It had always occurred to us that our restoration of the Chancel would coincide nicely with the Diamond Jubilee this year, and to discover this inscription, specifically dedicating it to Queen Victoria is wonderfully exciting. So now we dedicate our restoration to Queen Elizabeth, in tribute to her long and faithful reign.The Rev'd Gordon Giles
St Mary Magdalene Chancel Restoration Project 2012
Jubilee Link for Enfield Restoration project
March 5th 2012
The Vicar of St Mary Magdalene’s was delighted to discover an inscription tucked away inside the Window arch of the Chancel that revealed the origin of the wall and ceiling paintings currently undergoing restoration.
In 1897 the then Vicar, George Turner, commissioned the painting of walls and ceiling with lively images of saints, angels and Old Testament figures. It was funded solely by Mrs Georgiana Twells, widow of Philip Twells, Enfield resident and MP for the City of London, who had died in 1880. In his memory she had St Mary Magdalene’s Church built in 1883, and her final gift was the paintings in 1898, the year in which she herself died.
Inside the arch, invisible from the ground, but in fine lettering, is recorded the names of the artist, Buckeridge, and the dedication of the paintings to Her Majesty Queen Victoria in commemoration of her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. This inscription, found last week cements a wonderful connection between the last Diamond Jubilee and the present one.
The Vicar, the Reverend Gordon Giles said: “It had always occurred to us that our restoration of the Chancel would coincide nicely with the Diamond Jubilee this year, and to discover this inscription, specifically dedicating it to Queen Victoria is wonderfully exciting. So now we dedicate our restoration to Queen Elizabeth, in tribute to her long and faithful reign.”
Half-funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery fund, the restoration of the paintings began in early January and will be complete by Easter. And what a transformation will have taken place: vivid imagery of the Magi, angels Prophets and Patriarchs will look as good as new, with gilded wings and crowns. The wooden roof, caked in dirt will gleam with red and gold and green, and damaged paintwork will be carefully retouched and restored using advanced and authorized techniques.
Conservation work is being carried out by Hirst’s of Spalding. If anyone would like to visit, the Vicar, the Reverend Gordon Giles, would be delighted to organize that in addition to planned open days, services, lectures and concerts which will take place during 2012.
The Church was built in 1883 by William Butterfield, commissioned by Georgiana Twells, in memory of Philip Twells MP. They lived at Chase Side House, of which the gardens now form our Town Park. After the completion of the Church, her final gift was the internal artwork, by Buckeridge and Westlake, which once restored will probably be some of the finest artwork on show in the Borough.