Our current project is the installation of a lift, giving access to all levels of the building. A step free route is vital to the future of St Anne’s: we need to be able to offer equal access so that everyone can enjoy its heritage and the services and events on offer. We can achieve it by putting in a lift and are currently raising the funds to be able to do so.
St Anne’s has significant heritage importance, reflected in its Grade I listing, and the installation of a modern lift must be carried out in an appropriate and sympathetic manner. The lift will be sited at the west end of the church, in the oversized narthex or entry spaces that were such a distinctive feature of Hawksmoor’s designs. The northwest porch was rebuilt following the 1850 fire. Placing the lift here leaves the south west porch (not damaged by the fire) untouched.
An original door from the churchyard into the crypt will be used for the step-free route. It leads to the lift up to the nave and gallery levels, or along the crypt, past WW2 air raid shelter and first aid station, to the toilets and kitchen in the parish room.
This area of the crypt contains an unknown quantity of bodies, which were capped and sealed off in 1861. Before the lift is installed they will be excavated, researched and reburied appropriately. Because of heritage considerations and the complications involved in moving human remains, the project cost estimate for step-free access to St Anne’s Limehouse is £650,000.