Incorporated Church Building Society

Bill Hibbert bill at h...
Tue May 25 13:41:42 BST 2004

In an idle moment I was searching the net and came across the 
following site: An extract from 
the blurb will explain:


The Incorporated Church Building Society: The ICBS was founded in 
1818 to provide funds for the building and enlargement of Anglican 
churches throughout England and Wales. It was the principal voluntary 
Society for promoting the building and restoration of churches 
throughout the most active period of church building since the Middle 

The ICBS archive: The archive includes over 15,000 files relating to 
applications by parishes for grants from the Society. The earliest 
file is dated 1818 and the latest 1982. Individual files may include 
application forms, correspondence, plans, building specifications, 
engravings or artists' impressions, certificates of satisfactory 
completion, parochial subscription lists, parish magazines, and 
photographs (from 1867 onwards). 

There are also minute books for the period 1818-1987 which record the 
proceedings of committees and AGMs. The minute books are very useful 
in filling in the gaps where files haven't survived. There is also an 
additional volume relating to the foundation of the Society in 1818. 

Some 12,300 plans are included in these files which, in some 
instances, are the only surviving evidence for the layout of the 
church before restoration. Where the church has since been 
demolished, it may be the only extant plan.


The archive have digitised all 12,600(sic) plans and put them online 
in a searchable database. Other information available online includes 
dates of major building work, names of the architect(s) involved, and 
brief notes of the resources available offline.

I tried a random selection of searches and found:
* a plan of Derwent, Derbyshire
* information on the building of St Michael, Paddington (the grant 
application was rejected!)
* a plan of Rugby before the tower with the eight was built.

While not a primary resource for bell-historians, I can see this 
archive being very useful for background information, finding the 
dates of work on a church etc, and also as a source of photographs.

I have only looked at the online information (which has been up on 
the net since last year). Does anyone know how accessible are the 
offline archives, which appear to be comprehensive?

Bill H

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