Funds for Jersey's Glass Church restoration project

Interior of St Matthew's "Glass Church"
Image caption Rene Lalique is recognised as one of the world's greatest glass makers

One of Jersey's most famous churches has been awarded government funding for a major restoration and refurbishment.

St Matthew's Church at Millbrook - known as the Glass Church - is decorated in Art Deco Lalique glass dating back to 1934.

The States has allocated £125,000 for phase one and two, which will include work on the main tower and bells.

Treasury Minister Philip Ozouf approved the grant on a pound-for-pound matched funding basis.

The Friends of the Glass Church have already raised £140,000 towards the restoration fund and work has been completed on the roof of the church.

Senator Ozouf said: "I am very pleased that the fiscal stimulus fund has been able to support this project, which will ensure that one of the island's most important cultural assets is protected."

The church is internationally acclaimed as the only remaining and complete example of Rene Lalique's heavy, clouded glass.

The glass work was commissioned and paid for by Lady Trent who lived in Jersey, but also had a home in France near the artist in memory of her husband, Jesse Boot, who was the founder of Boots the Chemist.

Renee Lalique is recognised as one of the world's greatest glass makers and jewellery designers of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods.

The vicar of St Matthew's said very little work had been done over the past 70 years other than routine maintenance.

Image caption The first two restoration phases include work on the main town and church bells

"Our aim has always been to restore this masterpiece," the Reverend Phil Warren said.

"We are very aware that the project will provide a unique, world-class visitor attraction for Jersey.

"It will ensure the cultural legacy of the Glass Church is preserved for future generations of islanders to enjoy, while enabling the church to continue to thrive as a vibrant, welcoming contemporary centre of Christian worship in the community."

The overall project costs are estimated at more than £1m.

Culture Minister James Reed said: "It is our duty to ensure that sites such as these are protected and preserved both now and in the future."

Much of the restoration and conservation works will be undertaken by local craftspeople, although some specialist assistance will be required.

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