Christ Church Renovation Update (View PDF Version with pictures at the bottom of this page)
Christ Church, Coatham
Renovation Update – 6th October 2020.
Christ Church, Coatham is a very special building for many people. It was built because of the generosity of Teresa Newcomen, so that the people of Coatham had their own Church to worship in rather than having to walk to St. Cuthbert’s at Kirkleatham. When it was built in 1854 it was known as the Church in the fields, because as yet Coatham and Redcar were still small villages. In the following 166 years it has been a place of Christian prayer, worship and service, a welcoming presence on the skyline especially for seafarers and a place where families can celebrate and grieve the major events in their own histories.
I recently saw an entry from a vestry meeting held in 1891, where it was known that there was major weathering of the stonework of the tower and spire, and that remedial/renovation work would be required. Numerous works have been done on the building since that date through the generosity and care of local people. However, being situated on the coast and being in the midst of a very industrial area the stonework became more damaged and in a precarious state. In 2018 Christ Church, Coatham was deemed to be a building ‘at risk’ by Historic England.
Thankfully, we were successful in our application to the Heritage Fund and were awarded money to begin the renovation of the tower and spire. We as a Church could not have afforded to do the amount of work required and so we are very thankful to the Heritage Fund, their generosity, guidance, and support.
In March of this year we saw the scaffolding being erected, it encompassed the tower and spire and was quite something to behold.
It was hoped that work would be completed by August of this year, but then the world was gripped by the Coronavirus Pandemic and this has delayed the completion of the work because of delays to obtaining the stone required, and other restrictions required because of the new Coronavirus Regulations. The new date for completion is December 2020 and I would like to thank Historic Property Renovation Ltd. for their work and care of the Church.
Today, 6th October, I had the joy of having a guided inspection of the work, climbing up as far as the bottom of the Spire. Work on the Spire has now been completed, with the weather vane cleaned and repainted and a number of stones in the Spire have been replaced, it was quite a thing to look up into the internal space of the Spire.
Work is now ongoing to the quoins on the tower and many stones are needing to be replaced.
The next work that is being done is the replacement of the tracery windows around the bell chamber, these have worn so badly that the carvings on them can no longer be identified as to what they depicted.
I discovered today that the stone can now be cut by computer, ready to be installed by the stonemasons.
One tracery window has been restored on the east side of the tower.
Work is also being done to the Clock, the dial has been taken away for renovation, repainting and gilding before being reinstalled.
It has been wonderful to see how the work has progressed, and to know that all involved have contributed to maintaining an important landmark for the people of Redcar and a place where all are welcome.
Yours in Christ
(Revd. Rebecca Haughty – Vicar of Coatham & Dormanstown)