Projects assigned to the Friends of St Laurences by the PCC
Repairs and refurbishment of the organ
The organ at St Laurence’s was built in 1872 by Forster and Andrews of Hull and rebuilt in 1953 by Rushworth and Dreaper of Liverpool and further refurbished in 1990, a replacement would cost at least £750,000. Under the leadership of the Rector, Fr Neil Kelley, himself a graduate of the Royal College of Music, musical performances, both religious and secular, have become a key element in our ambition to build the role of St Laurence’s as a cultural and social centre engaging with a community audience beyond the immediate congregation. The organ plays an important role in traditional and modern Anglican liturgies and its modern derivatives and is an essential instrument for recitals and other forms of musical performance. The established series of Light Classics concerts by up-and-coming musicians from Lancashire and further afield has attracted regular audiences of 60/80 on Sunday afternoons. Repairing and upgrading the organ to the highest possible quality is essential if we are to build on these foundations.
The organ project has been divided into four phases to be spread over an eight year period, the total cost will exceed £100,000 at present day prices.
The first phase completed in October 2022 involved repairs to the roof of the organ chamber to prevent rain leaking through and permanently damaging the organ. The work carried out by Walker conservation Services cost £35,000 excluding Vat which was recovered under the Listed Places of Worship scheme. We were greatly assisted by grants from the National Churches Trust and the Wolfson Foundation and from Chorley Borough Council; details of these grants and other corporate donations are displayed on our Home Page. The second phase involves repairing the bellows and the swell organ, these were last overhauled in 1953 and are in imminent danger of collapse. We have sufficient resources to cover the work on the bellows costing £30,000 which will start in June 2023. We need to raise a further £10,000 to cover the cost of the swell organ and have submitted an application for a grant to the Pilgrims Trust which will be determined in July.
Repairs to the windows in the tower belfry
The two outer lancets are bowed and leaking so that rainwater is seeping through to the stained glass causing it to fade. Estimated cost of repairs is £10,820 to be followed by restoration of the damaged glass.
St Laurence’s Church is situated in the centre of Chorley. It is believed that there has been a Church on that site since Anglo Saxon times. St Laurence’s is a unique link with the past providing a vital sense of continuity and local identity.