Major restoration project under way at Dudley's Top Church - with VIDEO
A £500,000 project is underway to revamp a historic Black Country church that was under threat of closure.
The St Thomas and St Luke Church, known locally as 'Top Church', has started work on a major renovation project.
The church pews are being ripped out and ladders and tarpaulin have taken their place as the work has begun.
The pews are being removed permanently and will be replaced by chairs to make the space more "flexible."
Top Church is a landmark building on Dudley High Street that currently welcomes a congregation of over 100 people.
The Rev James Treasure, vicar of the church, put together the plans for the revamp in October 2018.
He said: "It gives us a multi-purpose and flexible space to use the church, we can hire it out or use it for different events.
"It will be massive for Dudley and the community and has really saved the church from the threat of closure.
"We'll have a more creative space to worship and people can engage more with the heritage of the church, which pews currently restricts.
"It is all part of a larger plan from the Anglican church to showcase more vibrant and life-giving churches.
"We've found that inner-city churches, in particular, are becoming less attended so this work aims to open up the church to new members."
The work will cost a large proportion of the £500,000 to complete, which is part of a grant of more than £2 million that was given to the church by the church commission.
The work is expected to take around four months to complete.
Other funds will go towards employing new staff and restoring the stain glass windows, memorials and crypts.
The Rev James Treasure added: "We are all about opening up to the community and hosting more communities.
"That is why this work is so important to ensure that the church becomes a multi-person space."
Founded in 1818, the church is one of the Black Country's most iconic buildings.