St John at Hackney Restoration

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About the project

Restoration is a multi-million project to restore and reorder this much-loved grade II* church and provide interpretation and activities to share its incredible story with the wider community for years to come. 

Hackney is one of the fastest growing and developing parts of London, yet it is also one of the most deprived. St John at Hackney is one of the few places where a community can span such diversity, as a place where people of mixed ages and mixed cultures come and meet regularly, building relationships and making the community stronger. Outside of regular worship and prayer, we have dozens of different activities each week, including several new initiatives centred on caring for the homeless and vulnerable. In addition the church has been opened up to new audiences, hosting gigs by Coldplay, Florence + the Machine, Robbie Williams, Emeli Sande and Ed Sheeran.

We could, however, do a lot more but we are hindered by the inflexible nature of the building. The lack of heating, leaking roof, internal sound insulation and poor levels of access throughout the building all combine to jeopardise its ongoing usage as a community asset.

The project will see the entire site given a new lease of life, with updated facilities and services, much needed conservation work carried out, and new opportunities for volunteering, heritage interpretation and engaging with the building and it’s history. The enhanced events programme will also ensure that the church is open more often to both the congregation, event attendees and casual visitors. Overall it is our aim that the project will allow St John at Hackney to continue to thrive as the borough’s oldest institution. 

Key features of the project

Above are the proposed plans for the Nave designed by John Pawson and Thomas Ford architects. A permanent stage can be seen as well as the two new chapels underneath each gallery. 


  • Returning the Nave to its original Greek Cross plan layout by removing modern interventions
  • Installing a permanent stage with updated PA, lighting and audio visual systems, allowing the church to seamlessly move between worship and event mode
  • Improved access including the installation of an external ramp
  • Constructing a new baptistry and chapel of resurrection
  • Renovating the south wing to make way for new services including toilets, meeting rooms, catering facilities and office space
  • Carrying out essential repairs to the external fabric, roof, memorials, as well as cleaning and treating the extensive parquet floor
  • Creating a range of volunteering roles throughout the project and after
  • Installing new solar panels on the roof
  • Delivering a wide range of heritage related activities and events for the community to experience, learn from and enjoy



September '17 - Application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for £1.84million towards overall project costs

December '17 - Confirmation of successful HLF grant bid

Spring '18 - Finalisation of designs and mobilisation for construction

July '18 - External fabric and roof repairs commence onsite 

October '18 - Keys are handed to the contractor and main restoration works commence onsite

May '19 - New church halls and parish office open across at Hackney Gardens (former Rectory site)

August '19 - Restoration works are completed

September '19 - St John at Hackney reopens


Get in touch

If you're interested in becoming involved in the project or would like to be added to the project newsletter mailing list, contact the team at

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