ST. LUKE’S church, known as the wedding site of infamous Manchester Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, has fallen into serious disrepair, according to the local clergy.
Church Vicar Reverend Charles Gorton has shared fears that the building may have to close if crucial improvements aren’t made in the next few years.
“It may not be during my time, but if we don’t get some extra funding soon, the church will have to close eventually.
“I’ve tried three times to secure Lottery Heritage funding, or even get a blue plaque for the place, but no-one seems to be interested.
“It’s a shame, because people in the community love it here – they may not all attend church, but plenty have flocked to see our World War I plaques and our famous stained-glass windows.
“I’m sure many would be sad to see it go.”
Rev. Gorton, who has been at St. Luke’s since 2011, went on to explain that the main priority for funding was the church roof, which is riddled with holes and desperately in need of new wooden beams.
The building is also in need of freshly-plastered walls, as they boast severe damp and are crumbling – quite literally – over the heads of all those who come to pray.
“These walls haven’t been painted since the end of the First World War – 1920 at least.
“We think they must have painted over the original murals using cheap paint – it falls on everyone’s heads during the Sunday service!” he chuckles.
Built around 1868, the grade II-listed building is known by locals as ‘the Church on the Hill’ – the only one of it’s kind in Salford, according to the Reverend.
“It’s interesting that the original benefactors chose to place it on a hill – the building has no foundations, no basement of anything like that.” He says.
Yet, the slender spire continues to stand tall over the back-to-back terraced houses of Seedley and Weaste – a mere stones-throw away from the former site of the Ermen & Engels Victoria mill.
This is St. Luke’s second historical link – a bustling hub of early industrialisation, part-owned by the founding father of socialism, Friedrich Engels.
The church also houses a number of memorial plaques for soldiers lost during the first world war, with some dating back to 1919.
“It’s been a bad year for us – we’ve had two fires behind the church hall, graffiti, and eggs thrown at the building.” Continues Rev. Gorton.
“But there’s still a great sense of community here – thousands of people pass through each week.
“We host services for the children of St. Luke’s school (located just behind the church) funerals, weddings and a lot of baptisms – some people travel far and wide, as their families have been baptised here for generations!”.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund are yet to make a comment on the state of the building.