Chatham - The Sacred Heart

Street End Road, Luton, Chatham ME5

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A small, functional chapel, built in 1949 as a dual-purpose church and parish hall, with a sanctuary capable of being divided off. It is of little architectural or historical significance.

The site was acquired in the late 1940s. The foundation stone was laid by the parish priest of Chatham on 26 June 1949. The chapel was a multi-purpose building, whose nave served as a hall, with a screened-off sanctuary. Originally, it was planned to build a presbytery, school and separate hall on the remainder of the land. However, Luton never became viable as parish and remained a chapel of ease to Chatham. The multi-purpose use of the nave has since lapsed. In the 1980s, the remainder of the site was sold to the NHS who built a medical centre there.

The chapel is facing south. This description uses the conventional liturgical orientation. 

The chapel was built in 1949. It is a steel-framed building, with red bricks laid in stretcher bond with soldier courses, and a tiled ridged roof. It has functional metal- framed windows. The plan is T-shaped, with a flat-roofed ‘transept’ and entrance porch at the west. The west facade is a succession of receding elements, from the porch  to  the  transept with  the gable behind and  above.  There  is  a cross-shaped ventilator opening in the gable front.

The west transept has several ancillary rooms: the sacristy at the south, and a small room to the north, with storage cupboards and a toilet each. The four-bay nave has little decoration, apart from the framed Stations of the Cross. There is a chancel arch which still has the original folding screen formerly used to divide the sanctuary and the nave. To its left is a statue of the Virgin Mary, with a crucifix above. The sanctuary has a timber high altar with painted panels of angels kneeling on either side of the monstrance throne. To the side is a statue of the Sacred Heart. The forward altar is of timber and, like the remainder of the furnishings, modern. A corridor at the south leads to a space behind the sanctuary which has the boiler (the chapel is heated with hot air), a small kitchen, and another small meeting room.

Diocese: Southwark

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1949

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed