Wood Green - St Paul the Apostle

Station Road, London N22

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A modern church whose cluttered-looking exterior belies an impressive interior space devised on a pentagram plan.

A mission was established in Wood Green in 1884 and a Romanesque-style church built in 1904, from designs by Edward Goldie.  This building was replaced in 1970-71 by a new hall and a large new church, designed by John Rochford and Partner of Sheffield, along with a new presbytery and school, all forming a single complex. The church seats 600. The church was originally flat-roofed; the pitched roof was added in 1984 (information from Chris Fanning).

The present church replaced the previous building on a confined site bounded on two sides by houses and on the others by a road and a school. The main church is in the form of a pyramidal-roofed pentagram built of bush-hammered reinforced concrete with brick facing panels and set cornerwise to the road.  The street frontage is occupied by a lower building containing the vestibule and side chapels which is faced with pre-cast concrete panels with round-headed openings, many containing stained glass from the old church. On the right of this forebuilding is a concrete mast topped by a cross. Behind the church are the hall, presbytery and primary school, functional structures which all form part of a single complex.

The main interior is a powerful space with the structural brick and concrete exposed in the walls and a grid of concrete ceiling beams with inset timber panels resting on a massive cross-beam over the sanctuary in the apex of the pentagram. The brick-paved floor slopes down to the sanctuary with ranks of bench seating. Natural light is provided by a strip clerestory around the top of the wall and by a hidden skylight which illuminates the sanctuary.  Facing the sanctuary along the base of the pentagram is a very large window now filled with pictorial stained glass by Carmel Cauchi on the theme of the Pilgrim Church which was installed in 1982. Below this window is a gallery space containing the Stations of the Cross made by M. Clarke, who also made the figure of St Paul on the sanctuary wall. On one side wall of the pentagram is the organ, on the other the glazed screen to the day chapel and the vestibule with its stained glass windows. 

The simple sanctuary fittings are presumably contemporary with the present church.  The stained glass windows reused in the vestibule are mostly early to mid-twentieth-century work by Jones & Willis, Goddard & Gibbs and others, brought from the old church.

Diocese: Westminster

Architect: John Rochford & Partner

Original Date: 1970

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not listed