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Beautiful Buildings and Healthy Minds

I took the title of this article from the news page of the Churches Conservation Trust, the subject of which was the beautiful church of Saint Mary at the Quay, Ipswich. This medieval church is to be transformed into a mental health well-being centre.

Reading the article got me thinking about the remarkable ‘energy’ stored within the naves and chancels of our churches. Whatever your beliefs, sceptics and worshippers alike can gain a sense of well-being from a visit to a building which is a rich tapestry encompassing a multitude of disciplines and effects.


Throughout this year, I was lucky enough to be commissioned to photograph some of the Churches Conservation Trusts (CCT) buildings. The CCT take under their wing churches which are at risk.

Upon visiting, I felt enchanted and exhilarated by the privilege of being able to be a part of such a cultural soufflé of intent and aspiration. Yet, equally I felt exasperated at not being able to put my finger upon why churches have such an effect upon my sceptical C21st century iPad engrossed, twitterised mind.

I think it has something to do with the aspirational nature of the design, combined with the stories and associations set within, on top of the cultural richness of the art upon display.

Looking back at some of the photographs that I took, I think that I tried to find the answers through the lens. I would like to share them below, in the hope that the reader might stop awhile, amidst this magnificent architectural vein in our cultural strata, and experience a little of the satisfaction that I found.


Andy Marshall is a freelance architectural photographer with a qualified background in heritage and historic building conservation. As a part of his Post Graduate Diploma in Historic Building Conservation, he won the College of Estate Management Harold Samuel Prize for his thesis on Genius Loci in Architecture. Andy believes passionately that the best images come about through ‘informed understanding’.

You can see more of Andy’s work here and read what others think of his work here.


You can see more of Andy’s work here and read what others think of his work here.
Andy Marshall is a member of ProjectBook which has been created to help owners of listed or period properties understand how their buildings work and to help them find appropriate craftsmen, products and specialist information. The online Heritage Register contains over 540 registered businesses, the largest directory of its type in the UK. For more information, visit