New Website – 170th Anniversary

17th april 2020 marks 170 years since Wycliffe first opened. To mark this occasion we have launched our new website, funded as part of our National Lottery Heritage Fund project.

Come and visit – there is plenty of newly researched history, and the first two visitors to enter the offer code 170yrs will receive a free book!

wycliffechurch1850.org.uk

New history booklet out now!

The booklet is available to buy from Stockport Heritage Trust’s website: https://stockportheritagetrust.co.uk/shop/a-castle-in-the-air-the-history-of-wycliffe-congregational-church/ and will be in the Heritage Centre later this week. It will also be available on our forthcoming new website in a few weeks time.

It traces the history from the chapel’s origins, through alterations and bomb damage in the Second World War, and looks at some of the key character’s in her history. All for £2.50 + postage!

Works update

There have been some unexpected delys – first due to bad weather, and now awaiting stone from the quarry. The stone has to be the correct type and quarried especially for this job. As such, we are waiting for word from the quarry before work can continue on that bit. In the meantime, the internal clean up has started, and the new area is looking fabulous!

Thanks to a grant from the Stockport Local Fund, we now have folding chairs and tables and a hearing loop system will be installed late December/early January.

So we are now looking a new finish time of late December/early January. Thank you for bearing with us!

Stained Glass Window restored

The scaffolding is down and the window has been revealed in all her colourful glory! Lightfoots have done a fabulous job for our National Lottery Heritage funded project of restoration. Polycarbonate has been installed over the front to prevent criminal damage, but this does not detract from the fabulous light and reflections thrown inside.

There is still quite a bit of work to do, but our fabulous contractors Maysand Ltd are on schedule for completion within the next few weeks.

Garden tidy before opening day!

Poster for work day on 9th November 2019 from 10am - litter pick and garden tidy, refreshments provided

Yes, another garden tidy event! With the place being a building site we’ve had no chance to maintain the good works from previous events, so will have a go making the grounds look presentable for our opening events (details still be confirmed so watch this space!). All help much needed and appreciated – Saturday morning 9th November 10am – 1pm or whatever you can do -even half an hour will help.

Light refreshments will be provided, and it’s not all energetic/manual work – litter picking or helping with refreshments also needed. Thank you!

Update

Our brilliant contractors Maysand are in the final stages of works now, decorating the new community room, finishing off the steps and area around the accessible entrance, whilst waiting for the lift to arrive. Lightfoots have done an amazing job on the East window which is just visible behind the scaffolding. Polycarbonate is being installed for protection before the scaffolding comes down and it is visible in all it’s glory – especially on a sunny day!

Mailing List

To join our mailing list, please contact us through the website. We are also on twitter: @church_wycliffe

Heritage Fund logo with crossed fingers
Garfield Weston Foundation logo
Allchurches Trust Limited with purple round logo

Heritage Open Days Success

Visitors in yellow hi-viz look at samples of restored stained glass
Visitors inspect newly restored leaded stained glass

Both tours were fully booked and everyone was fascinated to see inside and ask questions. The tour began with an illustrated talk about the history of the church, including new information from research conducted as part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund project. This information will shortly be available as a booklet and free exhibition when we re-open.

Samples of the newly restored glass destined to be replaced in the large East window had arrived just the day before, so we were able to inspect the beautiful restoration work closely (see below and top image).

Visitors in hard hats stand amongst scaffolding listening to a speaker
Visitors saw the new room under construction and could the contractors questions

The new community room was also available for viewing, with Peter and Keith from Maysand on hand to answer questions and describe their work.

Two black and white photographs from the 1955 wedding
The bide and her father, and two bridesmaids in 1955

We were honoured to have a Mrs Harris join us, who was married in Wycliffe in 1955. She was thrilled to visit the church again, and movingly re-created her walk down the aisle with her son.

Mum and son walking down aisle arm in arm
Mrs Harris, married here in 1955, relived her ‘aisle’ moment with her son.

Thanks to all who helped make it a fabulous day, including Simon Smith for the photography.

We will be re-opening in November, and will post dates/times as soon as they are finalised.

Heritage Open Days Tours now fully booked!

Both tours are now booked up, but don’t worry if you’ve missed out – we will be re-opening around the mid-end of November with an afternoon service, welcome event and 1850 inspired ‘Bazaar’. We’ll keep you posted when we have some confirmed dates.

We will also be having a couple of ‘clear-up’ events for inside and out, before re-opening, so if you can spare a short time to lend a hand and get involved you’d be more than welcome!

Thanks for all your interest and support, and hope to see you soon.

Community room taking shape

Work is progressing well and as planned. The partition for the new room is now in place, and has been plastered, giving a better sense of what the completed project will look like.

Scaffolding in front of a plastered wall with a view of the east window tracery in the middle
Partition wall in place with large aperture to display the stained glass window and let light in.

The new wall has a large aperture which will let in light, and also allow the newly restored stained glass window to to be admired from within the the nave.

Restoration of the stone tracery on the East window is also nearing completion, in readiness for the stained glass to be returned soon.

Close up of the stone tracery viewed through the scaffolding. The stonework is now restored and awaiting the return of the glass
Restored stone tracery in the east window

The lift platform has also now been installed, which will provide level access for visitors.

Heaton Norris Park Fun Day

Four volunteers smile in front of a gazebo with a Wycliffe Church sign on.
Volunteers with the stall in Heaton Norris Park

A great day was enjoyed at the well organised event in August, giving us the chance to tell local people about the ongoing work, proposed opening events in November (dates to be confirmed), and raise some much needed funds. Volunteers dressed in 1850 style costume represented the founder and his wife, Rev John and Catherine Thornton, and were able to talk about the history of the building to those interested.

Research

With trips to archives now complete, there are some last bits of information gathering before work starts on the booklet. Visitors to the Heritage Open Days tour will also get a preview of the latest information and discoveries.

An intersting find this month – whilst checking on the church’s plans for V.E. Day in 1945, it was discovered that celebrations were dampened by a communication from Stockport Borough Council, which informed the deacons that the Church site would be needed for their redevelopment plans. This included demolishing the building to make way for a new roundabout or road. After having survived a nearby bomb explosion in 1940, it must have particularly upsetting to think that their own council may now ‘finish the job’! Needless to say, the plans thankfully remained in the planning phase only.

Heritage Open Days

There are just a few places left now on the 11am tour on Wednesday 18th September. Tickets are free from https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wycliffe-church-heritage-open-days-tour-tickets-64604344333

Virgin pendolino train crossing George's Road bridge to the viaduct
View from one of Wycliffe’s windows – a Virgin train is about to cross the viaduct

Mailing List

To join our mailing list, please contact us through the website. We are also on twitter: @church_wycliffe

Heritage Fund logo with crossed fingers
Garfield Weston Foundation logo
Allchurches Trust Limited with purple round logo

Free Heritage Open Days exclusive tour and history talk – limited tickets available!

Our free Heritage Open Days event has now been registered. We are running two tours for 10 people on Wednesday 18th September at 11am and 1pm. The event starts with your site safety briefing and will be followed by a 10 minute history talk from recently discovered information, then a short tour around the restoration works by contractors Maysand. Sensible footwear/clothing required – it’s a building site! There are steps and uneven floor surfaces. Tours at 11am and 1pm on Wednesday 18th September, lasting around 30-45 mins. Limited spaces available, entrance by ticket only available from the following Eventbrite links:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wycliffe-church-heritage-open-days-tour-tickets-64604344333  for 11am tour

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wycliffe-church-heritage-open-days-tour-tickets-64606569990 for 1pm tour

Places are strictly limited, and it is a building site so suitable flat footwear to be worn. There are also steps and uneven floor surfaces. Full site safety briefing to be given.

Work will be complete around the beginning of November when we will hold re-opening events, so if you miss out on tickets, you can still come and join us for the re-opening !

Heaton Norris Park Fun Day

We will be having a stall at the Heaton Norris Park Fun Day on August 17th 12-4pm. Come along and say hello or lend a hand! Donation of any items we could sell on the stall to raise funds would also be very welcome.

Thank you for your interest – hope to see you on August 17th or September 18th!

Progress update and a discovery!

The new Heritage Fund sign is up on the scaffolding, featuring their new logo since rebranding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

A site meeting yesterday provided a good update and chance to see how things are progressing. Measurements are being taken on the East window for the glass company, Lightfoots. Some problems with roof timbers have been discovered, which are repairable but have delayed the completion date by a week – now the start of November.

Work on the front steps is well under way, along with preparations for the accessible lift which will be installed at the side of the steps. A crane was needed to lift the heavy stone steps out of situ, which, after mistakenly arriving at Christ Church, quickly found Wycliffe, and then caused much consternation to motorists as another lane on the A6 had to be closed to carry out the work – at least this was at 5am to minimise disruption!

Original stone step – this will restored and replaced

During the site visit yesterday, we were delighted to spot original wall paint/wallpaper which will be investigated further. Inspection was from a distance though as the paint likely contains arsenic! The picture on the right shows the location of the pattern within what was a stonework design on the wall – you can just make out the lines etched into the plaster.

Leaded glass found blocking a drain!

Another discovery came from the folks at Maysand who were clearing a blocked drain, only to find the culprit of the blockage was this piece of leaded coloured glass! It will be cleaned up, and we’ll try to identify which window it came from.

Update to research

Work at Stockport Library is now complete, and being compiled. It ended with the discovery of a fabulous long article in the ‘Stockport Mercury’ newspaper detailing the opening in 1850.

Next on the list is a trip to Lancashire Archives in Preston, which has two references to material on Wycliff (without the ‘e’) from 1851-2. This is all on microfilm and may take all day or a hour to go through! Hopefully there will be something useful and previously  unknown.

Heaton Norris Fun Day

We will be having a stall at the Heaton Norris Recreation Park Fun Day on August 17th 12-4pm. Come along and say hello or lend a hand! Help would be appreciated on the day to put up/take down a gazebo, and provide short comfort breaks for the stall volunteers, if you could spare an hour or so please. Donation of any items we could sell on the stall to raise funds would also be very welcome.

Text name and purple round logo