Worthing - St Michael

19 Hayling Rise, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3AL

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An unusual church with an attractive and devotional interior.  Of much interest but unlikely to be of sufficient interest from a national perspective on 1960s church architecture to be listable.

St Michael’s was opened on 25th April 1966 and cost £60,000.  The architect was Felix A Jones of Jones & Kelly of Dublin, the builders were Keith Andrews.  There is a story that the original design was by a German architecture student but that building problems (possibly due to a mix up over metric and imperial measurements) led to the substitution of Jones & Kelly of Dublin.  I have not been able to verify this story and The Worthing Herald of 8th April 1966 gave the architects as Jones & Kelly of Dublin.   The building departs entirely from the accepted appearance of a church.  The main body of the building is a square that has subsequently been divided into two equal halves, one the church and one a hall, set back to back and with a screen that can be folded back to unite the two spaces.  The church space has a large raised lantern to give extra height and top light.  Attached to the south is a Lady Chapel and entrance lobby, to the east is the sacristy with a second hall above, separately accessed by an external staircase.  The building is of brick and concrete. The building is set on a plinth, on sloping ground, and from the approach builds up in a satisfying sequence of cubes.  Inside, all is exposed yellow brick, softened by varnished timber for ceilings and some parts of walls.  The interior of the church is largely lit by the raised lantern over the eastern parts.  Deep buttresses provide the structural support.  On the north side these enclose a side chapel with dramatic side lighting and coloured glass.  Stations of the cross by David O’Connell (1895-1976).  Mural on the screen signed ‘Desby Macklin, paint by Macklin C Aureggi’.  Coloured glass by The Irish Stained Glass Company of Dublin.

Jones & Kelly also designed churches at Newton-le-Willows and Widnes in Lancashire.  The firm of Jones & Kelly was established by Alfred E, Jones, in 1919;  continued by Felix A. Jones (son) & Elizabeth Jones-Fleming (daughter) and is now run by Alfred E. Jones (grandson).

Diocese: Arundel and Brighton

Architect: Felix A Jones of Jones & Kelly

Original Date: 1966

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed