Kevin Rogers has circulated this letter updating neighbours on progress at the church, as previously mentioned in "Breaking News".  The letter included details of a zoom talk to be given on Thursday 29th October and sure enough, this was delivered last night to a large and appreciative audience.

The Diocese have been approached to convert the crypt into an "Ossuary" or "Bone Library".  This will be a world-class facility for medical and historical research housing bone specimens from some 5000 skeletons!

Roger Bowdler from the Diocesan Advisory Committee gave us an entertaining and instructive talk about the history and present use of crypts in London churches.  The use of crypts for burials has gone in and out of fashion from medieval times up to 1854 when all city burials ceased.  Roger drew a distinction between the use of crypts for private burials as was the case at Holy Trinity versus "charnel vaults" containing thousands of bones and open to the public.  Only two of the latter still exist in the UK, one of which is the ossuary at St Leonards in Hythe, below.

Skulls - St Leonards Ossuary p1012857

St Martins Crypt
















Most of the 19th century London Commissioners Churches used crypts for burials.  St Martin's-in-the-Fields in 1915 was the first to convert to a secular use - in this case the popular cafe above.  Since then, many of these attractive spaces have been used in a variety of ways and Roger showed several examples.

Architects Bob Wilson and Joseph Edwards then presented their plans for Holy Trinity including an impressive 3D model.  There are 4 vaults and the existing 150 coffins will be tidied up and stored in the southernmost of these.  The other three will have shelving for specimens from elsewhere.  The existing entrance to the crypt at the south-west corner will now be an exit and there will be a new entrance created in the north-east corner where a number of other rooms and research facilities will be housed, as well as a lift.  The floor of the crypt will be lowered by about 30cm to remove traces of asbestos.  We were assured the crypt will have minimal impact on residents of the Square; very few researchers will be using it at any one time and there will be no noisy machinery.

Kevin and Rosie also updated us on progress with repairs to the rest of the church.  As we know, the south aisle is finished and work on the north aisle is well under way and should be complete by the end of January.  The really good news is that the turrets are being wrapped in a special stainless steel mesh supported by wooden battons.  This will support the turrets, prevent any bits of stone falling off, and most importantly will allow most of the ugly scaffolding on the West front to come down.  This is expected within a couple of weeks.  It is a "temporary" solution, likely to be in place for about 3 to 4 years, until funding for detailed restoration work is secured.

The Diocese also expect confirmation of funding to repair the internal ceiling of the nave.  This would start in March 2021 and last for about 4 months.  At that point, the whole of the internal space will be available for community use such as artists' studios and suchlike.  I suggested also painting the internal walls but there are no plans for this (yet!).

Kevin confirmed that the Diocese are adopting a more pragmatic, phased approach to the church restoration, with the emphasis in the short to medium term being on making the building stable, safe and sufficiently attractive to attract community use and generate a modest income.  The more ambitious long term vision presented at the St Andrews meeting two years ago, to remodel the interior and complete detailed restoration work, still stands, but will form part of a second phase.  Funding has not yet been obtained for this.  Talks with the YMCA have not progressed but the intention is still to find an "anchor tenant" and retain the fantastic uninterrupted central space promised by Ptolemy Dean at the meeting!