Aylesham - St Finbarr

Market Place, Aylesham, Kent CT3

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A  pre-fabricated  building,  bought  off-the-peg  in  1957  to  replace  a smaller earlier church in this 1920s mining village.

Aylesham  is  a  planned  village  erected  for  the  miners  of  the  nearby  Snowdown Colliery.  The village was laid out in 1926-27 by J Archibald, C T F Martindale and (Sir) Patrick Abercrombie is a vaguely Beaux Arts manner, with a central grassy square.  The first Catholic church was erected in 1929, extended by the addition of a school in 1934, bombed in 1941 and restored in 1948.   In 1950 a new site was purchased at one end of the central square and a design for a new church in a modern style was procured from J W Poltock ARIBA.   In the event, parish funds did not extend to such a building and a pre-fabricated structure was purchased from a firm in Salisbury, who doubtless had experience in providing such structures for the army. 

The church has a rectangular plan, with small rectangular projections in the middle of both sides and at the northeast corner.  The exterior is single storey, with a curved overall roof.   The walls are faced with precast pebbledash panels and the roof is a timber structure covered with felt.  The principal entrance is at the west end, where the central doorway has a canopy on thin struts and is flanked by two rectangular metal framed windows.  The end of the arched roof is faced with metal sheeting.  The side walls have widely-spaced curving buttresses and between them are pairs of rectangular metal framed windows.  The interior is a single large space with a modern parquet floor, and board linings to the walls and the curved ceiling.  The windows are all clear glazed.  At the west end is a deep gallery; the space beneath is used for toilets and other small rooms.   The furnishings are simple; apparently the altar furniture was made locally.

Diocese: Southwark

Architect: Messrs Reena Construction Ltd of Salisbury

Original Date: 1957

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed