Restoration of St John's Church in Chatham town centre underway

17 May 2024In Chatham1 Minutes
Building work is underway at St John's Church

Work has started on a multi-million-pound refurbishment of St John’s Church in Chatham.

The Grade II* listed church on Railway Street is being restored to its former glory as a place of worship.

It will also become a community hub with facilities for events and classes, flexible meeting spaces for businesses, and a café.

An artist's impression showing how St John's Church could look after refurbishment. Photo: Medway Council

Building work started last month and is due to be completed by autumn 2025.

The first weeks of the project will include urgent roof repairs, where as many of the existing 200-year-old slates will be reused as possible.

The refurbishment is being funded by £2.3 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and £1 million from the government’s Future High Streets Fund.

Scaffolding has been put up around St John's Church

The church, owned by the Diocese of Rochester, was built in 1821 at a cost of £37,000 – around £4 million today.

It was designed by architect Sir Robert Smirke, whose best known works include the British Museum in London.

St John’s is also believed to be the first public building in Chatham to be lit by electricity.

However, the church closed in 1997 and fell into significant disrepair, until it reopened again in April 2021.

Services are currently being held at the Emmaus Christian Centre on Clover Street, Chatham, until the refurbishment is completed.