UK "journalists' church" seeks financial suitor

Tue Jan 3, 2012 3:51pm EST
 
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By Avril Ormsby

LONDON (Reuters) - The distinct layered spire of London's St Bride's Church, spiritual home to Britain's media and some of the leading Pilgrim Fathers, is showing its age after chunks of stone fell away from the 300-year-old structure.

St Bride's 226-foot high spire, the tallest of any Christopher Wren church and feted with having inspired the idea of multi-tiered wedding cakes, will need 2.5 million pounds ($4 million)of repairs.

"This is of one of Wren's most prominent buildings, and it is preserving his legacy as well as the stone of St Bride's that we are looking to do," James Irving, the church's director of finance, told Reuters.

Finished in 1703, some seven years before Wren's nearby masterpiece St Paul's Cathedral, the spire survived the German Luftwaffe in World War Two despite a fire-bomb which pierced the roof and set the church's interior alight.

But erosion from the weather and pollution have taken their toll as has vibration thought to have been caused by construction on the ever-changing city skyline.

Church officials are looking to the private sector for help, including donations from the media world, after failing to secure funding from heritage groups.

The church has been associated with the country's newspaper industry ever since the first printing press was set-up in its precinct in 1500, and continued after the nation's leading newspapers congregated a stone's throw away in Fleet Street.

Despite newspapers now having moved away, journalists still use the "cathedral of Fleet Street" for memorial services, Christmas carol concerts and weddings.   Continued...