Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 13:39 UK

London worship sites win grants

Sandys Row Synagogue
The roof and walls at Sandys Row Synagogue are in need of repair

Seven places of worship in London have been given grants totalling just over £1m for vital restoration work.

The money from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund will help pay for roof repairs at Sandys Row Synagogue, in Tower Hamlets, east London.

It will also help protect paintings at the St John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Haringey, north London.

Paddy Pugh, of English Heritage, said the grant would enable the buildings to remain a key part of the community.

Jack Gilbert, board member of the Sandys Row Synagogue, said: "Without the grant, the oldest Askenazi synagogue in London, and one of the oldest synagogue buildings in Britain, would be in danger of collapse.

"Now the Hugeunot roof and walls can look forward to their 250th anniversary in 2013 and beyond."

The seven places of worship
Sandys Row Synagogue, Tower Hamlets
St John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, Hornsey, Haringey
Downs Baptist Church, Hackney
Church of St Michael and All Angels, Hackney
St John's Church, Walham Green, Fulham
St Barnabas Church, Manor Park, Newham

Jon Boulter, architect from St John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, said: "We have beautiful wall paintings on every wall inside the church and they are at a substantial risk of damage from the water leaking in from our roofs.

"It would be such a shame to lose these amazing pictures forever and without the grant, the congregation would have had little hope of saving them and repairing our much loved building."

Mr Boulter said the church was thrilled and added the money would be spent repairing the roof and improving gutters.

Mr Pugh, English Heritage's London region director, said: "The grants enable the buildings to remain in active use at the heart of our communities.

"We are especially pleased that buildings used by such a broad range of religious groups are being awarded grants this year."

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