West Common Road, Hayes, Bromley, Kent BR2
A functional church of 1954, originally built as the multi-purpose Rosary Hall. It is of little architectural or historic significance.
In 1936 and 1937 a coach would take Catholics from Coney Hall and Hayes to Sunday Mass at St Joseph’s church, Bromley. In 1938 Fr Cox from Bromley said Mass at the Rex (later Odeon) Cinema in Hayes. In 1940 Mass was said at the New Inn, until September of that year, when the Inn was badly damaged by a direct hit. In 1941 the Catholic community moved into the village hall.
In 1939 Fr Cox had founded the Hayes Catholic Association to raise funds for the building of a church. On 22 March 1946 a site for the church, presbytery and hall was purchased for £4,500, being the site of the bomb-damaged Grandfields Nursery. However, lack of funds and materials shortages postponed building work. In the early 1950s Hayes was cut off from Bromley parish and became part of the parish of West Wickham. In November 1954 a multi-purpose hall, Rosary Hall, opened. Two years later Hayes officially became a mission and the hall was converted into the church of Our Lady of the Rosary, which opened on the 15 November 1956.
About 25 years ago, the parish priest Monsignor Peter Strand extended the hall, adding meeting space. Within the last 20 years, coloured glass windows designed by parishioner Peter Proto were installed in the west facade. This was followed by the Millennium Window by Proto (2000) at the northwest. At some point, a gabled timber porch was set in front of the flat-roofed original porch.
The church is facing northwest; however, this description uses the conventional, liturgical orientation.
The church was built in 1954 as the Rosary Hall. The architect or builder has not been established. It is built in brick laid in Wessex bond, with some roughcast walls, concrete window frames and a copper roof. The plan is rectangular, with a hall attached to the north elevation at right angles. The west front has a timber gabled porch set in front of a roughcast porch with a flat roof and thin side windows. The full width of the west facade is taken up by three large windows with of four lights each, separated by concrete mullions. The gable area is timber panelled with a relief of Our Lady with the Child. The south wall has two low protrusions; one is a shallow alcove with a shrine to the Virgin, the other is the heating chamber, which is only accessible from outside. At the southeast corner is a first-floor loading bay, dating from the time of the Rosary Hall.
Seen from inside, the west windows depicts a central cross, flanked by depictions of the dove and a crown (left) and the Alpha and Omega (right). The south wall has four small square windows and a shallow alcove with shrine to the Virgin. (At the time of the visit, all the sculptures and paintings were veiled in preparation for Holy Week.) The north side has the Millennium Window (2000, Peter Proto), the entrance to the hall, and a confessional, which is also accommodated in the hall but has its separate entrance from the church. The sanctuary has a flimsy timber canopy attached to the ceiling, filled with ceiling tiles, like the nave. The altar, circular font, and tabernacle stand are made from Italian marble. The lectern, benches and presidential chair are from timber. Above the tabernacle hangs a large carved crucifix. On either side of the sanctuary area are statues of St Joseph with the Child (left) and the Sacred Heart (right). The Stations are unframed timber reliefs. The sacristy and a lavatory are accommodated behind the sanctuary. Above this is a first-floor storage area, accessed by a loft ladder or the external loading bay.
Architect: Not established
Original Date: 1954
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed