AFTER being closed for almost a year to allow a major re-ordering project to take place, St Helen’s on the High Street was formally re-opened the Rt Rev Dr John Inge, Bishop of Worcester.
The works, made possible thanks to funding from the Church Commissioners of the Church of England, have restored the church back to its intended layout giving an accessible and multifunctional space in the very centre of the city.
Works carried out by Splitlath Building Conservation include a new purpose built toilet extension and new single-level sandstone stone floor with underfloor heating laid throughout.
A new ramp from the south porch further improves accessibility and the kitchen facilities have been relocated to a smart servery in the space beneath the tower.
The Vicar of All Saints Worcester, Rev Dr Rich Johnson said that “We are delighted to have been able to contribute to the legacy of the oldest church in Worcester in making the building fit for purpose for church and community in the present day and look forward to seeing all that will happen in and through the space in the future”.
Situated at the top of the High Street on the corner of Fish Street, St Helen’s is a Grade II* listed building.
Believed to be the oldest Christian site in Worcester, and the mother church of Worcester since Saxon times, Christians have worshipped at the site for around 1300 years, although the oldest parts of the current building date back to around 1288AD.
Architecturally, St Helen’s has seen many changes and additions over the centuries but remains a fine example of how city churches would have looked in the Middle Ages. These works represent the first significant interior changes since the nineteenth century Aston Webb refurbishment.
St Helen’s is also well used as a civic and community venue having previously hosted Three Choirs events, heritage days, lectures and conferences.