What we do

In 2025 the current building will celebrate its 150th anniversary. By then the Friends of St Giles’ seek to have completed significant projects to preserve and enhance the building and grounds and promote it as a centre for the whole community, regardless of their faith. Check out our brochure for more details.

We don't want the building to be a museum, we want it filled with life. It is already used for lots of community activities, but we want to encourage more and different uses. We put on a series of our own events, such as lectures and Ceilidhs.

Our First Completed Project: Update the Sound System
Lectures, concerts and weekly services in St Giles’ are disadvantaged by the poor quality and unreliability of the current sound system. Installing the latest technology will attract bookings and valuable revenue.

The Next Step
“We are delighted to be working with St Giles’ to draw out the huge potential of what is a wonderful building of national importance, to increase its profile within the city, and to welcome more people in to experience all that it has to offer.”
Nigel Walter, Architect

The Friends of St Giles’ Church, Cambridge have a twofold mission: firstly, to protect the fabric of this wonderful building; secondly, to develop it in a sympathetic manner that enables and encourages a wide variety of uses by the whole community, secular and religious. We see these two strands as intertwined and interdependent.

We have now engaged Nigel Walter of Archangel Architects, a noted specialist in the sensitive enhancement of church buildings for a variety of uses. Without your generous support we would not be have been able to employ a leading architect in his field. Soon, we hope to be able to present the plans he and his team have drawn up for St Giles’. We will continue to consult actively with you every step of the way.

What impact will the transformation of the interior have?
St Giles’ is a grade II*-listed building with many stunning and noted features. It can, however, suffer from its gloomy and cold interior in the winter, lack of storage and up-to-date facilities, making it difficult to use at times. A comprehensive new scheme will not only bring out the architectural and artistic treasures of the interior, but also provide for exhibitions, meetings and concerts.

An attractive, cost-effective venue is much needed by our community and can be created with your help for around. Such spaces in Cambridge are generally very expensive and out of the reach of small local groups. We plan to develop St Giles’ such that it attracts sufficient income to support itself, whilst continuing to offer a reasonably-priced space for hire. We know that there is the demand. We already host a range of affordable and popular events as part of our promotion of St Giles’, reaching out to different age-groups.

Our Architect: Nigel Walter
“I started Archangel in 2000 and remain responsible for the direction of the practice.

I love good design, that is design that is not only elegant but also responsive to the needs of the user, and that is what I hope Archangel provides. When it comes to community and charitable projects that sort of outcome is only possible if the project has built consensus amongst its stakeholders, and this is where our computer walkthrough material pays dividends. I am also actively involved in conservation practice and theory – how we deal with ‘old stuff’ is really important to what sort of a society we become. I have just completed a PhD in Historic Building Conservation at the University of York, which has proved stretching and exciting in equal measure!

These interests came together in The Gate of Heaven and Church Buildings for People, both published by Grove Books, and the more extensive Buildings for Mission; all of these seek to encourage churches to engage more creatively with their buildings. I also teach on post graduate conservation courses at the University of York and Architectural Association, and have provided a series of training workshops for clergy and churchwardens, in both Ely and Norwich dioceses. I am a member of the Church Buildings Council, and a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Outside of work I love acting, am a trustee for a counselling charity, am involved in our local Anglican church, and am currently undertaking a Licensed Lay Ministry training. I particularly enjoy watching my children grow – we have 3 daughters – and to see them begin to make a mark on the world in their different ways.”

How will we get there?
We are confident that we can get funding for the work on this scheme from large grant-making trusts and foundations. However, to get to that stage, we need to be able to continue to employ the first-rate services of Archangel Architects, under Nigel’s direction. Please consider making a regular contribution to the Friends – or encouraging friends and acquaintances to support us - thus ensuring St Giles’ transformation is worthy of such a beautiful and historic building.