The Speaker and the Dean of Westminster have climbed to the roof of the 'parish church of the House of Commons' to view the church after years of restoration work.
The Right Honourable Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP and the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle stood on the lower roof of St Margaret’s to see the completed project which has seen the parts of the church under scaffolding since 2016.
The work involved the removal of external stonework on the church’s tower to replace rusting iron beneath with stainless steel. Each piece of Portland stone was then re-laid or replaced.
An 18th-century clock which was removed from the tower in the 1970s has also been re-installed having been discovered in the early 2000s in one of the Abbey’s yards.
The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle said: "It is wonderful to see St Margaret’s Church finally emerging from underneath its scaffolding as we look forward to developing its distinctive and growing ministry within Parliament Square and beyond. It is a testament to the skilled craftsmanship of all those involved in the restoration that the church stands ready once again to play an active role in Parliament Square in these changed times."
The Speaker, The Right Honourable Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP explained: "Parliamentarians have always held St Margaret’s in great affection as the place where we gather in good times and sad - so we share in the Dean’s delight at seeing its beauty restored."
A church has stood on the site since the 12th century and and Sir Winston Churchill, John Milton and Samuel Pepys are among the famous people to have married there.
The church is regularly attended by MPs and peers, including for thanksgiving services celebrating the lives of parliamentarians.
Despite its restoration, it has recently been announced that because of the financial impact of Covid-19, its musical provision will be merged with that of its neighbour Westminster Abbey, with a statement saying: "We are forced to acknowledge that we do not have the resources to offer worship supported by professional musicians, simultaneously, in two churches next to one another. In recognising the deep faith and commitment of the congregation at St Margaret’s, Chapter believes this is the time to ask them to join the Abbey congregation for Eucharistic worship. Regular Sunday worship will continue with the weekly 6.30p.m. service being held in St Margaret’s."