The London Stained Glass Repository is a charitable trust which rescues good quality glass and 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 Management Committee, then, considers among other things:
When they are satisfied of its quality, the Repository negotiates its release to our store. 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 a disposal is currently being negotiated to 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 tself 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.
Nor does it 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 adminstrative costs.
The Catalogue of the London Stained Glass Repository can be viewed online.
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 of the Repository, therefore, is to find glass from sources other than the Anglican Church, which is nevertheless redundant or at risk. A campaign was recently launched to find such new sources.
The Repository works closely with many organisations including