The Context of our Project

Saint Laurence Church Measham

Activity Plan (Context)              

Contents

  • Introduction
  • The Church’s Role    
  • Our Heritage
  • Saint Laurence’s Importance
  • The Local Catchment Area
  • Non-visitors and Barriers to participation
  • Comparators/ Collaborators/ Competitors
  • Our Strengths
  • And Weaknesses
  • ‘Bringing People Together’ – Our Project Aims
  • Our Challenges
  • Our Approach to Interpretation

Introduction

This Activity Statement sets out to underpin the conservation and interpretation project of St. Laurence Church, Measham.

The church building is an icon of the village of Measham and occupies a commanding position on the High Street in the centre of the village. It is visible as one drives into this large village. Measham is a former coal-mining and industrial village, now in the heart of the National Forest.

The Project will benefit the local Community by bringing people together to learn about and enjoy the heritage of the building and enjoy participation in a variety of related community activities. 

St. Laurence Church, Measham is an Anglican church in North West Leicestershire in the Diocese of Leicester; the church is administered by the Parochial Church Council. St. Laurence’s is one of a team of 8 churches working in partnership as the Woodfield Team to meet shared aims. Measham has the largest church building of the team, and together with its Church Hall and available parking, is frequently, although not exclusively, host to major Team events. The team name reflects the mining past, the main coal seam having been called the Woodfield Seam, and its present situation surrounded by the woods and fields of the National Forest.

The Church’s Role

The chief purpose of St. Laurence’s is to worship and serve God and to serve the people of the parish.

Worship and service of God:

  • The Church is open every day to welcome visitors and to provide a quiet space for prayer and reflection. Increasingly, individuals are using this facility.
  • The recent addition of a children’s corner with available activities enhances the welcome afforded to visitors with young children.
  • A service is held every Sunday morning with one Sunday evening service a month and a monthly Wednesday morning Communion service. A monthly Sunday afternoon service aimed particularly at families has been held for the last 2½ years.
  • In 2017 there were 12 Baptisms, 7 Weddings and 11 Funerals held in the Church.  We are proud of the warmth of the welcome afforded to all visitors to the church, but are not complacent as shown by our plans for a new welcome area with suitable in-house training provided as necessary.
  • Communion is taken to the housebound; members of the clergy and congregation visit the sick, both at home and in hospital; we have a well-established hospital visiting team, a service which is offered more widely than to just our own congregation; general pastoral visits are made as needed.
  • An annual memorial service for the bereaved, called Lights of Love, is held each October. In 2017 we had a Tree of Remembrance in the church for people to add the names of loved ones they have lost. The service is much appreciated by the many who attend.
  • We hold Lent groups, enabling us to support each other’s learning; small teaching groups are held on an ad hoc basis through the year for both ‘regulars’ and ‘enquirers’.
  • In early 2018 classes will be held to prepare younger members of the congregation for confirmation; a twice monthly Sunday evening club for young people will also start in January 2018.
  • The Christmas Eve Christingle Service regularly attracts over 400 visitors and is considered to be the real start of Christmas for many families in the community.

Children and families work:

Children’s work is very important in the life of the church.

  • The 8 churches of the Woodfield Team have just appointed a Children‘s worker on a 3 year contract (mostly funded by grants).
  • Members of the congregation as well as clergy run a monthly Sunday School and Family Service. Activities for young children are available at all services. 
  • A half-term Holiday Club for primary age children has been held for over ten years and has now developed into 6 ‘Ready, Steady, Stick’ Holiday Club events each year, which include drama, story, singing, craft and refreshments. Numbers vary depending on the time of year and even the weather, but are generally well attended with a full Church Hall buzzing with excited children, keen volunteers and interested parents and carers.          
  • We work closely with Measham CE Primary School; clergy lead assemblies and there are regular visits from our ‘Open the Book’ team. The Church nominates 2 Foundation governors and the Team Rector also serves as an ex officio governor.  The school holds termly services in the church, attended by an increasing number of parents and grandparents, and arranges other visits on an ad hoc basis in groups or classes, e.g. when curriculum demands, or when we have an appropriate exhibition. Recent examples include interactive opportunities to explore the Christmas and Easter stories and the Lord’s Prayer. (The children seem particularly enthusiastic about finding the hidden toy mice in the exhibits.) A book in the church entitled ‘The things children say’ contains many positive comments from our young visitors. Our Children’s Worker is now working with the school to further this partnership.
  • The dedicated Children’s corner is used regularly, both during the week and on Sundays, during services, events or casual visits.
  • There is a monthly pre-school and carers’ group which we are eager to hold more regularly.
  • We have held other events such as parachuting teddy bears to engage with families.
  • A young people’s Group meets with the Children’s worker and volunteers twice a month on Sunday evening in the Church Hall. 
  • St. Laurence’s observes all the safeguarding requirements of the Diocese of Leicester and has a designated Parish Safeguarding Coordinator.  

Community work:

  • Some 10 years ago, after consultation with Measham Medical Unit, Activeage was set up by the church. This offers seated exercise to the over 60s with a qualified instructor. (Although it is titled ‘gentle’ exercise, casual observers might be surprised by the energetic nature of the work-out.) The group has gone from strength to strength and is nearly always full. For the last few years this group has organised social outings for its members, as well as holding successful and enjoyable ‘afternoon tea’ events to raise funds for local and national charities. As well as catering for the physical fitness of participants, Activage provides the opportunity for much needed social interaction.

                http://www.stlaurencechurchmeasham.org.uk/content/pages/uploaded_images/152.jpg

         Activeage offers physical activity but also a chance for social interaction

  • In 2016, following the success of this group, the church also established a Hobbies and Pastimes Group to provide a further service to the community. This group is led by an instructor who is not a member of the church.
  • Occasional concerts have been held in the Church in support of local and National charities. With several local choirs, it is envisaged that these events will continue. Choirs include Gresley Male Voice Choir, Moira Male Voice Choir, Cantabile and Measham’s own Community Choir ‘Melody Blue’.
  • Other community groups use the adjoining Church Hall and annex which are also used for children’s/ family parties. These groups include Weightwatchers, Brownies and Rainbows, a Pilates group, a dance group, a Taekwondo group and a craft group.
  • We are seen as ‘the place to come’, a sanctuary in times of crisis, as evidenced during a tragic murder in 2015 (see below).
  • The clergy and members of the church do Pastoral work in the community for the Bereaved, the Housebound, those who are ill and others in need.
  • Members of the church , often joined by members of the community go carol singing around the village pubs, Working Men’s Club and several homes in the village as a service to the community rather than a fundraising occasion.
  • We, as part of the Woodfield Team, visit the local Sunday Car Boot Sale on a monthly basis to offer chat, prayer, children’s activities and to raise funds for the Community First Responders.
  • The Church is the venue for the popular village event ’Christmas@Measham’, held at the beginning of December each year to mark the switch-on of the Christmas lights in the village. There is a ‘Tower of Light’ on the Church tower: this has been the means to raise funds for local groups, such as the Community First Responders, the Youth Club, Measham Medical Unit and to fund defibrillators for the village.

 

               Image result for st Laurence church measham

                                    The Tower of Light supports local charities              

Our Heritage

The Church building

Saint Laurence Church has a long and interesting history.

  • The first mention of Measham Church is in 1172 when Measham is recorded as having a chapel of ease.
  • Later, in 1270, Measham is mentioned as a Chapel of St Wystan, Repton in the confirmation charter of that church to Repton Priory.
  • The present building is recorded as being built in the 1300s in Dr Cox’s ‘Churches of Derbyshire’. The Record Office of Church House in London gives the date as the early 14th Century.
  • A new roof was given to the nave in the perpendicular period of the 15th Century; the walls over the arcades were raised and 6 three-light clerestory windows inserted one on each side. The pillars and Gothic arches were inserted at this time supporting the new roof. The carved corbel stones supporting the roof are very old; one in the south-west corner is supposedly playing the bagpipes.
  • The Church, perhaps unusually, has no chancel – and the story suggests that the parishioners complained to the then Patrons, Repton Priory, that there was no vicar. They were told that, if they provided a chancel, then a vicar would be forthcoming. The chancel was never built.
  • In the 18th Century the tower had to be rebuilt – again an interesting story suggests that some builders were underpinning the tower when it fell down. Fortunately, the men were away having lunch when the tower collapsed.
  • The South porch is of an architecturally rare and interesting structure and visitors are often invited to look up to view the roof struts. It is thought that the stone ribs of the roof may represent the gridiron in the story of Saint Laurence. A recent visitor with a background in building work was heard marvelling at the structure.

 

  

             The ribbed structure of the porch roof is said to represent the grating

                                   over which legend tells us that Saint Laurence was burned

  • The West door, dated 1675, opens on a single hinge at the top and a pinion at the bottom.
  • The Church yard was closed for burials in 1883 but is open for interment of ashes in a Garden of Remembrance. Some of the gravestones now lie on the floor of the church at either side of the nave, others have been placed around the edge of the churchyard.
  • Although largely inaccessible, a series of tunnels runs underneath the building, now mainly containing the wiring for electric services.

Stained Glass Windows

The windows, in the main, date to the 1800’s and 1900’s.  It is largely the beauty of the windows that gives rise to the church sometimes being called ‘the hidden gem of North-West Leicestershire’.

  • The north-east nave window refers to St Luke as a doctor, and has a representation of Jesus the healer. It was commissioned by the family of Dr. Hart. The theme of the window is healing with medical instruments included in the design. It is ascribed to Francis Skeat and dated 1962. Dr Hart was a much loved local doctor – the head of one of his horses is shown in the window.  He had 4 horses for different times of day and they were kept in the Stables of the doctor’s house, Iveagh House (long since demolished). However the stables remain within the church grounds.
  • The central east window, illustrated on the cover of this document, was commissioned by Joseph Hewetson’s family in 1910 in memory of him and his wife and his time as vicar. This window was designed by Robert J Newbery and made by Charles Powell of Highgate, London.  This window bears a startling resemblance to panels in Llandaff Cathedral in South Wales, both of which were by the same designer and maker. The panels of this window show Christ in the centre, with Peter and Paul either side. The far right panel is of St Laurence and the far left, St Chad, holding a model of Lichfield Cathedral, known as Saint Chad’s. There are 3 shields at the top of the window which reflect the church’s ecclesiastical history; these are the coats of arms of Southwell, Derby and Lichfield, although the Church is now in the relatively new Diocese of Leicester.
  • In the south-west corner of the church, there is a window containing the oldest glass in the church (though no longer in its original design).  It shows the Alpha and Omega image. This medieval glass, in parts, appears like a jigsaw with many of the pieces in the wrong positions, although there are some identifiable images.                     
  • In the south-east corner is a highly-ornamental window of Victorian design, again by Charles Powell; it was presented by the Abney family, who lived at nearby Willesley manor.  Members of the family also lived in Measham Hall.
  • One south window adjacent to the Abney Window is made up of unusual bevelled ironwork and diamonds of glass which requires further research.
  • The south-east window is of St Patrick, commissioned by Frances Blake in memory of her father, who was churchwarden, and her mother; it is again dated 1962 and ascribed to Francis Skeat.  The imagery of stories from St Patrick’s life was chosen to reflect the Irish origins of the Blake family.    
  • There is a Rose window of coloured glass, dating from before 1881, at the West end of the church, on the north side, which was restored in the 1980's. It is mentioned as ‘having exceptional character’ in Kelly’s Directory of Derbyshire.
  • Stained glass from earlier windows has been inserted into windows on the north and south aisles but not in any particular design.

Other artefacts in the church

  • A War Memorial commemorating those from the parish who died in the 2 World Wars hangs on the North wall and a remembrance service is held in November each year, during which all are named and remembered in prayer. A WW1 Roll of Honour (handwritten) has recently come to light and will be repositioned during conservation and re-ordering work.

         

  • Artefacts of Measham Coal Mine (now closed) are also displayed in the Church.
  • An Octagonal Font stands near the north door, having been moved at least once from its likely original position.
  • The tower houses a set of 8 bells, including a tenor bell from the 14th Century. Research in 1998 shows that this bell was founded by Michael de Litchfield who was casting bells between 1280 and 1350. This is one of only 12 bells known to still exist by this founder. The founder’s name is not mentioned on the bell but the cross at the beginning of the inscription can be linked with Michael de Litchfield. Other bells came from the famous Taylor Bell Foundry in Loughborough.
  • Numbered box pews are present throughout the nave. These date from 1842 and just over half were ‘free’.
  • The wardens’ oak chest dates back to ca.1690. This is a typical chest with 3 locks – one for the vicar and one for each of the churchwardens. (Was there so little trust in those days?)
  • The brass eagle lectern was donated in 1894.
  • The present organ was built in 1937.
  • Several plaques on the south wall are dedicated to people of note in the life of the village, Joseph Pickard, Headmaster of the national school in Measham for 47 years in the 19th Century, David Wagstaff Lewis, a later headmaster from the 20th Century and John Yeomans, a benefactor of the church who died in 1932. The latter has a large gravestone in the churchyard.
  • The old village fire bell, dating back to 1783, is sited in the grounds at the front of the Church.
  • More recently, in 2012, a Community Wallhanging was unveiled in the Church, comprising squares representing and designed by many Community groups, ranging from the Youth Club and schools to the Medical Unit, shops, the Ashby Canal Restoration Group and Measham Museum.

                                                

         The many faces of Measham

St. Laurence’s Importance

The church is a significant and prominent icon of the village of Measham. Photos of the church are used as the ‘mascot’ of the village. It is an important sacred space at the heart of the community.

It is a Listed Building (Grade 2*). In 2016, English Heritage added the church to its Heritage at Risk register. It is a significant and special place for local people, with residents of the village celebrating key life events here.

Our activity programme will continue and expand this relationship with the local community. We believe the plans for interior reordering will make the building better equipped and more welcoming for existing groups and future visitors.

Our status in the village can perhaps best be portrayed by 2 significant events from the recent past. In 2015, a local schoolgirl was sexually assaulted and murdered. The church opened its doors and arms to the many who wished to show solidarity with the family, pour out their grief, seek solace for themselves, pray and, where needed share their thoughts with our clergy and volunteers. A vigil, covered widely by the media, saw a packed church with as many outside waiting patiently for their chance to enter. The funeral was equally well-attended. This sad event led to the church being invited to host the International Peace Light. A tree at the front of church became the place for the laying of flowers, coming to be known as ‘Kayleigh’s tree’ The feeling within the village was that the church had played a valuable part in meeting the grief of the community and ‘holding the village together’. The church also hosted the showing of ‘Kayleigh’s Love Story’, a film produced by the police, which has won several awards.

During the celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s 90th Birthday, the Church hosted a Teddy Bears’ parachute jump for the village. Over 100 bears parachuted safely from the church tower, some making several jumps. Locals claimed that this was ‘the best fun in Measham for years’.                     

The church building was also used for the protest meeting regarding the HS2 route, and was full to capacity. The hall was used as an information centre for HS2 news.

Existing Visitors and Users

  • Our regular Congregation (Electoral Roll 72).
  • Families and Friends at Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals.
  • The local CE school of ca. 200 children.
  • Members of other churches in the Woodfield Team.
  • Villagers seeking a quiet space and a place to pray.
  • Occasional visitors (including international) with historical/ family connections to the Church or village.
  • Occasional visits by photographers or those interested in history or churches.
  • Regular groups use the Hall and Stables, including Weightwatchers, a dance group, a Pilates group, a craft group, a Taekwondo club and families holding parties.
  • Church members organise groups in the hall: Activeage, Hobbies and Pastimes, Ready, Steady Stick, Little Fishes pre-school group and Sunday Teatime Fun and Friendship in addition to ad hoc social and fund-raising events.
  • Our team of bell-ringers.
  • Occasional visiting bell-ringing groups.

The Local Catchment Area

  • Measham is a former mining/ industrial village seeking a new identity since the pit closure.
  • A surface mine has recently been worked close to the village outskirts; this is now closed.
  • There is a large quantity of new ‘dormitory’ housing, catering largely for commuters due to the proximity to the A42/M42, providing good connections to several nearby cities and towns offering greater employment opportunities. Further housing is already in the planning phase. This has given rise to somewhat of a division between ‘old’ and ‘new’ Measham; this became particularly apparent in recent years when the opencast mine was proposed, approved and now mined. Recent announcements about the route of HS2 have also caused dissent and division as the route was changed from one edge of the village to the other before a further change to the original route.
  • Some employment opportunities are provided by small local Industrial Estates, largely of a low-skilled nature.
  • Information from the 2011 Census informs us that our Project can engage the parish community, (many of whom fall into ‘hard to reach’ groups), bringing them together through the variety of activities offered in this document. Figures from the 2011 Census reveal that 64% of the village population are between the ages of 16 and 64, with 22% between 30 and 44.
  • The total population of Measham was recorded as 5200 in the 2011 Census, although this figure has been steadily increasing with new housing estates.
  • Some estates in the village are categorised as the second most deprived area of North-West Leicestershire.
  • There is a proportionately high number of single-parent families.
  • According to the census, villagers were mainly low-skilled with less than 10% in higher managerial or similar positions; 31% had no educational qualifications.
  • The village has 2 primary schools (1 Church of England and 1 Roman Catholic); the CE Primary School houses a Sure Start Centre; there are also 3 preschool groups; older children have to travel to secondary schools outside the village.
  • There are high street shops, inc. Tesco and Co-op, a Chemist, hairdressers, hardware store, a printer, florist, beauty salons and several ‘take away’ outlets. Other shops have either been redeveloped as housing or stand empty.
  • Measham has a highly respected Medical Unit, a Leisure Centre, a Baptist Church, a Methodist group, a recently opened Skate park and several play areas.
  • Measham Museum is housed in the former Train station; the museum has many exhibits and has specialised to a large extent on the rich industrial heritage of the village and its characters.
  • Measham is within The National Forest with its Environmental Discovery Park at ‘Conkers’ and the restored Moira Furnace, canals at Snarestone and Conkers, a Youth Hostel and caravan sites; nearby are Ashby Museum and Castle. There are 2 Mining Museums in other villages in the area.
  • A former railway line, primarily used to transport coal, has been converted to the Ashby Woulds Trail, providing recreation for cyclists and walkers. The Woodfield Team of Churches is also linked by a medium distance walk (The Woodfield Walk), linking many of the area’s villages and passing through a variety of farmland and reclaimed mining land.
  • There are 3 cafes and a Chinese restaurant in the village, together with 2 public houses.
  • Age UK run a drop-in Centre in the former Temperance Hall on Measham High Street.
  • The village is surrounded by small to medium sized farms.

Non-visitors and Barriers to participation

  • The Church does not appear striking or even architecturally interesting from the outside, yet inside is a hidden gem of stained glass and history, together with unusual architectural features.
  • Although the Church is the prominent building on the High Street, many villagers pass without noticing the church.
  • The village itself is no longer a cohesive community.
  • The population has a high percentage of commuters, with adults working long hours away from home and scarcely visiting the village centre.
  • The large number of people on benefits or in low paid work who do not generally visit heritage venues such as churches, except perhaps in times of need.
  • It is difficult in this village to get printed information to the local population; the local newssheet (The Measham Messenger) has recently ceased production and for the past few years had only a limited circulation.
  • St. Laurence’s has a website, but has not been visible on modern social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, a fact which we are currently addressing.
  • Many villagers are not aware that Measham has an interesting history, both in terms of the village’s rich industrial past and the notable personalities represented in the Church.

We believe that our project will truly serve to attract the hard to reach groups, offering opportunities for positive enjoyment through interesting practical workshops and learning activities for both groups and individuals. Our excellent relationship with Measham CE School provides us with an entry point to families – involving the children who would later bring along their parents and other family members.

Comparators/ Collaborators/ Competitors

  • Other churches in the area (St. Helen’s Ashby and St Michael and all Angels Appleby, Holy Rood Packington together with other local heritage venues) could be linked in.
  • The Church has a good relationship with Measham Museum, several members serving as volunteers at the museum.
  • The Parish Council is very supportive of the Church.
  • There are plans to develop links with local Tourist information offices in Ashby and Swadlincote through publicising The Woodfield Walk and our Heritage Activities.
  • Our own historical research has led to communication with other experts as and when deemed helpful, notably with Stained glass experts and Measham Museum.
  • Measham Baptist Church was the recipient of a recent grant from English Heritage for building restoration and internal reordering, further improving the facilities available in Measham.
  • There are no local competitors, although other nearby towns have more established heritage on offer. We would seek to link in with such places.

Our Strengths

  • We want to explore and open up the heritage of St. Laurence’s for others to enjoy and explore.
  • Our initial research has generated excitement and enthusiasm, thus drawing in a wider participation among our congregation.
  • Our newly-appointed children’s worker can advise on children’s activities and help to run some of them.
  • We have expertise in important areas, such as education, church history, communication and organisation; we are also looking at others with available skills from both within and outside our own congregation.
  • Our Project Management Team is strong and determined to see the project succeed with a Team Rector who has a proven track record in such projects.
  • We run a website (www.stlaurencechurchmeasham.org.uk) which attracts thousands of hits each month. There is a desire to develop this and to link with other websites as appropriate, for example the Parish Council and Measham Museum.
  • The history of St. Laurence’s Church is rich and interesting and the stained glass noteworthy.
  • The Project Management Team has a love of the building and a wish for this building to continue as a central point in the village, welcoming more visitors to enjoy the peace and heritage to be found here.
  • Our excellent experience and success with children’s work and education gives us the ability and expertise to develop and test trails and activities for various age groups.
  • We have the support of many organisations in the village, such as the Parish Council, the Museum, Age UK and the Library. The CE school, in particular, is eager for the project to proceed and is willing for some of the older pupils to train and act as guides.

And Weaknesses

  • A current shortage of volunteers, which we can address by looking beyond our own four walls and by providing suitable training.
  • We have little experience with Social Media; this is currently being addressed with 2 recent appointments to the staff of the Woodfield Team who have some expertise in this area.
  • Our publicity has not always been effective; we plan to improve this by the use of Social Media, our website and, within our own Community, through word of mouth and personal invitation.
  • There is currently a lack of experience with heritage activities. Our partnership with the Museum and links with St Helen’s Ashby will help in this respect as we share experiences.
  • Since starting our application process, there has been the unexpected loss of 4 key personnel moving away from the area. Others, however, from both our own congregation and from the Community have shown an interest in our project.
  • There is a reticence in self promotion. We are seeking to educate ourselves to celebrate those things which we do well.

The Project will overcome these weaknesses by bringing people together; using more effective publicity and local advertising, including the use of digital and social media; through attracting and training volunteers; through our newly employed children’s worker and meeting the need to engage positively with the Community.

Our project aims:

  • to carry out essential restoration work on the windows, stonework and the south porch in order to secure the building’s physical future and to enable us to continue our role in Measham in the future.
  • to carry out some internal modifications by installing a servery and welcome area to enhance the experience for users and visitors to the building.
  • to create level surfaces in the nave for wheelchair and buggy users and those with pushchairs and to create spaces at the front of the church to enable wheelchair users to fully enjoy the service or activity.
  • to offer a wide variety of activities and events to reach the many different audiences within the area.
  • to open up the architecture and heritage of the building, particularly as a way of introducing local history and local historical characters.
  • to continue as an important place of worship for our community.
  • to bring people together within the local Community, and to bring together specific interest groups. 

We will provide a welcome space:

  • to enable people to enjoy the splendour and heritage of the building.
  • for worship and religious services.
  • as an ideal venue and facility for a wide range of community activities and events.
  • to create heritage interpretation and learning activities for a wide range of audiences.

We will achieve our aims by:

  • restoring the fabric of the building
  • by obtaining the necessary funding.
  • by appointing a highly qualified and experienced architect.
  • by selecting proven contractors.
  • establishing Saint Laurence’s as a local visitor attraction
  • by welcoming visitors, both individuals and groups, and providing an enriching experience.
  • by creating and offering interesting and age-appropriate trails to highlight important features in the church for groups and individuals.
  • by working in partnership with Measham Museum to open up and explain the stories behind local families celebrated in the stained-glass windows and other plaques in the church.
  • by forging links with local Tourist Information Offices and other local heritage sites, and by developing our own website and using other available media.
  • by providing a welcome area and user friendly displays, guides and a Visbox facility.
  • opening up what this hidden gem has to offer, architecturally, aesthetically and spiritually, to a wider audience
  • by using the restoration stage to demonstrate the different conservation and restoration techniques through clear interpretation.
  • by encouraging and enabling enjoyment and understanding through high quality interpretation, including digital media, a smartphone-friendly website, appropriate activities, displays and exhibitions.

Our Challenges

  1. To  ensure that all visitors to St Laurence’s have the opportunity , through interpretation and  learning, to appreciate the building, its architecture, special features,  history and peaceful atmosphere.
  2. To achieve a balance between the heritage of the building and its presence as a sacred space.
  3. To reach those in our Community who are otherwise hard to reach – the lonely, the unemployed, those in poverty, those with mental health issues, single parent families and those with little or no ‘church’ experience.

Our Approach to Interpretation

To provide interpretation that draws out the human stories of St Laurence’s and its parish and to encourage different audiences to discover things for themselves and inspire them to learn more about their local story. We will provide interpretation that is engaging, interactive, memorable and enjoyable. The interpretation will be in two stages:

Stage One

A ‘launch’ event and Open Day will explain our plans to the Community through displays, presentations and individual and group explanatory tours. This will provoke interest and give a taste of what will follow as well as help to recruit more volunteers.

This first stage will deal with the restoration work. Participation will include: following the work of the craftsmen and women working on the project supported by exhibitions, displays and ‘hard hat’ tours. During this stage, volunteers will receive training appropriate to their own needs and the requirements of the activities to be provided. This stage will foreshadow what is to follow.

Stage Two

The second stage will see the installation of the permanent interpretation scheme which will be supported by trained volunteers and will be flexible to allow for future development. Participation will be through ongoing activities and educational tours for groups and individuals. Historical research will continue in order to build up the available library of knowledge. Subject to finance, there will be ongoing workshops showcasing the skills involved e.g. in glazing and stonework.

Layered Interpretation

The interpretation will be layered so that people can go deeper into the interpretation resources for additional detail, using archive material and other evidence based resources. The interpretation will meet the needs of a variety of audiences from opportunistic visitor to church architecture students. This interpretation will be accessible through digital media on and off site using the church website. Face to face interpretation will be an important part of the interpretation offer in the form of tours and presentations.

Digital Media

The interpretation scheme will make use of digital media to provide a range of layered information accessible through digital media, smart phones and tablets. This will allow a range of interpretation including self-led tours, archive research and in depth interpretation of the architecture and other heritage features with minimum intrusion in the work and worship of the church. Written guides will also be available for those who prefer more traditional media.

We want

Every visitor to St. Laurence’s to take with them the feeling of having learned something new and memorable, of having experienced something of the peaceful and restorative atmosphere that pervades this living church.

    

 

 

 

                                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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