Incorporated Church Building Society

CHRIS PICKFORD c.j.pickford.t21 at b...
Tue May 25 22:19:47 BST 2004

I've made very extensive use of the ICBS material, both for my books on Bedfordshire churches - I looked at every file for the county - and also for the work I'm now doing on Warwickshire and Birmingham. I'd just looked at a couple of plans online, as it happens, immediately before the postings from Bill and Anne arrived!

The material is very useful indeed, though I don't think (from memory) that I've ever come across anything specifically on bells which were outside the Society's objectives. But its very good for churches. The files contain not just the plans, but application forms, correspondence and odds and ends like appeal leaflets.

The original material is readily accessible at Lambeth Palace Library - and I expect the access conditions are stated on the website somewhere. Basically, you need a reader's ticket for which you may need a letter of recommendation - but it's only a formality. Unless things have changed in the last twelve months or so, once you have a ticket you can just turn up during advertised opening hours and the stuff can be got out within a few minutes.

Church Plans online is excellent, and certainly for identifying material for closer study. When I started using the stuff they only had a "first letter" index of places - not even in proper alphabetical order - and you could waste a lot of time just checking to see if they had a file on a particular church. It's all much improved now. It's tempting to only use the online stuff, though, which means that its easy to miss the real goodies in the actual files!


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