High Time was the name of the project of repair, restoration and improvement launched at Holy Trinity church on Sunday 23rd May 2014.
The project included these works in the tower:
- Urgent structural repairs to restore stability
- Replacement of decayed timbers
- Provision of safe access
- Restoration of the tower clock
- Restoration of the two church bells
- Prevention of rainwater ingress and improved drainage
In addition, the High Time project encompassed improvements to the interior of Holy Trinity. The aim of these was to make the church more flexible and convenient for use by both parish and community groups, as well as being more welcoming to visitors. These interior improvements included:
- Installation of a kitchenette for preparing refreshments
- Opening up of the space to make it more suitable for large-scale events
- An improved play area for small children
- New lighting at the west end of the church
- Interior glass doors
- Information and interpretation displays
Summary Of Major Works
- Urgent structural repairs to tower masonry and brickwork
- Re-capping of tower, and improvement of rainwater dispersal
- Improvement to internal access ways and flooring
- Restoration of tower clock and four dials
- Refurbishment and re–hanging of two bells
The items listed below were aimed at creating a better community environment.
- Improvements to west end interior of church:
- Catering facility (including café style facilities)
- Children’s play area
- Interior glass doors
- Visitor welcoming
- Provision of larger space for community activities
- Heritage interpretation displays
Holy Trinity is a Grade II* listed building which dates from 1835. It is a prominent feature of Fareham, being one of the few historically important buildings in the town’s main commercial thoroughfare, West Street.
The corrosion of metal ties caused a large horizontal crack in the brickwork, compromising the stability of the tower. There were also problems with much of the timberwork inside the tower, and water ingress in the roof where the spire was capped off in 1992. These problems were so serious that Holy Trinity church was placed on the national Heritage at Risk register.
While the repairs to the tower were being undertaken, the early Victorian clock was overhauled and restored, and the two bells rehung. As Fareham’s War Memorial borders the grounds of the church, Holy Trinity clock has always played an important role in the annual Civic Act of Remembrance, when the clock striking eleven begins the two-minute silence. The people of Fareham very much wanted to see it in working order again.
The completion of the repairs to the tower made it sound and watertight, with provision for drainage, and safe access to the roof by a new stair. The clock is now wound and controlled electrically, having previously been wound every week by hand! A new flagpole was erected once the tower was completed, so that once again the flag of the Church of England can be flown on major festivals, or the Union Flag for national occasions.
The total cost of the High Time project was approximately £450,000. Most of this related to the repairs, but a small part of the budget was set aside for works to improve facilities for welcoming visitors, hosting events and providing hospitality. They included an engraved glass internal door to the north porch, a kitchenette for serving refreshments within the church, a safe play area for young children, and facilities for displays and exhibitions.
The works commenced in April 2015, and were completed early in 2016 – on time, and within budget!
The decision was then taken to continue fundraising in order to extend the interior refurbishment. These additional works included oak storage cupboards matching the new furniture which had been installed along the west wall, and a second glass door (to the south porch). The door on the north side has the motif of three interconnected hares – an ancient symbol of the Holy Trinity, which is also found in the centre of the carved screen in the chancel. The new glass door on the south side has the motif of three intertwined fishes, also an ancient Christian symbol. Both doors were created by the glass artist Melanie Dawn Howse, who also produced new oak doors for the west end of the church, with a design of oak leaves engraved on the glass panels.
The High Time project was only possible through the generosity of many people, in Fareham and nationwide, through grants from a number of bodies (particularly the Heritage Lottery Fund and Fareham Borough Council), and donations from a wide range of institutions, businesses and individuals. It was a wonderful opportunity to reach out to the local community in order to preserve a building which has been at the heart of Fareham since 1835, and which continues to have an important role to play in civic, family and community life.
For over 180 years, Holy Trinity has played an important role in the life of the local community. Today it remains at the heart of Fareham, with over thirty organizations, social, charitable and cultural, catering for people of all ages, using the premises on a regular basis.
Visitors are welcomed in the church every day of the week, to learn more about Fareham’s heritage, to find a listening ear, or simply to enjoy an opportunity for rest or quiet reflection.
Many weddings, baptisms and funerals take place here, as well as carol services or commemorations for schools and other local organizations.
The church is regularly used as a venue by a wide range of choirs, bands, orchestras and other musicians, and occasionally hosts art exhibitions.
Holy Trinity church is a special place for everyone …