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Westminster Abbey and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Abbey remains open for worship and you are welcome to join us at our daily Eucharist service if you are able to travel here safely within current government guidelines.

However, for the time being we are unable to open the Abbey and St Margaret’s Church for general visiting.

The Speaker and Dean of Westminster view St Margaret’s restoration work

Tuesday, 29th September 2020

The Speaker and Dean of Westminster view St Margaret’s restoration work

The Speaker of the House of Commons, the Right Honourable Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, and the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle viewed restoration work on Monday 28th September at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster which has returned the church to its former glory.

Sir Lindsay and Dr Hoyle stood on the lower roof of St Margaret’s, affectionately known as the ‘parish church of the House of Commons’, to see the completed project which has seen the parts of the church under scaffolding since 2016.

The building work involved the painstaking removal of external stonework on the church’s tower to allow the rusting ironwork beneath to be replaced with stainless steel. The pieces of Portland stone, each measuring between 350mm - 500mm high (14 - 20 inches) and 900mm -1200mm long (3 – 4 feet), and weighing 100kg - 200kg, were then re-laid or replaced if damaged.

One of the trickier aspects of the project was the removal of a thick iron band, clad in lead, which formed a supportive ring around the tower. This had to be removed and replaced whilst the craftsmen replicated the tension it gave to the structure by strapping its outside.

An 18th-century clock which was removed from the tower in the 1970s has also been re-installed having been discovered in the early 2000s languishing in one of the Abbey’s yards. It has been lovingly restored and put back in its original location.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle said:

It is wonderful to see St Margaret’s Church finally emerging from underneath its scaffolding as we look forward to developing its distinctive and growing ministry within Parliament Square and beyond. It is a testament to the skilled craftsmanship of all those involved in the restoration that the church stands ready once again to play an active role in Parliament Square in these changed times.

The Speaker, The Right Honourable Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP said:

Parliamentarians have always held St Margaret’s in great affection as the place where we gather in good times and sad – so we share in the Dean’s delight at seeing its beauty restored.

St Margaret’s has a distinguished history, with a church having stood on the site since the 12th century. It is the burial place of Tudor explorer Sir Walter Raleigh, and Sir Winston Churchill, John Milton and Samuel Pepys are among the famous names to have married there. The church is regularly attended by MPs and peers, including for thanksgiving services celebrating the lives of parliamentarians.

The work to St Margaret’s was undertaken by specialist builders, Daedalus Conservation.

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