St John at Hackney Restoration

 Press Release

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St John at Hackney, the iconic Parish Church of Hackney, has been awarded a £1.84m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the award will support a major restoration of the church, improving access to this much loved community heritage asset for many generations to come.

The award is a major contribution to the restoration and remodelling of St John at Hackney. In moving the project forward the church have recently appointed internationally-renowned designer John Pawson, whose work includes the Design Museum’s new home in west London and the Abbey of Nový Dvůr in Bohemia.

Architects for the £5m restoration will be RIBA Award-winning ecclesiastical and conservation specialists Thomas Ford & Partners, whose recent major projects include work at Sheffield Cathedral, Wakefield Cathedral, Guildford Cathedral, and Rochester Cathedral.

Other contributors include critically-acclaimed visual artist Es Devlin OBE, winner of the 2017 London Design Medal, whose work ranges from collaborations with Beyonce, Kanye West, to the London Olympics and the English National Opera.

Designer John Pawson comments, “At the heart of a project like this is the challenge of allowing architecture and people to come together in the richest ways possible. I am looking forward to playing my part in retuning an important piece of London’s historic fabric, to make exhilarating spaces charged with atmosphere and purpose.”

Clive England, of Thomas Ford & Partners said: “Of all the many church projects with which we have been involved, this is one of the most exciting. The restoration and remodelling of this unique building will enable it to serve its community in a whole new way and it has been a real pleasure to work with the church team to bring it to this stage, and to secure the all-important HLF funding. We are looking forward to taking the project through to completion.”

Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, comments: “At the heart of Hackney for centuries, St John at Hackney is an incredibly important part of the borough’s heritage and of community life. Thanks to National Lottery players, the church will be able to open its doors and share its stories with an even wider audience and enable them to play a key role in what promised to be a fantastic future.”

Responding to the announcement by the HLF, Revd Al Gordon, Rector of Hackney, writes, “We are so grateful to the National Lottery, without whose support this restoration would not be possible. For over 700 years, the church has served as a beacon of hope at the heart of Hackney. This award will not only increase accessibility to our wonderful story, but will enable future generations to play their part in shaping Hackney’s bright future.”

The current church is Grade II* listed, and was built in 1792, replacing the earlier medieval church building that dates to 1275. The restoration work is expected to commence later this year, and is anticipated to take 18 months. Recently, St John at Hackney has been opened up to new audiences, hosting gigs by Coldplay, Florence + the Machine, Robbie Williams, Emeli Sande and Ed Sheeran. Amazon Tickets describe the church as “one of the coolest and most distinctive concert spaces in London”.

John Parmiter, Chair of the St John at Hackney project board, added, “This restoration will achieve far greater accessibility and resilience for this wonderful historic building. The enhanced space will connect with new audiences through a diverse programme of heritage and cultural activities; as well as being home to a growing worshipping community.”

In the past six months St John at Hackney have launched a number of new initiatives, including the Lighthouse Project in partnership with the restaurant Moro, which sees over a hundred homeless and vulnerable people cared for each week through a drop-in centre, community meal, debt advice, foodbank and a night shelter. A knife amnesty bin at the church is helping to take dangerous weapons off the street, and has become one of the most used knife bins in London.

Further projects include a community apiary, orchard, a microbrewery and medicinal garden, all of which will directly support the church’s work with the vulnerable, building on the church’s 700 year tradition of bringing hope to the heart of Hackney.

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South & Shoreditch, welcomed the news, commenting, “St John at Hackney is a striking presence in the heart of Hackney. This injection of cash from the HLF means that St John’s will be able to serve the people of Hackney for many years to come.”


About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use


About St John at Hackney

St John at Hackney is the iconic Anglican parish church of Hackney. The vision of the church is to play its part in bringing hope to the heart of Hackney. The church is growing, with attendance doubling in the past year. Over 600 people attend the church’s activities each week, with three regular Sunday services, and a number of midweek activities, including the Lighthouse Project, Alpha, Hey Baby, Groups and much more. Visit for more information, and follow us on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.

For further information including copies of images, please contact: Heritage Lottery Fund –
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