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Gloucestershire Business News

Video: Punchline’s guided tour of church’s multimillion pound restoration

Punchline editor Mark Owen takes a peek at the £2.1 million church and schoolroom

St Mary de Crypt Church and the old Crypt Schoolroom on Southgate Street has opened its doors after 18 months of restorations, and £2.1m worth of funding.

The majority of the funding came from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the rest was from other trusts and individuals who wanted to see the building flourish again.

Builders were on site for 14 months restoring the church and making the schoolroom habitable for use.

The pews have been removed and the church has been opened up for community use. Already there has been a big dinner, a huge service and it will be the likely venue for toddler groups and community groups coming in and using the well-lit and heated space.

The restoration included the installation of new lights, heating, toilets and a lift so it is accessible to everybody.

Revd Canon Nikki Arthy said: "It's been a real labour of love.

"It has been sad and dilapidated and it's been given new life".

The building is steeped in history and associated with many renowned figures such as Robert Raikes, pioneer of the international Sunday school movement and editor of Gloucester Journal, who is buried in the Raikes chapel and was educated in the old school.

Joan Cook set up the Old Crypt Schoolroom back in the 16th century and it was the first free school in Gloucester. Literary figures such as Long John Silver and Ebenezer Scrooge are also associated with the building.

Future restorations could potentially see items like the medieval wall painting, depicting the three kings visiting the baby Jesus, repaired and refreshed.

But right now the community is enjoying the space and appreciating the new life that's been injected into this historical building, and into Gloucester city.

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