Prior to Covid, St Cuthbert’s was being actively used but was suffering from growing water ingress. After the first lockdown, the building deteriorated rapidly, part of the ceiling fell in and the sanctuary was assessed to be unsafe. The congregation have moved to the sister church major structural repairs are now needed.
St Cuthbert’s was opened in 1891, and contains rare early-mid C20 works of art of exceptional quality, which are in danger of ruin without the major repairs being undertaken.
The church has significant historic interest derived from its association with Monsignor O’Connor, the parish priest 1919-1952. Mgr O’Connor was the inspiration for GK Chesterton’s Father Brown, a series of books, and later film and TV adaptations, featuring the fictional Roman Catholic priest and amateur detective, who solves crime and mysteries using his intuition and keen understanding of human nature.
Fr Gregory from St Cuthbert’s said: “We scarcely used the premises for most of lockdown and managed just a few Masses before we had to vacate the building. Without the generosity such as that of YHCT we wouldn’t be able even to contemplate undertaking the necessary repairs. We are delighted to have this support and look forward to be able to open up parishioners’ once again once the works are complete”.