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St Mark’s church shortlisted for heritage award

Date: 23 February 2022

St Mark’s church, Upper Hale, Farnham has been shortlisted for the 2022 Surrey Heritage Awards.

Making the announcement, Surrey Historic Buildings Trust described St Mark’s as, “A late-Victorian church … noted for its stunning wall murals painted by local artist Kitty Milroy, a graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art. 

Kitty Milroy, painted the murals between 1911 and 1920. After a century, they were faded and deteriorated. A major community effort to raise funds, last year enabled these unique murals to be cleaned, repaired and restored to their former glory.

In December 2021, St Mark’s was given Grade II listed status by English Heritage.

The murals have played an important part in the conservation of St Mark’s, a Victorian church built by local people in the 1880s and still a vibrant part of community life. They are now recognised as being of both local and national importance, particularly as examples of the development of mural art and the recognition of women’s painting in the 20th century.

Andy Smith, Director of Surrey Historic Buildings Trust, said: "The restoration of Kitty Milroy's amazing murals at St Mark’s has been one of the most interesting projects the Surrey Historic Buildings Trust has been involved with in recent years. Hopefully this will generate greater interest in Kitty Milroy's work, and in early-twentieth-century artwork of this kind.” 

The Revd Lesley Crawley, Rector of the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale, of which St Mark’s is a part, said: “We are utterly delighted that St Mark’s has been shortlisted for an award. It is testament to the love and care that has been poured into the church over many years – from when it was built by the villagers in the 1880s; through the installation of the Edwardian organ, affectionately known as Emily; and the painting of the beautiful Kitty Milroy murals in the early 20th century; and right through to the present day with the restoration of those murals. 

A team of judges will visit St Mark’s on March 3 and the results will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held on March 30 at Brooklands Museum, Weybridge. 

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