The Church of St Jacques in Abbeville Will Be Destroyed

8/2/13 - Heritage - Abbeville, Church of Saint Jacques - It was, alas, predictable. The mayor of Abbeville, Nicolas Dumont, got what he wanted. By not doing a thing to stop the deterioration of the church of Saint Jacques, he achieved his purpose : the church will be demolished as of next Monday, following the expert’s report and the unanimous vote of the municipal council.

The job of mayor is no sinecure. It holds responsibilities which are supposed to be carried out. His management of this affair is absolutely scandalous and we hope the citizens of Abbeville will remember it next time they go to the polls.
Eighty percent of the city was destroyed during the two world wars, but what the German bombs missed will now fall due to the negligence of the city’s officials. Nicolas Dumont’s term as mayor of this city will be a permanent blight on its historical record.

However, this in no way diminishes the role of the French Ministry of Culture in charge of heritage protection and its accountability. The Neo-Gothic church of Saint Jacques deserved to be listed as a historical monument for at least three reasons : its intrinsic architectural qualities, the manner in which it fit in with the city’s urban landscape and the fact that it is one of the few monuments to have survived the wars.

Another act of official vandalism is already raising its ugly head on the horizon in Abbeville. There are indeed plans to extend the Musée Boucher-de-Perthes. We had already explained here that the church of Saint Jacques could have been transformed into an interesting annex but this option was never really the object of any serious consideration. The projected work (which for the moment has been delayed due to a reduced budget) provides for a structure at the foot of the belfry which is listed as a historical monument. This is totally inacceptable. Will the residents of Abbeville allow their elected officials to destroy what little heritage remains ?

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Didier Rykner, mardi 12 février 2013

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