Dagenham - Holy Family

Oxlow Lane, Dagenham, Essex RM9

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A modest but well-designed church in free Gothic style by W. C. Mangan, who designed a large number of Catholic churches, including St Peter’s at Dagenham (which is in his more familiar free Romanesque style).

A single anonymous benefactor gave a substantial donation towards the building costs of the church, which opened in March 1934. The cost, including the presbytery (which adjoins the church and was completed slightly earlier, in 1933) was £11,200. The architect was W. C. Mangan of Preston and London, a prolific designer of Catholic churches. The church was opened by Bishop Doubleday on 19 March 1934 and consecrated by Bishop Wall on 13 November 1958.

The church is in a modern brick version of the Gothic style. The walls are faced with red brick laid in Flemish bond and the single steeply-pitched roof is covered in pantiles. The plan comprises an aisleless nave with a west porch, apsidal-ended southwest baptistery, small projecting chapels on both sides at the east end and a short apsidal-ended sanctuary. The large tripartite west porch has a round-headed central doorway with mosaic decoration in the tympanum. A tall central round- headed window in the west wall is set in an elaborate brick surround against the steeply-pitched west gable. In the first bay on the south side is a single storey flat- roofed apsidal-ended baptistery. East of the baptistery the side walls are divided into six bays by brick pilaster strips and in each bay is a single round-headed window. Towards the east end on both sides are small transeptal projections with pitched roofs. There is a south eastern bellcote and an apsidal end to the sanctuary.

The interior has a western gallery with a modern timber front, parquet floor coverings, plastered walls above a bare brick dado and an open timber roof on massive concrete ribs springing from corbels in the side walls. The nave windows are clear-glazed, with some coloured quarries. The sanctuary has three round-headed openings on each side and two in the apse. Two of those on the south side open into the upper part of the side chapel. Those on the north side are windows, with a sedilia beneath. The apse windows have stained glass figures of St Thomas More and St John Fisher. In the centre of the apse is the marble high altar with an elaborate baldachin apparently installed in 1952 (ex.inf. Fr Stewart Foster). The sanctuary has been re-ordered with a nave altar, dedicated in 2008.

Diocese: Brentwood

Architect: Wilfrid Clarence Mangan

Original Date: 1933

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed