LXXXVIII—CHRISTCHURCH, ALBANY STREET
This church, consecrated on 13th July, 1837, was the first to be built
under Bishop Blomfield's church extension scheme. It was designed by
James Pennethorne but altered and decorated, in 1867, by William Butterfield. It stands at the north corner of Redhill Street (formerly Edward
Street) where its southern arm enters Albany Street from the east, the
ceremonial east being slightly west of north.
The church is built of yellow brick into which is introduced a considerable amount of stucco and some stone. Its treatment is classical, in one
order, the four angles being marked by massive tower-like features, with a
slight projection from the main face. A deep stucco entablature surrounds
the whole, with moulded cornice (the soffit furnished with mutules or shallow
blocks), frieze studded with large paterae and a central projecting entrance
of stucco flanked by large pilasters carrying the projecting entablature,
crowned by a low pediment. Within the pilasters is a lofty door recessed and
enclosed by a moulded architrave with slightly marked ears. Three small
rectangular lights are pierced in the wall immediately below the entablature
and beneath them is a length of horizontal moulding. Between the porch
and the angle towers are two arched windows, one each side, with stuccoed
heads, moulded imposts and moulded sills separating them from a rectangular
opening below. The whole stands on a double-moulded plinth. Over the
entablature is a high brick parapet, above which the towers rise some eight
or nine courses, both being furnished with a moulded stucco coping. In the
centre is a brick tower of three stages covered by a steeple. The first stage
is of brick with projections on each face; the next has twelve columns and
entablature following the plan below with two columns to each face and one
at each angle; the third stage is octagonal with a clock face towards the
cardinal points beneath an arched opening flanked by pilasters that by their
projection leave the diagonal faces recessed. The cornice to this stage provides
a shaped base to the octagonal steeple which was furnished with a ball and
cross, but is now truncated owing to war damage. (Plate 86.)
Christchurch, Albany Street, plan
The west elevation along Albany Street has five windows, with semicircular arched heads, similar to those on the south, separated from one
another by brick pilasters which stand on the plinth and have stucco caps and
bases. On this face, each angle tower has a doorway of commanding height
surrounded by a heavy architrave and surmounted by a pedimental over-door
carried on side consoles.
The interior is a simple parallelogram with galleries and a recess
for the altar, lined with marble and mosaic. The church has an elaborate inlaid marble floor, laid at the time of Butterfield's alterations. The
stained glass windows include one from the design of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
It is the second window in the east wall (ritual south) from the entrance and
comprises three panels illustrating the Sermon on the Mount. The window
was made in memory of Miss M. M. Polidori, who died 8th February, 1867.
Rossetti's mother's name before her marriage was Frances Mary Lavinia
Polidori. Her brother was John William Polidori (1795–1821). The following memorial tablets are in the church—
Rev. James Duncan, Curate, 1895.
Rev. Henry William Burrows, perpetual curate, 1878.
Rev. Fielding Fielding-Ould, Vicar, 1930 (shield of arms).
War Memorial (1914–18).
Rev. John Wogan Festing, Vicar and Bishop of St. Albans, 1902.
George Elliott Vinicombe Elsworthy, 1899.
Walter Batteshall Gill, M.D., 1900.
Frederick William Leman, 1865.
Mary Ann Wildey, 1884.
Auguste Vaughan, 1880.
Arthur Webb, 1908.
Alice Louise Beattie, 1906.
Alexander Colpoys Beattie, 1918.
Frank Sticklen, 1929.
Maud Emmeline Barnett, 1920.
Nora Gladstone Fielding-Ould, 1923.
Flora McDonald Hawkins, 1920.
Sir Richard Whielden Barnett, Kt., 1930.
Amelia Bridget Peachey, 1887.
The incumbents were—
|1850||Henry William Burrows|
|1878||John Wogan Festing, D.D.|
|1890||Frederick Thomas Hetling|
|1900||Francis William Dehane Small|
|1905||Bernard Day Douglas Shaw|
|1908||John Brian Booth|
|1930||Richard Swann Swan-Mason, O.B.E.|
|1942||William Valentine Croot Rose|
William Dodsworth (1798–1861) was educated at Trinity College,
Cambridge, was in 1829 minister of the Margaret Street Chapel, Cavendish
Square, and in 1837 became perpetual curate of Christchurch. He resigned
in 1851 to join the Roman Catholic Church and wrote a number of books in
support of its doctrine.