Looe - Our Lady and St Nicholas

West Hill, Looe, Cornwall

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A very simple structure of the 1920s, notable above all as a minor example of the patronage of Amy Imrie (Mother Clare Imrie), the White Star heiress. 

In 1922 the Poor Clares arrived at Sclerder (q.v.), where the church was extended to become the parish church for the surrounding area. This work was carried out largely at the expense of Mother Clare Imrie. Born in 1870, Amy Imrie (as she then was) was heiress to the White Star shipping line, who on her father’s death in 1906 became one of the wealthiest women in the country. A Catholic convert, in 1907 she joined the Poor Clares, becoming Sister Mary Clare and eventually Mother Clare.  In 1907, having come into her fortune, she funded the building and lavish decoration of Pugin and Pugin’s church of St Mary of the Angels inLiverpool. She also built the public church at Sclerder, added in 1922. The church at Looe is a lesser example of her patronage, and was built as a chapel of ease to Sclerder in 1923.  

The church is a basic structure built of painted blockwork under an artificial slate roof. It is entered via a small gabled porch. The Gothick glazing bars and leaded lights lend an ecclesiastical air. The interior is a single volume, although a curtain allows the narrower sanctuary to be screened off when the nave is used for secular purposes. There is a pine boarded ceiling throughout, and a wooden reredos and panelling in the sanctuary. The only furnishings of note are the small painted Stations of the Cross in wooden Gothic Frames, the paintings of Flemish character, similar to those at Sclerder (q.v.).  

Diocese: Plymouth

Architect: Not known

Original Date: 1923

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not listed