Acton West - The Holy Family

Vale Lane, London W3

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A mid-1960s church with an elongated polygonal plan, reflecting a desire to reconcile post-Vatican II liturgical planning with the long, narrow site. It has a bold, almost aggressive, external appearance, and a more attractive, light interior. The church lies within, but does not make a special contribution, to the local conservation area.

The site was acquired form Sir Cyril Black in June 1962. Its irregular shape suggested the idea of a five-sided building with the sanctuary at the apex of the two long sides. Work began in September 1966, a commemorative stone was laid on 1 April 1967 and the church was complete in November of the same year.

A decidedly 1960s design with a strong external appearance but, in the words of The Buildings of England, an ‘ungainly profile’. Its form is best understood from the inside out. The reinforced concrete framing is cranked inwards and rises in three stages. The infill consists of a lower level of bare, light brown brick. Its walls are formed in three stages: first an area of bare brick walling, then an inward sloping stage bounded by timber bands, and finally a continuous clerestory. Externally the lower stage is of bare brick and the sloping stage is aluminium-clad. The roof is flat. The light, spacious interior is a good deal more appealing than the exterior.

There are no furnishings or fittings needing specific mention other than a crucifix by Michael Clark and the dalle de verre glass in various windows.

Diocese: Westminster

Architect: Westmore & Partners (project architect P. J. Mabley)

Original Date: 1966

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed