‘Let there be light’ –Bradford church’s hidden treasures to be revealed thanks to lighting scheme grant.

Interior St ClementHidden treasures in an inner-city Bradford church are to be brought to light, thanks to a £152,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

St Clement’s church on Barkerend Road, Bradford, already receives hundreds of visitors each year who come to see paintings and designs by famous nineteenth century Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones and the arts and crafts designer, William Morris.

But for many years the unique paintings and designs along with a mosaic by Slaviate and stained glass by Charles Kempe have remained in the gloom without any lighting because of electrical fears.

The HLF grant will bring the paintings and designs to lightas well as paying for major work to the arts and crafts building including repairs to roofs, gutters, windows and the west doors.

The inner city church dates from 1892, and the woman who paid for it, Sarah Whittuck, was able to enlist the help of some of the greatest artists of the period. What on the outside is a quiet building is inside full of top quality art from this period.  The chancel ceiling (pictured left) is by William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones (reputedly one of only three in England, another is Jesus College Cambridge).  There are Burne-Jones guesso angels all down the nave.  Morris designed the pulpit with its portrait of St Clement.  Beside the altar are giant oil paintings one of the visit of the Magi and one of the Crucifixion by W M Palin.  The reredos is a mosaic by Salviate of Venice.  And the stained glass windows in the sanctuary are by Charles Eadmer Kempe.  Salviate who designed the mosaic has examples of his work in Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral while Charles Kempe also created a window in York Minster.  

Priest in Charge, the Revd Dale Barton welcomed news of the grant. “The church received 500 visitors last year who came to look at it.  Many of these visitors were children.  The church will improve its web presence and will be working with local children to write a visitor guide.

“The congregation at St Clement’s has been growing in numbers and youthfulness for over two years now.  Much of this has come from welcoming and incorporating followers of Jesus Christ who find themselves as asylum seekers or refugees in Bradford.”

In any month this building is used by up to ten different local groups.   “The church deserves to be famous for its building and its annual BD3 Garden Festival” said Dale.  “We are grateful to Heritage Lottery Fund for their help in preserving this wonderful building for use in one of the most deprived neighbourhoods of the UK.”

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