Bournemouth - St Thomas More

Exton Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth, Dorset

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The church has some interest, principally for its interior, but is not a building of great architectural or historic importance.

Following its incorporation into Bournemouth in 1911, the village of Iford very rapidly became a large residential district. Land for a new church to serve the district was obtained by Father Gibbons SJ, the parish priest at Boscombe, and funds for the building were raised by local residents. An inscription in the church records that one of the principal donors was Margaret Coakley Cundy, who wished the building to be a memorial to Father de la Pasteur SJ. The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Cotter on 11 Jan 1939. The building was served by Jesuits from Corpus Christi until 1949, when a new parish was formed. The church was consecrated in 1957.

The church is in a vaguely Italianate in style, with facings of red brick laid in English bond, and pantile roof. The plan comprises nave and aisles, with an entrance lobby flanked by sacristies/vestries at the ritual west end. This is expressed externally by a central tower-like projection with a round headed central doorway with a mural by Gabriel Pippet in the tympanum; the centre is flanked by the hipped roof ends of the nave and by lower hipped roof elements in front of the aisles, which themselves have flat roofs. The side elevations are very plain, with brick pilaster strips and pairs of round-headed windows high in the wall of each bay.

The interior is an attractive space. The walls are plastered and painted, the five-bay nave arcades have wide round-headed arches carried down onto plastered brick piers. The nave has a segmental plaster ceiling, with flat ceilings over the aisles; there is no clerestorey. At the west end of the nave is a gallery; the space below was enclosed by glazed partitions in 2005. At the east end of the nave is a shallow windowless apse.  

Diocese: Portsmouth

Architect: Thomas Birchall Scott

Original Date: 1938

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed