Canterbury Road, Westgate-on-Sea, Kent CT8
1960s portal framed church by John Clague; its dignified and well-lit interior shows a thoughtful and economical use of architectural forms to good effect.
From the beginning of the 20th century Catholics in Westgate-on-Sea were able to attend services in the chapel of the Canonesses of St Augustine but by the 1930s this provision was becoming inadequate. A new mission was established in 1935 and in 1937 the parish acquired Westgate House with its five acres of grounds. Seven rooms of the Victorian mansion were combined to create a space to serve as a church. During the war the building was left empty and decayed considerably. In the late 1950s the parish debt was cleared and two acres of land were sold to raise funds for a new church. The design was by John Clague of Canterbury, who was instructed to pay special attention to the prevention of damaging effects from the maritime environment.
St Peter’s is a portal-framed building in the modern style of the 1960s. The building is rectangular on plan, with flat-roofed additions at the east end on both sides and a north tower. The building has a concrete frame. The facing materials are yellow stock brick, concrete and aggregate panels. The shallow-pitched roof has a metal covering. The west wall is designed as a screen, with concrete verticals across the whole width; the lower half, with its central doorway is filled with aggregate panels, the upper half is glazed. The side walls are of brick with many tall vertical concrete window strips set with glass bricks.
The interior is a single space, well-lit from the extensive glazing. At the west end of the nave is a gallery with a screen of full-height vertical uprights matching those in the west screen wall. The organ case is set centrally in front of the screen. The space below the gallery is a glazed narthex. The body of the church is wide and high with plastered walls between the concrete casings of the stanchions of the main frame and a pitched ceiling faced with acoustic tiles. The windows are mostly clear-glazed, with some blue-tinted glazing. The shallow sanctuary is lined with vertical hardwood strips and has two large rectangular timber windows in each of its canted sides. On either side at the east end are sacristies and a modest Lady Chapel. The fittings appear to be mostly contemporary with the building.
Architect: John Clague
Original Date: 1963
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed