Campaign to save the Kilburn tin church

Campaigners are urging volunteers to volunteer to help save the Kilburn tin tabernacle

Campaigners are urging residents to donate their skills to help restore one of London’s last surviving tin churches.

The grade II listed Kilburn tin tabernacle was built in 1862 and used as a place of worship until the 1920’s, before being taken over by the Willesden and St Mary’s Sea Cadets, who transformed its interior to resemble a boat.

However the future of this iconic building, in Cambridge Avenue, Kilburn, was thrown into doubt earlier this year when owners Genesis Housing Group hinted they may have to sell it because of safety fears over electrical problems which forced the cadets to move out.

The repair bill was estimated to cost as much as �230,000.

But now campaigners and Genesis have united to launch a major fundraising drive to save the iconic, landmark, which includes an anti-aircraft gun and mockupof a ship’s bridge.

And they are calling on budding archaeologists, fundraisers and builders to donate their time and skills to return the church to its former glory.

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One of those leading the campaign is Ed Fordham, a local historian who also worked to save the nearby Gaumont State from closure.

He said: “There is nothing else like this building here in Kilburn.

“It gives us a unique insight into what Kilburn was and could be. It is probably one of the most fascinating buildings in the whole of London as it is completely unique.

“We want to open it up to the community and turn the surrounding area into a communal garden for Kilburn residents.

“But to realise this ambition we desperately need young people with energy, lawyers, architects and people who enjoy fundraising to give us a hand.”

The tabernacle’s caretaking committee have organised a concert at the church for the end of January, and Mr Fordham says they desperately need to get the building in ship shape by then if the concert is to go ahead.

It is estimated that it will cost around �50,000 to get the church open again, and �400,000 for full restoration work.

Mary East, chairwoman of the caretaking committee, said: “There is huge enthusiasm for the building and we are putting it back on the map.

“We need to get the church into a fit state of repair so that members of the public can come in and put on events.”

Tin tabernacles became a common sight in England during the 19th century, when the large scale production of iron saw churches made of corrugated iron built across the country.

However, most were torn down during the post war years, and the Kilburn tin church is one of just two remaining in London.

For further information about the campaign contact