Slide Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting roof repair ROOF REPAIR FUND

Roof Repair Fund

Our Grade II listed Great Meeting Chapel is under threat from a leaking roof and rusting gutters. Failure to act soon could render the Chapel and its meeting rooms unusable. To protect this unique city centre ‘gem’ and its fascinating history for future generations we are launching an appeal to help towards funding a major repair of the roof at Great Meeting Chapel.

Our target is to raise £5000 from donations by the congregation and visitors to the chapel, as well as proceeds from special events. Not only that, but we propose also a series of events and activities as part of a Heritage Outreach Programme to involve both the general public and specific interest groups.

Work is underway – see details below.

Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting drawing

A unique and historic roof structure

Leicester’s Unitarian Chapel, a Grade II listed building, was built in 1708, with further building work to enlarge the chapel taking place in 1866. It is one of the most important historic buildings to survive in the city. The age can be see more clearly in the roof space, with the original timbers from over 300 years ago, some still with the carpenter’s markings on many of the mortise and tenon joints.  Some sides of the gabled roof have screens of reeds, probably cut locally during construction.

Photos left show some of the unique features of the chapel roof. Click photos to enlarge then use arrows on left & right of photo for other photos.

Why the need for repairs?

  • A roof leak is causing wet-rot to one of two major oak structural beams and damage to the internal Georgian plaster ceiling.
  • Leaking gutters are damaging the high-level external cornice.

Photos right show some of the damage. Click photo to enlarge then use arrows for other photos.

What repairs are needed?

  • A flat roof cover to the central well of the roof will obviate the need for the internal drainage system which has been prone to repeated failure.
  • New cast aluminium gutter and drainpipe system.
  • Stabilisation of the areas of ‘at risk’ external cornice.
  • Repair of internal plaster ceiling (this will necessitate temporary internal scaffolding).
  • Repair of decayed windows where necessary.
  • Possible strengthening of roof oak beam after assessment by structural engineers from inside and below via scaffolding tower.
  • Restoration/cleaning of internal monuments.

How much will it cost?

  • Current estimate is £140,000. We hope to be successful with applications to grant awarding bodies. Co-funding from the chapel and its supporters greatly helps with the validity of our applications.
  • We explain below how you can help by making a donation.

These repairs will protect the future of our building for many years to come. Keeping a historic building watertight is the single most important element of conservation and this is what we intend to do.

How to Donate

–  By cash, into the collection bucket at the chapel or give to the minister or any member of the committee.

–  By cheque: payable to Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel, Leicester.

If you have not already done so, and are a taxpayer,
please complete a Gift Aid form, available in the Chapel.

Work is under way!  Renovation of Butt Close Wall

Following generous grants from Leicester City Council and Historic England, work has commenced on cleaning, restoring and repointing the historic Grade Two listed historic boundary wall. Mortar has been analysed to create an exact match and a quantity of like for like bricks obtained from a specialist supplier.

Photo left show jetting of the Butt Close wall. Click photo to enlarge.

Work is under way!     Roof work progressing well…

First task was to erect scaffold to gain access to the roof. After removal of roof coverings, new timbers are then passed up to begin work. Photos show work in progress, including many of the new trusses already on the roof. Photos also show the new support structure for the new roof cover that should keep the Chapel watertight for decades to come.

Click any photo to enlarge.