St Stephens Church, Hampstead
Interior & Exterior Conservation
London Stone Conservation has worked closely with the St Stephen’s Restoration and Preservation Trust since 2010, carrying out conservation and repair works to both the interior and exterior of this Grade I listed Church.
Built by Samuel Sanders Teulon in 1869, the Church was described by John Ruskin as the “finest specimen of brick building in all the land.” St Stephens is early French Gothic in style and constructed of varied tones of purple and red brick with stone dressings, bands and sculpture. The magnificent vaulted interior is made up of polychrome banded brickwork with carved enrichment. The building contained many fine examples of Victorian craftsmanship, with sculpture and ornament by Thomas Earp, stained glass by Clayton & Bell and Heaton, Butler & Bayne and woodwork by Temple Moore. Sadly, much of the interior was vandalised during a period of dereliction.
The building was made redundant in 1977 and remained empty until 2002 when it was deconsecrated and given into the care of St Stephen’s Restoration and Preservation Trust. Following years of desertion, damage and occupation by squatters, the mission of the Trust was to restore and protect the fabric and grounds of St Stephen’s, and open its doors to the local community for educational, art and social purposes. The site now functions as a thriving nursery, primary school and community centre.
All projects are sequenced with the Trust and scheduled around the school and community activities, often working over holiday periods, evenings and weekends. The works have included the exterior cleaning of the west front, conservation cleaning of the Thomas Earp pediment sculpture on the north transept; consolidation of the exterior statuary, repair and regilding of the interior alabaster sgraffito roundels, and the restoration of the vandalised chancel carvings depicting the life and death of St Stephen. London Stone Conservation continues to work with the Trust with the aim of removing the Church from the Heritage at Risk Register.