Swindon - Holy Family

Marlowe Avenue, Park North, Swindon, Wiltshire SN3

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A post-Vatican II church built to serve a suburban housing estate, square on plan and with a central altar lit by a raised lantern/clerestory. 

In 1961 plans were prepared by Ivor Day & O’Brien for a large church and convent at Marlowe Avenue, serving the estates of Walcot, Park North and Park South. Junior and infant schools and the convent (photo bottom right), which was served by Presentation sisters, had opened by early 1964; meanwhile a house in Ashbury Avenue was acquired to serve as a presbytery. Progress on the church was delayed, and when it was built, it was to a much reduced design, also by Ivor Day & O’Brien. The foundation stone was laid on 6 October 1968, and the building was opened and blessed by Bishop Rudderham on 7 October 1969 (the attached presbytery had been completed slightly earlier). The church seated 500 and together with the presbytery cost £40,000. To keep costs down, many of the furnishings were provided by parishioners, including the altar and tabernacle pedestal.

The church is square on plan, brick-faced (stretcher bond), with a low-pitched concrete tile roof rising to a central raised lantern/clerestory, the shallow pyramidal roof of which is surmounted by a fibreglass fleche. The lantern windows have been replaced in uPVC, while lower windows have been provided with powder coated aluminium secondary glazing. The rainwater goods are of plastic. The entrance is in an adjoining link, which connects to the contemporary presbytery, which is built of similar materials.

The interior has not been inspected (the photograph bottom left above is taken from the parish website). The altar is at the centre, lit from above by the raised lantern, which is carried on a laminated timber structure supported on four timber columns. There appears to be dalle de verre glass in the Blessed Sacrament chapel and baptistery.

Diocese: Clifton

Architect: Ivor Day & O’Brien

Original Date: 1969

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed