Roots Down, Branches Out

Highbury Heritage showcases the history of Highbury through a touchscreen in the church, open free of charge to the general public. The six themes feature Highbury people and plaques, Highbury streets, leisure and entertainment in Highbury, war and remembrance, education and schools and the architectural heritage of Christ Church, St John’s and St Saviour’s.

The spire and heritage project was launched in 2015 with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to repair the crumbling spire. Conditions of the grant committed Christ Church to enable more people, and a wider range of people, to engage with heritage.

With much enthusiasm and volunteer involvement from individuals and organisations in the local community, we created over 40 new videos, 20 narrated stories illustrated by images old and new, 60 illustrated soundbites on local streets and people’s plaques, and 12 oral histories, providing over three hours of viewing. Grateful thanks are due to all involved for their invaluable commitment and support for our community engagement project.

The Heritage Lottery Fund gave us a grant of £206,000, Cloudesley contributed £26,975 and we received VAT refunds through the Listed Places of Worship scheme. Donations from the congregation and the local community totalled over £33,000, including over £13,000 from more than 100 donations to Sponsor a Stone. Volunteer input totalled over 350 days which, together with other non-cash contributions, was valued by HLF at £80,000 – an essential contribution from the church in lieu of cash. More than 100 volunteers were involved, many being trained in a new skill.

Our illustrated Evaluation Report, submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund at the conclusion of the project, summarises achievements and lessons learned.

Highbury Heritage opening times are displayed on the notice board outside the church