The Friends of St Mary’s

Join Us or Support Us


The ‘Friends’ is a registered (non-religious) charity formed to help preserve the ancient Norman church of St Mary’s Handsworth for future generations. This is a building of great historic importance as the founders of the Industrial Revolution: Watt, Boulton and Murdoch all worshiped here and are buried or commemorated inside.

The charity was founded in 1986 when funds were desperately needed to replace the church roof which had extensive dry rot. About eight years later more funds were needed to restore the James Watt Memorial Chapel (housing his white marble statue). James Watt lived in Handsworth and attended the meetings of the Lunar Society with William Murdock, Josiah Wedgewood and Erasmus Darwin at nearby Soho House, Matthew Boulton’s home, which is now a public museum.

In recent years, the charity has paid for the replacement of all the lighting and paving around the church and complete refurbishment of the old vestries.

With over sixty members, mainly local people, we offer a warm welcome to new members who are welcome to join us at our fish & chip quiz nights and annual dinner.

Despite inflation since 1986, our annual membership subscription has remained at £12 and Life membership is still offered for £100.

If you would like to join us as a member or simply support us, please email our Treasurer: or call 07962 895395 for more information.