Restoration of St Osburg's


MAKING A BEQUEST Over the years our fund raising efforts towards the restoration of the church have been boosted by the occasional bequest, which enabled us to be given permission by the diocese to begin the project, and take on a huge bank overdraft. If you are in a position to be able to make a bequest, please remember St Osburg’s. The bequest should be to ‘The Parish of St Osburg’. Our long term aim should be to endow the parish so that there will be an annual income to spend on regular maintenance, to enable this lovely church to inspire future generations.
APPEAL FOR DONATIONS TO THE RESTORATION   If you have in mind to make a donation to help the restoration fund, it would be very helpful if you could make it now.  We  have not yet received all the bills and are fast approaching the limit of our overdraft facility.  We are currently £419,000 overdrawn at the bank
Solemn Reopening & Consecration of the New Altar His Grace, Archbishop Bernard, will celebrate the Solemn Reopening of St Osburg's Church and Consecrate the new altar, at 7pm Mass on the Feast of St Osburg, Friday 9th September. We have worked so hard for this day and long looked forward to it.
Week 66 28 August.
CHURCH OPEN   What a joy it was to return The Blessed Sacrament to the church on Friday evening after the builders had handed the church back.  The Blessed Sacrament was removed from the church during the major restoration of 1890 and again after the destruction of the Blitz.  St Osburg’s is once more a church where The Lord is present.  A booklet is being prepared as a guide to the church and its features, which I am sure, you will find fascinating.  There is much that we had not noticed before.

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Week 65 21 August
Week 64 14 August
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Week 63 7 August
Week 62 30 July
Week 61 23 July
This week the Tabernacle has been returned to the church and fixed in position.  The consecration crosses have been fixed to the walls.  The new floor has been partially sealed.  The glass screen at the back of church will be installed this week.  The Stations  of the Cross and the Statues will soon be in position. The material in the liturgical colours is now with the upholsterer for fixing to the sanctuary screen panels.  The under floor heating has been commissioned as has the fire alarm.  The organ pipes have been taken from storage in the loft of the parish hall and repositioned.  Some work has to be done on the organ electrics before it can be tested and tuned.  The roof will soon be completed on the toilet block.  The hall chairs have been taken out of storage ready for use while the benches are being transferred to the church.  We are reversing the processes we had to do this time last year in preparation for the restoration.  link
Week 60 16 July
The altar pieces depicting Our Lady, St Denis and St Lawrence have now been fixed to the glass within the altar, which is now complete.  It has been decided how to light the altar pieces.  New altar cloths have been ordered.  We will move the Tabernacle over this week and use the small one we use on Holy Thursday.  The consecration crosses will soon be re-fixed to the walls.  The various doors in the church are being refitted.  The final lower level decoration is continuing.  The floor will soon be sealed.  The under floor heating has been successfully tested, during this hot weather!  The roof structure is nearly complete on the toilet block. link

APPEAL FOR DONATIONS TO THE RESTORATION   If you have in mind to make a donation to help the restoration fund, it would be very helpful if you could make it now.  We have not yet received all the bills and are fast approaching the limit of our overdraft facility.  We are currently £419,000 overdrawn at the bank.  Our grateful thanks to those who have made donations this week:  one of £1,000, one of £150.00 one of £20 and one of £10, £1,180 in all.  Thank you.


Week 59 9 July
The altar is now complete, except for the fixing of the altar pieces depicting Our Lady, St Denis and St Lawrence. The stencilling above the Sacred Heart Statue is finished. This is seen in old photographs of the church. The ornate plinth under the statue of Our Lady has been restored and the original colours used. A roof will be put on the toilet block this week.
Today (Tuesday) the stonemasons installed the alabaster altar pieces in the altar. On the left is St Denis, Our Lady in the middle, and on the right St Lawrence, holding the gridiron, the method of his martyrdom. link


Week 58 2 July
The tiling of the floor is nearly complete.  The speakers were installed during the week. Work is well underway on stencilling above the Sacred Heart Statue. This is seen in old photographs of the church. The ornate plinth under the statue of Our Lady has been restored and the original colours used. A roof will be put on the toilet block this week. link

Week 57 25 June

SOLEMN REOPENING & CONSECRATION OF THE NEW ALTAR His Grace, Archbishop Bernard, will celebrate the Solemn Reopening of St Osburg's Church and Consecrate the new altar, at 7pm Mass on the Feast of St Osburg, Friday 9th September. We have worked so hard for this day and long looked forward to it. The carving of the new altar is now complete.  The stonemasons invited me to chisel out the recess for the relics, which was a joy on Friday. The top of the altar has now been brought into church. When the glass panel for the statues has been installed, then the top will be fixed. The tiling of the floor is nearly complete. The speakers will  be installed this week. Work will commence on stencilling above the Sacred Heart Statue. link

Week 56 18 June
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Week 55 11 June
This week we took delivery of the oak screen which will be the backdrop to the tabernacle.  The Baptismal Font was repositioned in front of The Lady Chapel, where everyone will be able to see the Baptisms take place.  The hand carved stone pulpit is now in place and also the base of the altar.  The tiling of the main aisle is nearly complete, in Victorian minton tiles, with contrasting borders.  The main doors are in place.  The decorators are finishing the lower levels. The footings of the toilet block are in place.  link

Week 54 4 June
The hand carved stone pulpit is now in place and also the base of the altar.  The tiling of the main aisle has begun, in Victorian minton tiles, with contrasting borders.  The main doors are in place.  The decorators are finishing the lower levels. On Friday the concrete foundation for the toilet block was laid.  During the week we will take delivery of the oak screen which will be the backdrop to the tabernacle.
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Week 53 28 1May
The altar steps have been installed. They are of polished granite. The tiling of the sanctuary and Lady Chapel floor is complete. The tiles are of
limestone with terra cotta diamonds at the corners. A large section of the nave floor is tiled, where the benches will go. Two large fossils can be seen in the limestone. The hand carved stone pulpit is now in place. Work will start this week on the groundwork for the toilets.

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Week 52 21 May
The tiling of the sanctuary and Lady Chapel floor is nearly complete.  The tiles are of limestone with terra cotta diamonds at the corners. The electrics are being completed.  One aspect is movement sensors.  When someone comes to say a prayer of a winter’s evening, the lights will automatically come on for a time, and again if need be, when they leave.  The stone masons have begun carving the base and the rear of the altar.   The link corridor is nearly reroofed and the side wall has been broken out ready for building the toilets.
When will it be finished?   It will be into August before the work is complete, as work started late on the toilets because of financial constraints. link
Week 51 14 May
The altar steps have been installed.  They are of polished granite.  This coming week the sanctuary floor will be tiled. The light fittings are in place and have been tested.  The stone masons have begun carving the base of the altar.   The link corridor is nearly reroofed and the side wall has been broken out ready for building the toilets.

On Friday the architect and I visited the glazing company in Walsall who will be making the glass screen at the back of Church and approved the final designs for the engravings.  In 1890 a major restoration of the Church took place, during which the rood screen at the front of the sanctuary was removed and replaced with an ornate altar rail. (This was destroyed in the blitz). The two brass gates each depicted an angel holding a shield.  On one was the symbol of a host and chalice; on the other the symbol of the pelican, feeding her chicks with her own blood.  (The symbol of the pelican is seen also in front of the first angel on the Lady Chapel side of the church, and also in the window on the top left of the sanctuary).  The new screen at the back of church will have the symbol of the chalice and host on one side, and the pelican feeding her chicks on the other.   The motif on the screen for the crèche (next to the choir stairs) will be a sheaf of wheat and grapes.  There are Blessed Sacrament symbols throughout our church which is dedicated to The Most Holy Sacrament and St Osburg.  link
Week 50 7 May
The light fittings are being installed. Work will begin this week on tiling the floor, beginning with the sanctuary steps. This week the stonemasons will begin carving the stone for the altar.
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Week 49 30 April
Week 48 23 April
Last week the stone pieces were delivered which will be carved into the altar.  The light fittings are being installed.  The tiling of the floor will begin the week after next.  Work is progressing on the toilet block.  link
Week 47 16 April
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Week 46 9 April
Week 45 2 April
The screed was laid on the church floor during the week and is now curing.  The stonemasons are carving the stone sections of the pulpit/ambo. The benches are being refurbished.  Preliminary work has started on the toilet block. link
Week 44 26 March
This week the screed will be laid on the floor.  During the week the sound engineer installed cabling in the floor for the loop system for those whose hearing is impaired.  It was tested and found to be very effective in every part of the church.  The stonemasons are now carving the stone sections of the pulpit/ambo.  Preliminary work has started on the toilet block.  link
Week 43 18 March
This week the heating pipes, zig zagging the church floor, have been clipped on top of the insulation. This coming week the audio engineer
will install his cable in the floor, for the loop system for those with hearing impairment. The following week the screed will be laid. The stonemasons are continuing to carve the tabernacle plinth; more stone has arrived for the ambo and the altar. We made the 7th payment during the week for £71,250. This brings our overdraft at the Bank to £185,486. But good news! A generous benefactor has given £50,000 towards the restoration. This means that we will most likely be able to include our plans for the toilets, which had been on hold.link
Week 42 13 March
The scaffolding has been taken down, revealing the timber roof which has been cleaned, and the painted and gilded angels, as well as the decorated walls. The stonemasons are carving the tabernacle plinth in a shelter behind the church. We intend to arrange a day for the schoolchildren and ourselves to see them at work.  This week the church floor will be insulated and the heating pipes installed.  link
Week 41 6 March

The scaffolding is being taken down at the moment, revealing the timber roof which has been cleaned, and the painted and gilded angels, as well as the decorated walls. The stonemasons are carving the new stone altar, ambo and tabernacle plinth,by hand outside the corridor link to the church. In two of the pictures you can see the uprights of the tabernacle plinth being fashioned.  link
Week 40 27th February
Week 39 20th February
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Week 38 13th February

Week 37 6th February
Week 36 30th January
The redecoration is progressing and also the electrical work. The west wall has now been replastered. The designs for the etchings on the glass screen at the back of church are being finalised. The benches are being refurbished.link
Week 35 23rd January
The redecoration is progressing and also the electrical work. The west wall has now been replastered. The designs for the etchings on the glass screen at the back of church are being finalised. The benches are being refurbished.
Week 34 16th January
The decorators are continuing their preparatory work on the walls and the electricians are continuing the installation of the conduits.link
Week 33 9th January 2011
The decorators are continuing their preparatory work on the walls and the electricians are continuing the installation of the conduits.  

Week 32 2nd January 2011
Work has stopped while the contractors take their Christmas break.

Week 31 25th December
Work has stopped while the contractors take their Christmas break.
Week 30 18th December
Work continues with the west wall being replastered, using lime plaster, which has to be built up in layers.  The other walls have been prepared for decorating.  Work is continuing with the rewiring and the heating system.link 
Week 29 11th December
The West Wall is in the process of being replastered, using lime plaster, which has to be built up in layers. The other walls have been prepared for decorating. Work is continuing with the rewiring and the heating system.link
Week 28 4th December
The beautiful wooden roof structure is responding magnificently to being sponged with soapy water, removing 60 years of candle smoke.  The west wall, above the choir, however will have to be replastered because of previous water ingress.  A hoist has been added to the scaffolding to make this possible. The Stations of the Cross are being repainted in the original colours. link


Week 27 - Saturday 27th November
The beautiful wooden roof structure is responding magnificently to being sponged with soapy water, removing 60 years of candle smoke.  The west wall, above the choir, however will have to be replastered because of previous water ingress.  A hoist has been added to the scaffolding to make this possible. The Stations of the Cross are being repainted in the original colours.  link








Week 26 - Saturday 20th November
We are half way through the restoration work on our Mother Church, St Osburg’s. It is now completely scaffolded up to the ceiling. The work of redecoration has begun in the sacristy. The beautifully designed roof structure and ceiling will be cleaned of all the considerable candle smoke and dust. Everything seems sound except for the west wall above the choir which is in very bad condition, with a section of  plaster ready to fall. The Statues and Stations of the Cross have been taken away for repainting and work is progressing on the new heating. To date the work has cost £290,000. I will soon continue with the appeals in each parish. link



Week 25 - Saturday 13th November
The decorating begins on Monday in the sacristy area. The scaffolding will be completed by mid-week. The Statues and Stations of the Cross have been taken away for repainting. Work will soon begin on refurbishing the benches. link




Week 24 - Saturday 6th November
The concrete floor is now complete.  The heating boilers, vents, pumps and heavy pipework are in place.  This week the church will be scaffolded ready for the lighting engineers and decorators.  Work will shortly begin on refurbishing the benches. link





Week 23 - Saturday 30th October
This week the extended sanctuary floor and step, and the rear of the church are being finalised. link










Week 22 - Saturday 23rd October
Most of the concrete floor is in place.  This week the extended sanctuary floor and step, and the rear of the church will be completed.  The two new boilers are in place but not yet connected. link






Week 21 - Saturday 16th October
This week the new floor began to take shape; the damp proof membrane is laid on top of the hard core and sand; the steel reinforcing is in place; the larger heating pipes are in position in the floor; the electric conduits are being placed in the floor.  Concreting the new floor slab should begin Tuesday or Wednesday. link
 
What about the Funding?   This week the parish paid the contractors for the Architects’ Payment Certificate No.3, an invoice for £59,551.94.  This uses up what remained in the Restoration Fund.  We now have to start paying out of the remaining parish savings.  To date we have paid Contractors Fees of £139,531.26, Architects’ Fees of £51,761.57, Structural Engineers’ Fees of £5,161.76 and Building Regulations of £177.43, making a total of £196,632.  A lot of difficult hard work has been done and we are now beginning to see the results.

Week 20 - Saturday 9th October
Work is continuing on the new floor link







Week 19 - Saturday 2nd October
It has not ben possible to gain access to the church due to the nature of ongoing work to take photographs.

Week 18 - Saturday 25th September
It has not ben possible to gain access to the church due to the nature of ongoing work to take photographs.

Week 17 - Saturday 18th September
Work has now started on removing the old floor link







Week 16 - Saturday 11th September
Work is nearly complete and has been hard and dirty work, but the results are amazing. link






Week 15 - Saturday 4th September

Work is nearly complete and has been hard and dirty work, but the results are amazing. link








Week 14 - Saturday 28th August
Work has progressed on stripping the paint from the stone columns and arches of the Church.  It is nearly complete and has been hard and dirty work, but the results are amazing.  The old lighting system has been removed.  link









Week 13 - Saturday 21st August
Work continues removing paint from the columns and restoring them to natural stone link






Week 12 - Saturday 14th August
Again work continues removing paint from the columns and restoring them to natural stone. link






Week 11 - Saturday 7th August
Work continues removing paint from the columns and restoring them to natural stone. link





Week 10 - Saturday 31st July
Work began this week removing paint from the columns and restoring them to natural stone.
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Week 9 - Saturday 24th July
BIG DECISION    This week the big decision of the project was made.  In consultation with the architects it was decided we would have a water based under floor heating system, the heat source being gas boilers housed in what was the confessional near the sacristy.  Very serious consideration had been given to a ground source for the heat using bore holes.  This would be environmentally friendly, renewable, but financially beyond our reach to install, especially as the Government has cancelled the Low Carbon Buildings Programme – Phase 2 funding for heat pump installation.  A new concrete slab will be laid in the church, which will be insulated.  If at a future date ground source heat became preferable, it could be linked to the new system.  This week the heating pipes and radiators have been removed.  On Monday work will begin on removing paint from the columns and restoring them to natural stone.   link





Week 8 - Saturday 17th July
The asbestos removal people have now completed their work.  The stone flooring in the sanctuary is being removed in preparation for the underfloor heating.  link






Week 7 - Saturday 10th July

The asbestos removal people have finished in the boiler house and underground passageways and have moved into the church.  Most of the sanctuary floor has been taken up. Click on photo or link





Week 6 - Saturday 3rd July
This week the High Altar has been carefully dismantled. Likewise the Baptismal Font which will be refurbished and replaced in front of the Lady Chapel.  The asbestos removal people are working in the cellar of the house where the heating boilers are and the passageways for the pipes underground. Click on photo or link





Week 5 - Saturday 27th June
This week the front altar has been dismantled and preparatory work done on the High Altar.  The parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Redditch is interested in the front part of the High Altar.   The stonemasons removed the square of stone over the relics to reveal a silver box, a little larger than a matchbox, with a red ribbon on it and sealed with wax.  These relics will be placed in the new altar when it is consecrated. Click on photo or link




Week 4 - Saturday 20th June
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Week 3 - Saturday 13th June
Work has continued during the week protecting the Statues, Stations and woodwork.  A number of exploratory holes have been made in the floor as it is not of a uniform construction or level. Click on photo or link








Week 2 - Saturday 6th June
Work has continued during the week protecting the Statues, Stations and woodwork.  A number of exploratory holes have been made in the floor as it is not of a uniform construction or level. One of the pictures shows the site manager Derek Monahan, Site Manager with Father Garry. Click on photo or link







  Friday 5th June
Within the Parish  of St Osburgs is the Coventry Canal.   James Brindley, known as the  "father" of the British canal system,  was commissioned to build the canal in 1768. Located on high ground on the edge of the city centre the Y-shaped canal basin has fine examples of surviving canal architecture with more than 200 years behind it.  The 5½ mile stretch of canal between Coventry Basin and Hawkesbury Junction has been transformed from a forgotten backland into the city's longest park. Combining the natural peace and beauty of the countryside with Coventry's rich industrial heritage, the canal provides the perfect setting for an unusual walk - whatever your interest. Within the canal basin is a Statue of James Brindley, known as the  "father" of the British canal system.  Fr Garry often has a walk around this area to better understand the heritage of Coventry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coventry_Canal. The photograph shows the bronze statue of James Brindley and Father Garry, both looking at their plan of work.  James Brindley looking out onto the canal and Father Garry over his Parish. Click on photo or link

Week 1 Saturday 30th May 2010 - Preparing the Way
"Midland Conservation Ltd, moved on to the site at 6.30am Monday morning with the delivery of their office, toilets, and storage container; and security fencing.  A plumber and electrician connected supplies for them.  During the week the carpenters have been protecting the features of the church.  On Tuesday the organ builders came and removed a number of the big pipes into the loft of the Parish Hall and sheeted the organ to protect it during the work.  Sound engineers removed the sound system from the Church and reinstalled it in the parish hall.  Unfortunately it was not possible to transfer the “Loop System”, but a new one will be installed in the Church.  On Tuesday also, volunteers moved a number of the church benches into the parish hall.  On Wednesday the temporary altar furnishings were put in place.  On Thursday the first Mass was said and further work was done on the benches, and all the choir resources were carried over to the hall.  On Friday the Statues of the Sacred Heart, and Our Blessed Lady, were taken down, washed and put in place in the parish hall. On Saturday, after the morning Mass, the first Baptism took place.  All in all an eventful and happy week!
We are indebted to those who made possible the move from the church to the parish hall.  We especially thank Derek Woodward, supported by Veronica, who made the temporary altar, the tabernacle plinth, altered and covered the stage screen, and put up supporting shelves for the statues."
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Sunday 23rd May 2010
Before, Click on photo or link


"Today the Feast of Pentecost, Our Last Sunday in  the Church in its present condition.  After all our patient waiting, work will now start on St Osburg’s this coming week.  We ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit on our project.  During the week we will move into the parish hall for Mass and the celebration of the Sacraments for the duration of the work, which is scheduled for 40 weeks.  It will probably be February 2011 before we are back in the church.  There will be no Mass or Eucharistic Service on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday as we move out of the Church.  Help Needed   I need three able bodied helpers at 9am on Monday morning to move the Hall chairs into the loft.  Please see me.  We need two more helpers after Mass on Monday to help clean the Hall.  Please see me.  On Tuesday we hope to move the required benches into the Hall; the Organ will be partly dismantled and the pipes transferred to the loft; the sound system will be transferred to the Hall.  " Canon Gary Byrne newsletter

Easter Sunday 4th April 2010
" GO-AHEAD FOR THE RESTORTION OF ST OSBURG’S The Diocesan Treasurer has given approval for us to undertake the Restoration of St Osburg’s. We have half the money needed for the internal work on the Church and can proceed with that, while we borrow the remainder. We are not at the moment however, in a position to build the toilets or improve the main entrance to the Church. But it is great news that we can start on the main work. There will be discussions with the builders and architects after Easter and I will tell you the programme when it is known." Canon Gary Byrne newsletter