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FIGHT THE
GOOD
FIGHT
St Andrew the Great, Cambridge, has been seeking a sympathetic new use for six years. Nicholas Hellawell reports that an acceptable answer may have been found.

The parish church of St Andrew the Great stands on the west side of St Andrewís Street at the entrance to the recent Lion Yard shopping area and opposite the main gate of Christís College. The former church was entirely destroyed in 1842 when the present building, to the design of Sir Ambrose Poynter, was built by public subscription in the fifteenth century style and consecrated in 1843. Externally the walls are of ashlar with crenellated parapets. Internally it consists of a five bay aisled nave with galleries and a sanctuary projecting a short distance beyond the east wall of the aisles. There is a west tower: the western vestry and south porch were added later.
The church contains the only memorial in Britain to Captain James Cook RN and several members of his family, as well as a floor slab to his wife and one son who died while attending Christís College.
The architect, Sir Ambrose Poynter (1796ó1886), was a founder member of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1834. An architect of national standing, he was the author of several other important buildings in Cambridge including St Paulís church, Hills Road, and cited along with Rickman, Salvin and Blore as one of the four best known church architects of the pre-Pugin period.
St Andrew the Great is a remarkable example of the opení attitude to religion, church design and society. Its planning reflects a classical model, its detail is Gothicí and the construction by incorporating columns of east iron embraces the latest technology.
St Andrew the Great was declared redundant in November 1984 and offered by the Diocese of Ely on the open market with the benefit of outline planning permission for community, educational and restaurant use. Subsequently a change of use to Heritage Centre and Tourist Information Centre was also granted. Many enquirers stated that the Council could not expect the church to be retained and re-ordered if a commercial use was excluded.
Research had shown the Council that precedent in church conversion, whatever the chosen new use, could offer very few examples of sympathetic work with many
ruined internally by insensitive or unnecessary sub-division or, externally, by Out of character fenestration being inserted into walls and roofs. The challenge for the
Council, therefore, became twofold: to show that a Ďnon-commercialí use could be achieved in the church to complement the commercial and collegiate buildings around it; and to have a scheme which would retain the fine spatial qualities of the interior and the setting of the Cook memorial, to the benefit of both.
The church was listed Grade II in
1984.


SHOPPING REFUSED
It will, perhaps, not be a surprise that, despite the planning constraints, the Diocese accepted a tender from Grosvenor Square Properties which in 1985 submitted a proposal for developing the church as five unit shops. This was to be achieved by extending the gallery across the west end by one bay to the east and providing a wall beneath its front edge transversely across the aisles and
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