2017. The Trust funds projects that tackle homelessness, poverty and social exclusion, enabling individuals and communities to thrive. It also supports the repair, restoration and wider community use of churches and cathedrals of all denominations. Its funds come from its ownership of Ecclesiastical Insurance Group.

Nearly 50% of the funds have now be raised for the tower and spire repairs. If you would like to give support to the St Mellitus College project, you can contact development@stemellitus.ac.uk


St Mellitus and St Jude's Church towerChurch to receive grant funding boost