The Building of St Paul’s Church, Birmingham in the 1770s

An estimate of the expenses and receipts in building St Mary’s chapel

We know from the Minute Book that by the time of the consecration all of the sittings had been subscribed, as described, giving receipts estimated at £4530 The proceeds of the Music Festival at £800 makes it:-                               £5330 On expenses. Pickford’s quotation was:-                            £4066 Extra ceiling work by Pickford at £150:-                            £4216   At this stage the surplus would be over £1000.However, at a meeting in October 1774, the trustees learned that after defraying all expenses they had a surplus of £450. A possible explanation for the difference lies in the proceeds of the Music Festival. At another festival for raising funds for St Paul’s and the General Hospital in 1778, a similar figure of £800 was reported, but this was for the gross proceeds, the amount net was £340. If that applied here the receipts would be £4870. Further receipts could be expected when St Paul’s paid their share of the cost of obtaining the Act, put at £138 19s 4d. Further expenses included the payment of £140 to Thomas Salt for his inspections of the building work, plus the cost of a bell, which was “not to exceed 12cwt”, and communion plate from Boulton and Fothergill which was to be ordered immediately and “not to exceed £60 or thereabouts”. Summarising, the suggested receipts were about £5000 against expenses of about £4700, some surplus, but probably not enough to pay for the parsonage. To help pay for it, in February 1775 a number of trustees were charged with raising money by selling the vaults, which were vested in the trustees. There is no information on when the parsonage was purchased or what it cost. The last meeting of this period recorded in the Minute Book was on June 22nd 1779, shortly after the consecration of St Paul’s, and was held in the Vestry of St Paul’s. This was the 58th meeting of the trustees for St Mary’s and they discussed raising the rents of 136 sittings from 2s 6d to 2s 7d per annum. The next entries in the Minute book are in 1811 and relate to the repeal of part of the 1772 Act to enable the minister to have a higher income. There is then a further gap until the late 1830s, when some meetings are recorded. All of the meetings of the original committee had taken place in the Chamber of the Old Cross. The first meeting of the trustees had taken place in The Swan Inn, as determined in the Act. The Swan Inn was near the Old Cross just off the High Street. Further meetings had taken place in a number of hostelries. The Swan in Weaman Street, the Lamp in Bath Street and Mr Dutton’s in Weaman Street were all quite close to where St Mary’s was to be built. Other places were the Royal Exchange, the Green Man, the Bird in Hand, the Nag’s Head and the Golden Lion. The chapel and churchyard were bound by Whittall Street and Loveday Street, and by Weaman’s Row and St Mary’s Row, as shown in John Kempson’s map of 1810 25, and is now the site of the Dental Hospital and the Children’s Hospital.

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