'Meet the Experts' at St Mags Church

Rev Sam Leach

Rev Sam Leach - Credit: Submitted

A 'Meet the Experts' evening is being hosted by St Mary Magdalene Church, Torquay, next month.

The history of St Mags, of Upton and the people who helped shape it will be the subject of the event on May 1. 

Whether your interest is history, architecture or heritage renovation, there will be something for everyone, with time for questions and answers at the end.

A series of six ten-minute talks, with a chance for questions afterwards, will be streamed live on Facebook and via Zoom. 

The church itself is one of the finest buildings in the Upton conservation area which includes the town hall extending up Lymington and Babbacombe Roads. 

 St Mary Magdalene Church

St Mary Magdalene Church - Credit: Submitted

Rev Sam Leach said: “The church foundations were laid in 1844 and the building completed by 1849, with the spire being added later in 1855, the first of Torquay new churches.

"The church wants to encourage increasing connection with the residents of Torquay and a sense of pride in Upton and its fascinating history, buildings and people – which tell the story of Torquay itself.” 

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The church stonework has recently been renovated, through a grant from the National Heritage Lottery Fund.

The work on the tower and spire, and its challenges will be the subject of a talk by architect Julie Boultby. 

The stone works themselves will be the topic of Philip Scorer, one of the partners of Vitruvius Conservation who carried out the high-level work. 

Local historian Kevin Dixon will talk about Torquay’s churchyards and cemeteries and changing attitudes to life and death. 

Edwina Corderoy will explain how St Mary Magdalene Church was built between 1840-1849. 

John Motch will share the 'Story of the Stones' about the various types of material used to build the church and the connection to local geology. 

Finally, Nick Pannell will share images of the Castle Circus area through the ages.

Rev Sam Leach, who will host the evening, added: “Our church building exists to connect with the people of Torquay with open doors and welcoming community.

"It is a fascinating place with an incredible history that has shaped the people and activities for generations. All are welcome to join us online for this local history extravaganza on May the 1.”