A restoration projected is underway to save a church from a faulty extension that is ‘literally pulling the building in two’.

St Peter-in-the-Forest, Walthamstow, has begun a £1.88 million restoration project thanks to a National Lottery grant.

The project will correct serious structural damage caused by the 1950s extension and restore the west end to its 1880’s look.

Subsistence of the extension, built in 1951, is “pulling the main building into two”, a spokesperson for the church said.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

An extension built in the 50s is causing structural damage.

A structural survey in 2018 concluded the building was at risk of having a “catastrophic failure”.

The project will include renovations to the rest of the building – first built in 1840.

Plans include a remodelled interior and improved accessibility; the bell tower will also be opened up.

There will also be some works externally to the graveyard, which will include new paths, lighting and boundary treatments.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

An artists impression of the renovated chrurch.

The vicar of the parish, Fr Paul Trathen, said: “This is tremendous, good news for our community, here in Walthamstow, and beyond. St Peter-in-the-Forest is a place quite like no other: a unique meeting of modern city and ancient forest, of beautiful architecture crafted by human creativity, surrounded by the natural creation of a loving God.

“Over the generations, many people have worshipped here, have made community here, have discovered a precious place and community here: with the assistance of this major, National Lottery grant, we can now help ensure that the coming years and decades will be ones in which a great variety of creative community enterprises are initiated and sustained, alongside the church’s primary role as a place for worship.”

Ros Kerslake, National Lottery’s heritage fund chief executive, said: “Whilst historically important buildings, what makes places of worship like St Peter-in-the-Forest so precious is their place in the heart of local communities. Surrounded by stunning forest, National Lottery funding will not only save this at-risk church but it will encourage more people to use and enjoy it!”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

A survey in 2018 found the church was at risk of "catastrophic failure".