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28th Jun, 2022

Friends of Bromsgrove's historic St John's Church beaming after grants see repair work completed

REPAIRS have been undertaken to a cracked nave beam in Bromsgrove’s historic St John’s Church, thanks to two grants.

The Rotary Club of Bromsgrove put £7,000 towards the repairs and a £4,950 award from Bromsgrove District Council’s Community Grant Scheme made the work possible.

The crack in the nave beam was noticed last spring when the church was able to open after being closed during the lockdown.

The church’s structural engineer Ian Ceney said urgent repairs were necessary to ensure the beam was secure and the crack did not get any worse.

In the months after that, plans were drawn up and work began to fix additional structural support with brackets added to the ancient beam.

Major restoration of the church roof was previously undertaken by Scott in 1858 when portions of rotten timber were cut out and patched in large sections, particularly towards the wall ends.

Most of the nave tie beams are therefore composite structures, with medieval central portions and Victorian end sections, held together with wrought iron straps and flitch plates. The crack had appeared at the site of one the joins between the timber sections.

Initially the current repair work was carried out from an access platform, but due to the solid nature of the old oak beam internal scaffolding was needed to ensure the safety of workers.

To secure the new support beams and brackets to the existing ancient beam, the 15inch thick old oak beam was drilled in several places and bolts were inserted to hold the new support beam and brackets together. The ancient oak beam is so solid many drill bits were broken whilst trying to drill holes.

Friends of St John’s Chairman Jo Slade said everyone was enormously grateful to the Rotary Club of Bromsgrove for their continued support and delighted to be awarded the Council’s Community Grant.

“It was important the work was carried out quickly and that the problem didn’t get any worse.

“With the age of the original oak beams, and the height at which work was carried out, this was always going to be a costly repair.”

The church has reopened now the beam was safe.

Rotary Club President Tony Docherty added: “We recognise the importance of St John’s Church to Bromsgrove as a heritage building and as a community asset and so we were delighted to be able to help with the financing of the nave beam project.”

The project was overseen by the Friends of St John’s which raises funds for maintenance and restoration projects at the ancient building.

People can email friends.stjohns.church@gmail.com or visit facebook.com/FriendsStJohnsBromsgrove to offer help or donate via PayPal.

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