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Greenwich parish church, memorialisation and community c. 1700 to the present day

Greenwich parish church, memorialisation and community c. 1700 to the present day

Fisher, Alison Mary (2020) Greenwich parish church, memorialisation and community c. 1700 to the present day. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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This study examines the relationships between the parish church(es) of Greenwich, London, and the local communities they served in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It incorporates architectural, local and national history sources and combines these fields. An exploration of three substantial church construction projects carried out in each of those three centuries, which all transformed the local church, has uncovered evidence of the memorialisation priorities and processes which shaped these church buildings. What was forgotten, discarded or changed, where it can be detected, has provided further detailed information about how the churches were remodelled to create a new version of the parish church in each period.

The historic presence of a royal palace and the Royal Hospital for Seamen in Greenwich made the interaction of local and national authorities during these church building projects atypical for a parish church. The extent to which the local parish communities participated in the transformation of their parish church(es) illuminates that shifting relationship. Combined with the varying participation of the state (through legislation, funding and the presiding Commissions) these church building projects produced churches that were complex collages of local and national interests. Notably, tensions arose between differing local and national memorialisation processes, highlighting how meaning was generated for these parish church buildings and where it was contested.

The current, twenty-first-century, project being carried out at St Alfege Church has engaged with national concerns, through the award of a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, and issues of local memorialisation through a focus on local ‘heritage’ and interpretation exhibits inside the church. The ‘Heart of Greenwich’ project work hopes to preserve the church for future generations by making it a sustainable historic building, capable of navigating the stringent national legislation concerning the historic building fabric and uncertain funding provision. I show how, as in previous centuries, the historical associations of the church were curated to serve this cause.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Greenwich parish church; Nicholas Hawksmoor (1661-1736); George Basevi (1794-1845); Albert Richardson (1880-1964).
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2022 08:54

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