Survey of London: Volume 26, Lambeth: Southern Area. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1956.
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CHURCHES OF THE ESTABLISHMENT
St. Luke's Church
The Lambeth Manor Inclosure Commissioners evidently foresaw the impending development of Norwood, for in their Award of 1810 they set aside 1½ acres of the Common for the erection of a church. (fn. 65) After the establishment of the Church Building Commissioners in 1818, the Lambeth Church Building Committee decided to make use of this site. (fn. 66) Legal difficulties arose, however, for the Inclosure Act had provided that on the land to be inclosed no building should be erected within 100 feet of any existing building without the owner's consent. (fn. 65) It seems to have been the original intention of the Commissioners that the church should be orientated east and west like St. Mark's, Kennington, and St. Matthew's, Brixton, but the west end of the building would then have come within less than 100 feet of the horns Tavern on the west side of Knight's Hill; (fn. 65) the Commissioners were therefore forced to agree that it should be built on a north-south axis. (fn. 67)
The first plan proposed by the Lambeth Church Building Committee was rejected by the Commissioners; three more plans were then submitted and eventually that of Francis Bedford was chosen. (fn. 67) His first proposal provided for the altar to be at the south end, but the Commissioners decided that even if the church could not a face east the congregation should do so, and a very odd arrangement whereby the pews stood facing the altar in the middle of the east side of the church was approved. (fn. 68) Building started in November 1822, the contractor “for the whole of the Works” (fn. 69) being Elizabeth Broomfield of I Marlborough Place, Walworth, (fn. n1) who at about the same time was also responsible for the brick-work at the churches of St. Peter's and Holy Trinity, Walworth. (fn. 71) At St. Luke's her contract was for £10,392. (fn. 69) In 1824 it was decided that, owing to “the very unexpected and extraordinary encrease of Buildings” (fn. 72) in the neighbourhood, galleries should be added. These were erected by Richard Humphries at a cost of £1,650. (fn. 73) The total cost of the church was £12,947, of which the Commissioners contributed £6,448, and the rest was raised by the parish of Lambeth. Accommodation was provided for 1,412 persons, and the church was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury on July 15, 1825. (fn. 65) Thus of the four “Waterloo” churches in Lambeth, St. Luke's was the last to be completed.
In 1838 £557 was spent on repairing the roof and replastering the cornices. In 1852 the church-wardens asked the Church Building Commissioners, who had been responsible for the inconvenient arrangement of the interior, to contribute to the cost of re-arranging the pews and the altar. (fn. 65) Unfortunately no record of the outcome of this request has been found, and it is likely that no major internal alterations were made until 1870, when George Edmund Street undertook the complete re-arrangement of the interior. (fn. 74)
Architecturally the church is not an outstanding example of the work of the Commissioners (Plates 3, 4b, 10). Its similarity to Holy Trinity, Newington, which was also designed by Francis Bedford, was criticised at the time, but of the three Classical churches in Lambeth which stand on important sites at road junctions (St. Matthew's, Brixton, and St. Mark's, Kennington, are the others), St. Luke's is the only one whose portico appears to great advantage.
St. Luke's has a simple rectangular plan, its major axis running north-south, with the entrance portico at the north end. Apart from such structural features as the original vestibule forming the base of the steeple, nothing of the original internal planning survived Street's drastic remodelling.
Fortunately, Street's commission did not extend to the exterior, beyond some minor changes to the windows. Superbly placed from the architectural standpoint, the church is dominated by its portico and related steeple. Hexastyle and of the Corinthian order, the portico is of picturesquely weathered Bath stone. Respondent antae mark each end of the inner face, which is of grey brick and contains a range of five doorways with windows over them. Doorways and windows have architraves of similar form, with tapered jambs and straight heads.
The portico entablature is continued on the side elevations, each presenting a grey brick face containing a range of six arch-headed windows, framed by architraves rising from a continued sill-band. The pilastered bay at the north end is a weak attempt to echo the placing of the steeple which rises from the roof ridge, and is in general form and details closely akin to Bedford's steeples at St. John's, Waterloo Road, and Holy Trinity, Newington. The high square pedestal stage contains a clock dial in each of its rusticated faces, and the succeeding belfry stage, also square in plan, has on each face a louvred recess between Doric columns coupled with corner antae. The entablature frieze has wreaths centred over the columns and there are acroteria at the corners. A smaller square pedestal, each die adorned with an anthemion panel, is surmounted by the octangular lantern, with eight “Tower of the Winds” columns supporting the entablature and flat pyramidal roof that mitres to a square pedestal finial. This is surmounted by an acanthus crown and a cross.
Within the shell of Bedford's pseudo-temple, Street contrived a High Victorian church interior, comprising a four-bay nave with aisles, and a chancel flanked by a chapel on the west and a choir vestry with organ chamber on the east. The style is Street's very personal Italianate Roman-esque; the materials are harsh and polychromatic. The stilted round arches of the nave arcades rise from plain shafted columns with stiff foliated capitals. An arcaded frieze supports the wall-plate of the panelled waggon roof, which is tied by moulded beams. The lunette above the chancel-arch is pierced by a triple arcade, and the wall behind the altar has two tiers of blind windows consisting of a range of five lights above two twin-lights. The high altar is now placed beneath a wide baldachino of simple Classical design. In the two blind windows above are tempera paintings executed in 1885 by W. Christian Symons, to designs by John Francis Bentley.
Christ Church, Gipsy Hill
In the 1860s Gipsy Hill was the scene of considerable building development and an iron church erected there in 1862 was soon filled to capacity every Sunday. Two years later the person applied to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who owned much of the land in the district, for a free-hold site for a permanent church, £1,600 having already been promised by his congregation as at contribution to the cost of building. (fn. 75) The site of the present church, which was designed by John Giles, (fn. 76) was freely given by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and the church (Plate 14d) was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester on June 7, 1867. The builder's contract was for under £7,500, including 40 feet of the tower. (fn. 76)
Christ Church is designed in Gothic style, and faced with Kentish ragstone with Bath stone dressings. The church comprises an apsidal chancel and nave with lean-to aisles; at the northeast corner there is a three-stage tower, surmounted by a short octagonal spire; the top stage, very French in inspiration, and more elaborate in treatment, was added in or before 1889, Messrs. Giles, Gough and Trollope being the architects. (fn. 77) The interior of the church is of simple design. There are six bays of arcading on each side of the nave, the arches rising from polished grey granite circular pillars with stiffly carved foliage capitals. The chancel arch has similar capitals with short pillars resting on corbels. The windows generally have plate tracery, that in the nave clerestory being very peculiar in design and proportion.
St. Peter's Church, Leigham Court Road
In or shortly before 1866 a temporary church accommodating 300 people was erected on the west side of Leigham Court Road opposite the present church. In 1870 land for a permanent church was freely given to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners by George Henry Drew and Richard Drew. (fn. 78) The new church was designed by Richard Drew, but only the eastern portion, comprising the chancel, vestries and three bays of the nave, was built. (fn. 79) In this unfinished state the church was consecrated on July 2, 1870. A Particular District was assigned in the same year, despite the opposition of the incumbent of St. Lucke's, Norwood, who protested that the new District would strip his parish of its last well-to-do area. (fn. 78)
In 1882 the parochial committee instructed G. H. Fellowes Prynne to prepare designs for the completion of the church. His first plans (which are illustrated in The Builder, July 17, 1886) provided for the addition of two more bays to the nave, a tower at the north-west corner and a terrace at the west end with a crypt below. On the north side there was to be an enlarged vestry, and on the south side a chapel with groined apsidal sanctuary. At the junction of the chancel and nave roofs he placed a flèche, which was to house the sanctus bell and form part of the ventilation system. These plans were put out to tender but the committee found it impossible to carry out the work. A second set of plans was also abandoned. A new committee was then formed, and Fellowes Prynne received fresh instructions “to make out a new scheme on somewhat hard and fast lines, rendering it necessary for him to make a building more picturesque than imposing”. (fn. 79) These plans provided for the addition of two bays to the nave and a projecting octagonal baptistery at the west end. The work was carried out in 1886–7, and the contractors were J. and C. Bowyer of Upper Norwood. (fn. 79)
St. Peter's (Plate 20, fig. 59) is sited on a confined plot of ground, rising towards the southeast and having a frontage on the west to Leigham Court Road. The west end of the church is therefore raised on a basement storey containing parish rooms, with an open staircase ascending to the principal porch at the south-west corner. The plan is simple, consisting of a nave of five arcaded bays opening to aisles, and a short square-ended chancel flanked on the south by the Lady Chapel and on the north by the organ chamber, with vestries beyond.
The original design was for a Decorated Gothic building in yellow brick banded and diapered in red, with Bath stone dressings. This scheme was followed in the additions by Fellowes Prynne, whose own distinctive style in more clearly seen in the highly picturesque west front. This balanced but slightly asymmetrical composition centres on the gabled end wall of the nave and the semi-octagonal baptistery that projects below it. This has two storeys and in each of the three outer faces is a two-light window for the basement and a triple-arcade of lancets lighting the baptistery. Buttresses with weathered offsets mark each angle, stopping at the corbel-table from which rises the steeply-pitched and hipped roof of red tile. Against the north and south faces of the semi-octagon are gabled buttresses linked by flyers to the octagonal turrets that flank the nave gable-end, with its great wheel-window of Geometrical tracery. Each turret finishes with a stage of small louvred lancets and a cone-shaped stone roof. The two-storeyed wings to the semioctagon differ in their fenestration, and that on the south side has a circular stair-turret projecting from its outer angle. The end wall of each aisle contains a window of two lights below a traceried head, and has at the outer angle a frontal and lateral buttress, the former rising to an octagonal pinnacle. The straight stone-coped parapets are linked by flying buttresses to the octagonal turrets flanking the nave.
The simple dignity of the interior arises from the general harmony of its proportions and the honest decorative use of building materials similar to those of the exterior. Stone columns with simply moulded bases and caps support the wide pointed arches of the nave arcades, which are formed in brickwork. Above each arch is a plastered panel, now whitened but probably intended for painted decoration, between engaged shafts rising from corbels to support the trusses of the open wooden roof. The aisles have lean-to roofs of low pitch, and to correspond with each bay of the arcade there is a three-light traceried window set with a plain reveal in the brick outer wall.
The east wall of the nave has a lunette with three foliated openings above the chancel-arch, the chancel being entered through a filigree screen of gilded wrought-ironwork below an oak rood beam. The Lady Chapel, which has a threesided apse, is entered through a wrought-iron screen of more robust design.
In the west wall of the nave, beneath the wheel-window, is an arch opening to the baptistery, where the lancet windows are screened by delicate arcades. The font is a handsome one of tawny alabaster and green marble. The pulpit, designed by F. E. Howard and executed by the Warren Guild in 1930, (fn. 80) and high-altar reredos are fine examples of design and craftsmanship based on traditional West Country models.
Emmanuel Church, Clive Road
The land for this church was freely given by John Westwood in 1876; a temporary church accommodating 430 people had already been erected in the vicinity in 1872. (fn. 81) The foundation stone of the permanent church was laid on July 8, 1876, by Francis Peek (fn. 82) and the first part of the church was consecrated on September 8 of the following year by the Bishop of Rochester. (fn. 81) The architect was E. C. Robins (fn. 81) and the builders T. H. Adamson and Sons. (fn. 82) A District Chapelry was assigned in 1878. (fn. 81) In 1893 the church was completed when the baptistery and the two westernmost bays of the nave were built. (fn. 83)
The church is a Gothic building faced with Kentish ragstone and Bath stone dressings. It has a clerestoried nave, with plate-traceried windows, flanked by lean-to aisles terminating in transepts. There is a small baptistery at the centre of the west end with entrance lobbies at each side. The sanctuary has an apsidal end and there is an incomplete buttressed tower at the north-east corner.
The interior is plain and faced with white gault bricks. There are four bays of stone arcading with foliated capitals separating the nave and aisles. The chancel and transept arches are tall and rest on engaged shafts borne by stone corbels.
St. Jude's Mission Church, Berridge Road
This building was erected in 1880 as a mission church for the parish of Christ Church, Gipsy Hill. The architect was Frederic W. Ledger. (fn. 84) It is a small plain stock brick building of little architectural pretence. There is a small porch fronting the road; over the east gable there is an open bellcote surmounted by a cross. The low projecting wings were designed for use as schoolrooms.
All Saints' Church, Rosendale Road
Despite its present unfinished state All Saints' is an impressive example of late 19th century church building, and represents the mature work of an architect, G. H. Fellowes Prynne, whose personal style was distinctive enough to survive the strong influence of his master, G. E. Street.
In the 1880s parts of West Dulwich were still undeveloped, and a temporary iron church in Rosendale Road supplied the spiritual needs of the district. Proposals to build a permanent church were first put forward by the West Dulwich New Church Building Committee in 1887, and shortly afterwards the Estates Governors of Dulwich College promised to present a site. (fn. 85) The foundation stone of the church was laid by the Bishop of Rochester on October 31, 1888, and the completed portion of the building was opened under licence on October 31,1891. The entire cost, amounting to about £16,000, was met by gifts from the inhabitants of the district. The site was conveyed free of charge to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1893, and the church was consecrated on November 13,1897. A Consolidated Chapelry was formed in 1899. (fn. 85) The church was damaged by enemy action in 1944, and when the work of restoration was carried out in 1952 a belfry designed by J. B. S. Comper was erected in memory of the parishioners killed in the war of 1939–45.
The church (Plate 21, fig. 60) was designed on a generous scale for a congregation of some 1,400, with a plan probably derived from the great hall churches of Catalonia (also a favourite prototype with Street) consisting of a wide and long nave joined to a short and narrow apsidalended chancel. Here the nave was intended to have seven arcaded bays, the westernmost four opening to narrow aisles while the easternmost three open to chapels. The Lady Chapel on the north side forms in effect a small church, being wider than the south chapel of All Souls and having a narrow chancel of three arcaded bays with a three-sided apse and an ambulatory.
Splayed bays link the nave to the chancel, which consists of one wide bay terminated by a seven-windowed apse and surrounded by an ambulatory. The three westernmost bays of the nave, with the semi-circular baptistery and flanking porches, remain unbuilt.
The building is correctly orientated and sited along the south side of a large triangular plot of ground that falls sharply towards the east, lying between the two roads that converge from different levels to meet at the north-west point of the triangle. Consequently, the chancel end is raised on a lofty basement, with fine dramatic effect, and the whole composition was designed to appear at best advantage from the north viewpoint.
In style the building is Gothic of an eclectic nature; the east end, for instance, might well have been inspired by the cathedral at Erfurt. The exterior, of red brick dressed with stone, is dominated by the chancel apse, where the elongated three-light windows are ranged between offset buttresses, linked near their bases by flyers to the gable-ended buttresses of the ambulatory and basement. The ambulatory is lit by small lancets, three in each bay, and the basement windows are deeply recessed behind open arches. Ambulatory and basement arcade continue as a unifying motif around the Lady Chapel chancel, beneath its small-scale clerestory of two-light windows, stopping against a round cone-roofed stair turret. Chancel and chapel walls are finished with coped parapets, the former being underlined by a corbel-table, and above them rise the steeply-pitched slated roofs. The side elevation of the Lady Chapel nave is simple in treatment, with two tiers of lancet windows grouped in threes within the three buttressed bays, and a steep gable-ended roof that conceals the clerestory of the main nave. This last has a wide-spreading roof that continues the pitch and ridgeline of the chancel roof, although the junction is defined by the base of an intended flèche, approached by open stairs on the roof slope. The architect originally intended to flank the body of the church with two tall and slender towers, placed anglewise and rising off the splayed junction walls between nave and chancel. These would have combined with the flèche to produce the skyline relief for which the present pyramidalroofed belfry can only be regarded as an inadequate substitute.
The interior is spacious and very impressive, a finely controlled design carried out in yellow and red brick dressed with stone, with a pointed waggon vault of wood. The nave bay divisions are strongly articulated by moulded brick piers with stone shafts on their cardinal faces, those on the nave side rising to carry the groined sections of the vault. The nave arcades have moulded brick arches of nearly semi-circular form. Over each arch is a large panel intended for colour decoration and above this the three lancets of the clerestory, the middle one rising into the lunette formed by the groining. Superimposed arches penetrate the splayed walls flanking the great chancel arch which contains the most striking feature of the interior—a stone screen of three tall arches with foliated heads rising from slender shafts of Devonshire marble, the lunette being filled with tracery consisting of a cinquefoil between two quatrefoils. The shafts are linked by girders of delicate wrought-ironwork forming a rood-beam. This screen, which has its counterparts in several of Prynne's churches, was probably inspired by the late-Gothic stone screens in the Essex churches of Stebbing and Great Bardfield. Each side wall of the chancel has a wide and lofty arch, its moulded head dying into massive piers. Within the arch is a gallery supported on a light screen of three arches, the north gallery being intended for musicians and the south containing the organ. A climax of light is produced by the seven tall three-light windows of the apse, where the high altar stands against a simple background of draped walls flanked by interlacing arcades containing the statues of sixteen saints.
In the Lady Chapel architectural interest is centred on the chancel, with its arcade of pointed arches rising from round columns and its clerestory of two-light windows ranged between shafts that rise from corbel-heads to support the groined intersections of the wood vault. Here, and in All Souls' Chapel, is the best of the stained glass remaining in the church, which includes examples of the work of Burlison and Grylls, B. Barber and Sir Ninian Comper.
St. Paul's Children's Church, Elder Road
This church was originally a Mission Hall for St. Luke's, Norwood. It was built in 1897, James C. Wright being the architect and Mr. Bugg the builder, and cost £1,335. (fn. 86) It is a plain stock brick building of no architectural pretence. The west gable has a tablet inscribed with the date 1897.
Church of St. John the Evangelist, Guernsey Grove
In 1902 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners voted £350 from the City Parochial Charities fund towards the cost of purchasing a site for a mission church for the parish of Holy Trinity, Tulse Hill; another £350 was raised by local subscriptions, and a temporary iron church was erected in 1905. The foundation stone of the present church was laid on June 17, 1911, by the Rev. H. Woffindin, vicar of Holy Trinity. The architect was Leonard Martin, and the estimate of the contractors, Messrs. F. and H. F. Higgs, was for £3,925. The church was dedicated by the Bishop of Southwark on January 20, 1912. (fn. 87)
St. John's Church (Plate 15d) is a simple red brick building having a nave and chancel with three-light Perpendicular Gothic east and west windows. Its liturgical arrangement is reversed with the altar at the west end and the entrance porch on the Guernsey Grove frontage. The red tiled roof is punctuated by an octagonal shingled flèche near the east end. The floor of the nave is raised well above street level, and there is a church hall beneath.
ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
St. Matthew's Roman Catholic Church, Norwood High Street
St. Matthew's was opened on April 2, 1905; the architect was probably F. W. Tasker. The church has a nave and sanctuary flanked by lean-to aisles; it was lengthened at the east end in 1937. After damage by enemy action in 1940 the west end was rebuilt in 1949–50 with a two-storey brick front containing a central entrance with side lobbies; the architect was Donald Plaskett Marshall. Set in a round arch over the entrance is a stone statue of St. Matthew carved by Joseph Cribb, an associate of Eric Gill. (fn. 88)
Chapel Road Congregational Church
This building was erected between 1819 and 1821 on land bought by William Salter from Benjamin Shaw, to whom it had been allotted by the Lambeth Manor Inclosure Commissioners. (fn. 89) The church (Plate 26a) has a plain stock brick body made more imposing by a taller pedimented front which is stuccoed and contains a recessed Ionic porch at the centre. The flanking stuccoed wings have round-arched windows and were built as Sunday schools.
Primitive Methodist Chapel, Windsor Grove
This chapel was erected by the Wesleyan Methodists in 1838; the congregation soon outgrew the building and built a larger chapel at Knight's Hill (see below). The chapel in Windsor Grove was subsequently occupied by the Primitive Methodists (fn. 90) but is now used for commercial purposes. It is a small stock brick building with three narrow round-headed windows on the road front.
Congregational Church, Park Hall Road
The foundation stone of a small Congregational chapel in Rosendale Road was laid on October 7, 1851, by the Rev. J. Burnet. The building soon proved too small and a larger chapel was erected at the corner of Chancellor Grove and Park Hall Road, and opened in 1855. (fn. 91) The foundation stone of the chapel in Rosendale Road was incorporated in the fabric of the new chapel, and two inscribed stones record that “THE STONE BENEATH THIS IS THE FOUNDATION STONE OF THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHAPEL IN DULWICH”; and below “THIS STONE WAS LAID BY THE REV. J. BURNET, OCTOBER 7TH 1851”. The chapel was destroyed by enemy action in the war of 1939–45.
West Norwood Methodist Church, Knight's Hill
This church was erected in 1852–3; a chancel was added in 1894. (fn. 92) It is a small stock brick building with a ragstone front in Norman style.
Baptist Chapel, Chatsworth Way
This chapel was erected in 1876–7 at a cost of about £6,000, including £500 for the site. The architects were Edward Power and Wheeler and the builders were Newman and Mann. In 1900 a hall was built at the back, the architect being R. W. Moore and the builders Higgs and Hill. (fn. 93) The chapel and hall were destroyed by enemy action in 1944.
Upper Norwood Methodist Church, Westow Hill
This church occupies a stock brick building designed in the Early English Gothic style and erected in 1874; (fn. 82) the south front is faced with Kentish ragstone. At the south-west corner there is a tower surmounted by a stone spire.
Roupell Park Methodist Church, Norwood Road
The foundation stone of this church (Plate 27b) was laid on June 11, 1879, and the building was completed in the following year. (fn. 94) The architect was Charles Bell and the builders J. and C. Bowyer. (fn. 82) The church is designed in Early English Gothic style and is faced with Kentish ragstone with Bath stone dressings. At the north-east corner there is a tower supporting a stone spire. The side aisles have transverse roofs which are gabled, and the west end is apsidal. A clock was erected in the tower in 1888. The cost of the church amounted to about £15,000. (fn. 95)
Gipsy Road Baptist Church
This church was erected in 1881–2 at a cost of £5,000, probably by Richard Henry Marshall, builder. The church was extended in 1890. (fn. 96) It is a brick building of simple Gothic character, with a Kentish ragstone front, and is approached by a steep staircase.
St. Cuthbert's Presbyterian Church of England, Thurlow Park Road
This church was erected in 1901 to the designs of Arthur Owen Breeds. (fn. 97) The building is prominently sited above the road and is built of red brick with stone dressings. At the northwest corner there is a tower surmounted by a short copper spire.