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  Title: Change and Decay: the Future of our Churches

Author: Marcus Binney and Peter Burman

Date published: 1977

Status: out of print

What is it? Dramatic 'state of the nation' report at the height of the first great wave of 20th century church redundancies. A depressing survey of what had been to last to date, the reasons why this has happened, and an inspiring finale about possible solutions.

What's it like? Closure, abandonment and demolition threaten churches and chapels of all denominations on an alarming scale. In 1960 the Bridges Report estimated that 790 Church of England churches would become redundant in the following fifteen to twenty years. Following the recommendations of the report a statutory procedure was set up for dealing with redundant churches in 1968 by the pastoral measure. By 1 November 1976, 592 churches had been declared redundant, and of the 472 cases dealt with 153 had been or were to be demolished, including some twenty-three buildings officially listed as of special architectural or historical interest.

What's good about it? Hugely influential survey at a watershed moment. It seems apocalyptic now, but this was pre-heritage industry Britain, and fewer people cared. The photographs are remarkable, a lost treasure trove.

What's bad about it? Necessarily dated.

Overall rating: 4/5

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