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Thread: St Peter and St Paul’s church – Birch Essex – August 2015

  1. #1
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    Default St Peter and St Paul’s church – Birch Essex – August 2015



    The history


    There is very little history regarding this place on the net so here is what I could find

    The 170 year old Grade II-listed St Peter and St Paul’s church in Birch, near Colchester, which closed in 1990, it has stood empty for almost 25 years and has fallen into disrepair.

    The Diocsese of Chelmsford, which looks after the Church of England’s affairs in Essex, says it has been unable to find a suitable alternative use for the historic building in that time.
    Regrettably, despite having found a willing buyer for the church who is prepared to spend Ł1,200,000 restoring this iconic landmark, the Church Commissioners in consultation with the Diocese of Chelmsford, have decided to proceed with their plans to demolish.
    In our opinion, this is unnecessary destruction of local heritage. The resultant harm will not only be in the loss of this Grade II listed building but also the detrimental impact of the loss on the Birch Conservation Area and the surrounding landscape.


    The explore

    I first became made aware of the church many months ago by another exploring companion who had spotted it but been told to go away by a local lady. Well on our way to somewhere else I suddenly remembered this and we ended up taking a detour. Especially as its always good to do something new rather than a re-explore.

    It was still daylight as we got there and began to explore the external of the building to find a way in. The place is surrounded by a corrugated steel fence supported by scaffolding poles. Although it was easy to climb over the gap between the fence and the church was full of stingers and sharp thorn bushes with no real way through and into the church.



    We then changed tactics and tried another way. This was more than successful and albeit a little sketchy and dangerous, we managed to crawl in lol

    Wow, our first church. It was a little worse for wear inside with scaffolding holding up the roof and various rotten holes in the floor, You can tell by how rotten it is inside why the powers that be want it pulled down. However, as rotten as it is its still beautiful inside and worth and explore. We climbed the various bits of scaffolding and had a general wander round inside. We found a few prayer books, hymn books and song sheets scattered around. It’s a shame that the benches and alter have been taken apart but I’m sure they will be used elsewhere.

    The windows that hadn’t been broken where still amazing and I’m sure you will agree that it will be a crying shame to tear it down

    Enjoy the pictures



























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    Thanks given by: dauntless - UE, flyboys90, Hugh Jorgan, Infraredd, Ipcre55, krela, Mearing, prettyvacant71, Rubex, Sludden, smiler, The Wombat, thorfrun, tony willett, UrbanX, zanderoy

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  3. #2
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    Churches with cemeteries attached are notoriously difficult to sell, even when it's demolished it won't be much easier, Nicely Done, Thanks
    Smiler
    😁

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  4. #3
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    Sadly; restoring redundant churches and then finding alternate uses can mean a constant drain on cash and endless tears and frustration. Over the years I have come across a number of very picturesque ruins where one can wander around the remains and grounds. When enquiring about the history, one inevitably finds that an abandoned building has been beautified and turned into a safe ruin that compliments the landscape. Knowing this church, I concur with the author of the report that total demolition would be detrimental to the landscape. However, turning the structure into a roofless and windowless ruin and gently landscaping the graveyard would provide a stunning feature and landscape for the local people to enjoy. We all marvel at the majesty of the ruined Abbeys, why not create something a little special here instead of complete demolition or profit?

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    Thanks given by: smiler, The Wombat

  5. #4
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    Your right the windows are quite something! I dread to think what will happen to them! Great shots and thanks for sharing

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  6. #5
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    Nice write up and a fantastic set of photos.
    Glad you persisted with it, thanks for sharing :)
    www.urbanXphotography.co.uk - New report added every 5 days
    "We're not giving you a quote for your stupid forum signature"
    - Essex Police

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    Thanks given by: mockney reject

  7. #6
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    We went there today to see if its still there and plan to go back soon as it was dusk so the light was terrible and was getting wet. I hear it is down to be demolished at the end of January, such a shame.

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  8. #7
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    That is sad, just come across this on Geograph so it was still up in September St.Peter's & St.Paul's Church, Birch (C) Adrian Cable :: Geograph Britain and Ireland
    May the shadow of Murphy never darken your door."
    Flickr

    Forgotten Fairmile
    Spuds Rural Explorations
    The Church explorer

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  9. #8
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    a good record of whats not goin to be there any longer, thats a real shame.
    ...

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  10. #9
    ironsky Guest

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    I find it concerning that an grade two building can easily be granted demolition this has happened at Sheffield with the old Jessops Hospital when the University was allowed permission to demolish despite much local oppersition. Churches can be reused IV seen it done elsewhere. Nice report.

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  11. #10
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    Thanks for this. I was brought up in the house next to this church, I was married there and my Dad is buried inside the corrugated barriers so we can't even visit his grave. I now live in Cornwall and although i have been back i cant get in the church. It's great to see the inside again however bleak - in fact really atmospheric. The windows I remember so well and the Psalm notice as well. Thanks again Nigel Logan

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