The London Stained Glass Repository was established as a charitable trust in 1982 & is now part of the Glaziers’ Foundation, which was set up in 2011 to embrace all the charitable work of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers & Painters of Glass. The Repository rescues good quality glass & seeks to find new homes for it. Redundant Churches form the main source of rescued glass.
Stained glass which is under threat from building closure or vandalism is brought to the attention of the Repository, usually by the Church Commissioners. The Repository Committee then considers among other things:
- the artistic merit
- the historic interest
- the state of repair
- the general condition of the glass
Once satisfied about the quality of the glass, the Repository Committee then negotiates for its release. This process can take several years and is not always successful because we have no powers of compulsion. Once in store, the glass is photographed and catalogued, with details of the artist, subject-matter, church/diocese of origin, size and condition etc.
Then begins the work of finding a new home for the glass. Because the subject-matter is mostly drawn from the Old and New Testaments virtually all of the new homes are ecclesiastical buildings.
By no means all those buildings are in the United Kingdom; glass has been sent to the United States (where one new church was designed round a huge window from the Repository!), the Falkland Islands, Australia, and Croatia. Some good quality items have been lent to museums and others have been used for educational projects around the world.
The Repository has, though, never confined itself to dealing with glass of a particular type or period and it was only circumstances which determined that the bulk of the glass would be Victorian and ecclesiastical.
The Repository does not pay for the glass it acquires and correspondingly does not charge the new owners, although many of those have shown their gratitude with generous donations, which are very welcome and used to defray administrative costs.
Initial enquiries should be directed to the
More detailed information can be found using the following links:
- The Catalogue of the London Stained Glass Repository which can be viewed online.
- Terms of Reference – this document sets out the general aims of the Repository and the criteria for the acceptance of glass and its rehousing and reinstallation. There is also guidance on heritage contacts.
- Donation Guidelines – specific advice and guidelines for those wishing to donate stained glass to the Repository.
- Installation Guidelines – specific advice and guidelines for places of worship or other building owners considering installing stained glass from the Repository.
THE FUTURE FOR THE REPOSITORY
The number of churches being made redundant has now shrunk to a trickle with a correspondingly reduced inflow of glass to the Repository. However, interest from possible new owners has remained reasonably high. The greatest need for the Repository, therefore, is to identify glass from sources other than the Anglican Church, which is nevertheless redundant or at risk. The Repository Committee actively seeks to identify such new sources.