Mile End - The Guardian Angels

Mile End Road, London E3

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A red brick Perpendicular church with a distinctive tower, built by F. A. Walters for the family of the Duke of Norfolk as a memorial to Lady Margaret Howard, who had performed charitable work in the East End. It includes several original and historic furnishings. With the adjoining presbytery, also by Walters, and Leonard Stokes’s primary school, the church belongs to an important and prominent ensemble of historic buildings in the Clinton Road Conservation Area.

The history of the mission and church is described in the list entry (see below).

The builders for the church were James Smith & Sons of Norwood. The total cost of the church was about £11,000. Originally, the sacristy was in the crypt and the southeast chapel dedicated to the Sacred Heart (from 1977 the sacristy).

F. A. Walters’s drawings for the presbytery in the RIBA collection are dated September to December 1903, suggesting it was built after the church. The builders were Holloway Brothers of Victoria Wharf. Walters also designed a new entrance to the Boys’ School from Whitman Road (RIBA, PA1168/5(9)).

The church was consecrated on 5 October 1927. A new organ was installed above the Lady Chapel, which was blessed by Archbishop Goodier in March 1931. In March 1932, F. A. Walters & Son designed a Sacred Heart altar for the church (PA UNCAT/7).

The immersion font and large nave altar date from a reordering in the 1980s by Mattia del Prete with the architect Antonio Incognito of Rome. The church is home to a number of communities of the Neo-Catechumenate Way


  • The east window was  given by the fifteenth Duke of Norfolk in memory of his sister, Lady  Margaret Howard.
  • The southeast  chapel was converted to a sacristy in 1977.
  • The wrought-iron gates by Bainbridge Reynolds include also those to the sacristy.
  • The ‘openwork altar   by Earp and Hobbs’ in the list entry presumably means the reredos and canopy  designed by F. A. Walters and made by Earp and Hobbs.
  • The reordering  which included the immersion font and the nave altar are by Mattia del   Prete (not Matteo del Preti as spelled in the list description) with the   architect Antonio Incognito of Rome.
  • The original octagonal stone font survives in the narthex. This may be the font from   the first, temporary mission church.
  • The original sacristy is in the crypt below the east end. It is now a parish room but retains  a memorial tablet to Lady Margaret Howard (died 1899).

Diocese: Westminster

Architect: F. A. Walters

Original Date: 1901

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II