Sheerness Dockyard Church - 'one of England’s great forgotten monuments' - on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, was built in 1826-8 as part of the comprehensive redevelopment of the Sheerness Royal Naval Dockyard between 1813 and 1830. The principal designer of the new dockyard was John Rennie, but the architect of many of its buildings, including the church, was George Ledwell Taylor, Surveyor of Buildings to the Navy from 1824. The church is an austere neo-classical design with a tetrastyle Ionic portico. It was gutted by fire in 1881 and substantially rebuilt within the masonry envelope, more or less to the original concept, in 1884-5. It was again gutted by fire in 2001. It is listed grade II* and stands within Sheerness Royal Naval Dockyard and Blue Town Conservation Area. It is included in the English Heritage Register of Heritage at Risk.
We have been working since 2011 with Save Britain's Heritage, and since 2015, Sheerness Dockyard Preservation Trust. We prepared a study to explore the feasibility of a range of potential new uses, as alternatives to the scheme for residential conversion for which planning and listed building consent were granted (at appeal) on 25 February 2008, the renewal of which was the subject of a further appeal - the developer's scheme would subdivide the listed church to create twenty-two residential apartments, with an "enabling development" of five new houses on land immediately adjacent to the church, built off the edge of the (separately listed) dockyard wall. Our study also considered the potential to return the early 19th century Dockyard Model to Sheerness, and provide a permanent home for it within the former church. The developers appeal was not successful, a victory for Save Britain’s Heritage. The church and site were compulsorily purchased so that further deterioration of the building could be prevented whilst viable uses were developed and funding secured. In May 2017 the Trust won a £4.75m Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid for the rescue, repair and transformation of the church.