John Betjeman Award

John Betjeman Award

Established in 1990 and named in honour of writer, conservation campaigner and SPAB Committee member (1952-1977) Sir John Betjeman, this award celebrates excellence in the repair of places of worship of all denominations and faiths in England and Wales, including the Isle of Man. Shortlisted and winning entries are featured here and in the SPAB Magazine.

The award is given for repairs to a specific element of a building, rather than for a general programme of works, and projects must have been completed within the previous 18 months. Work of any scale is eligible, but must be to the fabric of the building (e.g. tower, wall, roof, floor) or to a significant element of its furnishing (e.g. monument, screen, tomb, pew, pulpit). Cathedrals are not eligible.

Importantly, the award is always made to the building rather than to an individual, so this is a chance for a whole community to celebrate the quality of work completed in its building. The award takes the form of a certificate featuring an image of Inglesham Church in Wiltshire, a favourite church of Betjeman’s and the subject of an early SPAB campaign by the Society’s founder, William Morris. This striking image was created for the SPAB by artist and friend of Betjeman, John Piper.

The 2019 John Betjeman Award for excellence in conservation at places of worship of all denominations and faiths in England and Wales drew an impressive 23 entries from around the country.  We were especially pleased to see the Roman Catholic Church, the United Reformed Church, and the Church in Wales represented this year. 

Following careful deliberation, the judges selected four projects to visit: 
Tower repairs at St Oswald, Grasmere, Cumbria
Stone conservation in the Greenway Chapel at St Peter, Tiverton, Devon
Carpentry repairs to the wagon roof at All Saints, Dodington, Somerset
Tower repairs at St Nicholas, West Lexham, Norfolk

The entries for the 2019 Award are now closed. The winner will be announced, and the award presented, at the SPAB Members’ Meeting at Boxley Abbey on 13 July.