After a century standing on one of London’s highest points, our church roof needs major work. Every slate on both side roofs needs replacing, the stonework made good, guttering updated, and insulating material put in place. Then we can continue to host the variety of events that make Muswell Hill so enjoyable, in the dry.

Phase One will be in the summer/early autumn of 2020, on the north side of the building. Phase Two will happen in a couple of years, when we have raised the money. Each phase will cost around £110,000.

We are continuing to fund-raise through the Coronavirus. Our last event was Saturday 10th October when we could sponsor a slate for £10 and leave a legacy for the next century.

If you would like to donate online, click HERE for more information. If you are a UK taxpayer and would like to Gift Aid your donation to Raise the Roof, the page has a link to download a Gift Aid declaration.

St James Church – report following the roof pilot project

A small section of the north aisle roof was opened up and repaired at the end of Sept 2018 by Ashford and Cranbrook Roofing, heritage roofing contractors.There were no real surprises.

The works were inspected by Chris Law and Gill Brazier from the Buildings Committee and Daniel Benson our Quinquennial Architect. Ashford and Cranbrook’s report on their findings is below, this includes an estimate for the whole works for the north aisle, chapel and south aisle:

With respect the condition of the north aisle roof I confirm that the slates are circa 225 mm x 450 mm (9 x 18) laid on 185 mm (7.5 inch) gauges. The battens are nailed direct to the close boarding with horse hair stretched over the close boarding.

The slates we stripped had roughly a 40% wastage rate.

The gutter is in fair condition and it is difficult to assess replacement needs to the remainder but for budget purposes I would allow £2000 as a provisional sum each side hopefully to avoid unwanted surprises.

The budget cost including vat and gutter provisional for replacement using good existing slates and like for like size welsh slates is £40,000 for North and £54,000 for South Aisle.

The chapel budget is £43,000.

Using a 250 mm x 500 mm Welsh slate as a more readily available size and more economical price, the budget cost with vat, gutter provisionals and lead, to replace the roofs in all new slate is £48,000 North, £66,000 South and £50,000 chapel.

In costing the roofs I have allowed to lift the breather membrane off the close boarding to allow air flow by incorporating a counter batten on top of the close boarding. Also using an eave carrier tray into the gutter.


Although no great problems were found with timbers the fascia behind the gutter would best be replaced which with possible close boarding repairs I would allow a budget provisional of £3000 per side.

There has been mention of insulation however I do not think this is a feasible prospect as the Nave wall windows are too close to the aisle roof surface to allow adequate space for addition of insulation.

Daniel Benson has also produced a sketch of existing and what he suggests the new works should be,he recommends that we should seek full slate replacement as with 40% wastage this implies that the remaining slates may not last much longer.

To summarise the budget prices from Cranbrooks for full slate replacement, including scaffolding and VAT are:
North Aisle - £51,000
Chapel - £53,000
South aisle - £69,000
Total - £173,000

Other things to add:
Contingency, there is some built into the budget figures but to be on the safe side we should add approx. another 10%, £17,000

Architect’s fees, we will employ Daniel Benson to produce a full specification for the works and to inspect during the works. His fees will be approx. £20,000 - £25,000.

Grand total approx - £215,000