46 Draycott Road, Ensbury Park, Bournemouth, Dorset
A modest but attractive sub-Arts & Crafts church of the 1930s. The sanctuary reordering is of high quality.
Ensbury Park is a suburb of Bournemouth that grew up south of the village of Ensbury. From 1917 Mass was said at Ensbury Manor (demolished in 1936). The area fell within St Joseph’s parish but in 1926 a separate mission was opened in a converted wooden army hut in Coombe Avenue, known as the church of Our Lady of Loret. Work began on the present church in 1933 and it was opened the following year. Its architect was W. A. Greenen FRIBA of Bournemouth (The Tablet, 2 September 1933). The adjacent church hall was opened in 1936 and in the same year the grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes, built by the men of the parish, was blessed. The church claims to be the first in the world dedicated to St Bernadette, who died in 1879 and was canonized on 8 December 1933.
A modest building in a simple Arts & Crafts style, of brick under a tiled roof with metal leaded windows set within white painted wooden frames. It comprises nave and sanctuary under one roof, with sacristies under a catslide roof. The full-width narthex may be a slightly later addition and has a flat roof hidden behind a parapet. It is, however, built of the same wire-cut bricks. Hipped roof and the east end, half-hipped at the west end with a curious angled louvred bell turret placed at the top of the hip, effectively in front of a gablet. Stone statue of St Bernadette over the west door; the sculptor’s name is given as Bernard Davis. Large three-light windows of domestic character, though with Gothic detailing in the leaded lights. Small single windows to the narthex.
The interior is dominated by the barrel vaulted plaster ceiling with intermediate ribs. The sanctuary steps in, with diminishing segmental arches and a top-lit curved apse. Curious northeast projection with a segmental arch cutting across the corner. West gallery, narrower than the width of the nave. Open-backed pews. The church was reordered, circa 2000, by Anthony Jaggard of John Stark & Partners of Dorchester. They introduced the stepped curved arches and the top-lit apse, together with the arch across the corner to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. They also designed the stone altar table supported on six sturdy Tuscan columns. More than semi-circular wooden ambo. Marble stand for the tabernacle. Of the time of the church the tall black marble octagonal font. At the southeast corner of the nave, in a glass case, an ivory statue of St Bernadette, presented by Pope Pius XI. Above, a silver reliquary in the form of a Gothic shrine.
Amended by AHP 23.01.2021
Architect: W. A. Greenen
Original Date: 1934
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed