Financial woe threatens future of St Stephen's
PUBLISHED: 11:22 12 November 2009 | UPDATED: 16:32 07 September 2010
AN UNPAID overdraft of £75,000 will derail the restoration of one of Hampstead s grandest churches by the end of the year unless a donor comes forward. The team behind the restoration of St Stephen s Church in Rosslyn Hill is teetering on the brink of ban
AN UNPAID overdraft of £75,000 will derail the restoration of one of Hampstead's grandest churches by the end of the year unless a donor comes forward.
The team behind the restoration of St Stephen's Church in Rosslyn Hill is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and unless someone comes up with the cash before it is due in January the project will hit the buffers.
Actors including Dame Judi Dench and Helena Bonham Carter were among the first to pledge their support to St Stephen's Restoration and Preservation Trust who took on the project after squatters vandalised the former church building.
It has so far received more than £4.5million in charitable donations and grants to restore it and turn it into a community venue but in the last year both celebrity and financial support have been in short supply.
Trust director Michael Taylor said: "We have no way of recouping that money.
"Lloyds Bank has been very cooperative so far but they are under pressure themselves and that's why we are under pressure."
Excess costs arose during the latest stage of the restoration because of unforeseen problems like the dilapidated state of the aisle roofs, which cost £50,000 to repair.
"The repercussions of not clearing our debt would be that the trust would go bankrupt and this venture might come to an end," said Mr Taylor.
While there has been a swell of support from the area surrounding the church, it has not been enough to scrape the surface of the remaining £75,000 debt and he is calling on residents to the north of Hampstead Tube station to dip into their coffers.
He said: "They are all millionaires up there. This church was a nest of drug addicts and has been transformed into an absolutely fantastic venue."
The iconic Grade I-listed French Gothic style church is one of the last surviving works of the Victorian architect Samuel Sanders Teulon and was built between 1869 and 1873.