The first phase of a major restoration project for ‘the Beacon of Newbridge’ which for over eighty years has been a prominent landmark and focus of Catholic worship has begun.
Our Lady of Peace, Newbridge was completed only months before the outbreak of the Second World War but remained unconsecrated until the end of hostilities in 1945. For decades the imposing Italianate church painted overall white stood proud on its prominence, but in recent years the exterior has become weatherworn and less visible among the subfusc greens and greys of the surrounding valley.
“During the war and on the orders of the War Office, Our Lady of Peace was painted all over in camouflage so as not to give navigational help to enemy bombers” Father Kevin Paine said.
“Our church was repainted and consecrated as soon as the war ended but that was quite a long time ago now and recent surveys have shown the urgent need for major repairs and for our facilities to be brought up to date.”
“We think it important that our church should be not only a beacon of the Catholic faith but an asset for the whole community in this part of the South Wales Valleys and something for Newbridge to be proud of. The church has excellent acoustics and we expect it to be used for musical and other cultural events.”
This nine-month phase of the project will see repairs to the road- facing south and west elevations, and installation of an access ramp to the main entrance.
Restoration Group chairman Mandy Lovell said “£170,000 was made available for this phase of the work. Our own restoration group got to work and secured the support of the Catholic Archdiocese, our own parishioners and the community. We’re also grateful for the generosity of the AllChurches Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, National Churches Trust, National Lottery Community Fund, Welsh Church Act Fund and the Wolfson Foundation”.
AllChurches grants officer Chloe Evans said: “We’re delighted that our funding supports the restoration of Our Lady of Peace. The church’s rich history means a lot to the community. The repair work will bring it back to life as a landmark and a space to unite local people.”
Designed by architect PD Hepworth, and influenced by Giles Gilbert Scott, Our Lady of Peace is as striking inside as it is externally. It is listed Grade 2 Star and is considered to be of outstanding significance. During Covid restrictions daily services are live streamed.
Further details on our website: www.ourladyofpeace.co.uk