Saving The (Empty) Hawksmoor Churches

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A really fantastic story from The Times yesterday: “The Great Hawksmoor Rescue Project” all about, well, the title kind of explains it all, but we’ll give the quick rundown. It concerns the shift in England from tearing everything “old” down and replacing it with things more modern, to now being very insistent that they maintain their connection to history by leaving these older buildings up. But the big connundrum, in this case the focus is on churches built in the 18th century by Nicholas Hawksmoor, is how, and why, to keep these houses of worship alive when religion is dwindling in the UK and more pews are left vacant each Sunday. Here’s some:

Today, all that has been turned round. Three years ago, St Luke’s was imaginatively brought back into use as a rehearsal and performance space for the London Symphony Orchestra, based at the nearby Barbican. Christ Church Spitalfields finally secured the funding it needed to accelerate its complex restoration, and reopened in splendid shape in 2004 — as a church, as well as a classical-music venue, hub of the Spitalfields Festival. Its Bloomsbury cousin is now being rapidly restored, thanks to an initiative by the World Monuments Fund.