South Woodford - St Anne Line

Grove Crescent, South Woodford, London E18

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A post-Vatican II church on an octagon-within-a-square-plan. The most significant furnishing is the  statue of St Anne  Line  by Joseph Cribb, which has now been moved inside the church.

The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Wall on 20 May 1965 and the church was opened on 25 March 1966. The architect was D. M. Blouett and the builders Messrs R. W. Lockwood of Ilford. The cost was £41,570. As the first church in the Diocese to open after the Second Vatican Council, the church was planned with a free-standing altar and without a pulpit. A statue of Anne Line (who was canonised in 1970) by Joseph Cribb, a pupil of Eric Gill, was installed in 1967 (cost £400).

The altar rails were removed in the 1970s. In the early 1980s, the tabernacle was moved to the side, in front of a door to the sacristy, and the font was moved to the sanctuary, while a children’s chapel was created in the baptistery. The current parish priest has moved the tabernacle to a position on the other side of the altar and returned the font to the restored baptistery. In c.2009 the hall was built against the rear of church, on the site of a former boiler house and a small sacristy. The new hall, whose brickwork and window match those of the church, includes a new altar servers’ sacristy and has a grass roof. The architects were Hibbs & Walsh of Saffron Walden, who also replaced the clerestory windows in the lantern of the church at the same time. After suffering from vandalism, Cribb’s statue of St Anne Line was moved from outside the entrance to a side chapel.

The corner of the church which contains the sanctuary is facing southwest. This description uses the conventional, liturgical orientation, i.e. as if that corner was facing east.

The  church  is  a  steel-framed  structure  with  panels  of  Ibstock  brickwork  laid  in Flemish bond. The roof is covered in copper and has a low octagonal lantern with a horizontal window band and a fibreglass cross on its apex. The plan of the church is square, with the main entrance porch and the baptistery at the west, a smaller porch at the north, and a projecting chapel on the northeast side. The gabled centres of the southwest and northwest sides have panels of pre-cast stone pierced by small rectangular windows filled with mostly clear glass and rose-coloured glass forming full-height crosses. Other windows have clear glass divided by full-height pre-cast stone mullions.

Inside, the foundation stone is set into the wall to the north of the entrance. The sunken baptistery with the octagonal stone font and metal railings is to the south of the entrance. The ceiling is panelled in African mahogany. The northeast side has a confessional beside the side-lit Lady Chapel with a timber statue of Our Lady on a stone altar. Above the Chapel is the gallery with the electric organ.

The sanctuary has a crucifix in the east corner, a stone altar with a suspended fibreglass canopy over and a timber lectern. To the north of the altar is the tabernacle with the Agnus Dei on a timber stand. The southeast chapel used to be as deep as the Lady Chapel but was curtailed as part of the hall extension. It now houses the statue of St Anne Line by Joseph Cribb. The doors to the south of the chapel used to be part of a confessional but now lead into the corridor to the new hall and toilets.

The floor is of African mahogany woodblock and the recently added Stations of the Cross are of a conventional design.

Diocese: Brentwood

Architect: D. M. Blouett, associate: Gordon Spence

Original Date: 1965

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed