Osborn Road, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8
An inter-war brick church by the prolific Catholic architect, T. H. B. Scott, in his characteristic, stripped, round-arched style. Now rather stranded between the Uxbridge shopping centre and the bypass, it has an interior of some distinction and impressive marble work at the east end.
A mission was founded in 1867 at West Drayton, three miles away from Uxbridge (although public transport was available to make the journey). In 1892 it was agreed to establish a separate mission at Uxbridge. Fr Michael Aloysius Wren bought a presbytery at 37 Lawn Road, next to which a temporary iron church was built.
In the twentieth century land was acquired behind this building for the construction of the present church. The foundation stone was laid on Low Sunday 1931. Building proceeded quickly and the church opened on 29 September the same year. It had cost some £8,600. Consecration took place on 14 May 1936. Major benefactors were the Gilbey family, well-known wine and spirit merchants. The hall was added in the late 1970s.
The church is oriented to the south; all directions given in this report are liturgical.
The church is one of a large number in the diocese by T. H. B. Scott (see appendix 4 of the summary report) and is designed in an economical, stripped Romanesque style at which he was highly accomplished: his church of St Peter and St Paul at Northfields (qv), also of 1931, is similar in many respects. At Uxbridge his church is built of stock brick and consists of a three-bay nave (plus an extra bay for a narthex), narrow aisles under flat roofs, a squat southwest tower, a three-sided apse to the sanctuary, and sacristies. Tiles cover the roofs apart from the flat surfaces over the aisles. The lowest part of the walls is faced with dark brown bricks which creates a sense of solidity. The windows are set high up and are round-arched apart from a few circular windows (e.g. at the east and west parts of the north façade and the entrance front). There is no clerestory. On the north side of the sanctuary is a low-relief carving of Our Lady, of the kind that Birchall Scott always seems to have introduced into his churches to represent the titular saint(s). A similar panel over the west entrance depicts St Michael.
Inside, the walls are faced with bare brick, the lower 4ft being dark brown brick (as outside) with yellow stock brick above. The ruling motif is the high round-arched openings to the arcades and sanctuary. The arcade piers are square and have a corbelled-out arrangement at the top, a characteristic feature of Scott’s and found at other churches of his (e.g. Northfields). At the east end the sanctuary consists of two bays: the westerly one is framed by two broad arches and has a flat ceiling over it. The easterly arch is surrounded by mottled grey marble and the walls of the bay beyond are covered with striped green marble, added in the 1960s. Over the nave is a tie-beam roof with raked struts. The tie-beams bear a series of Scott’s characteristic motif, a ‘wicket’-like motif of three vertical lines; this also recurs on the frames to the Stations and on a frieze to the confessional and small glazed-in room in the southwest corner.
Fittings and furnishing:
Architect: T. H. B. Scott
Original Date: 1931
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed