Douglas Road, Southbourne, Bournemouth, Dorset
The church is a good and complete example of the basilican style, which was popular in the mid-twentieth century. The interest of the building is enhanced by the relatively intact interior and the adjacent contemporary presbytery.
The first regular place of worship for Southbourne Catholics was an army hut purchased in 1918 with the help of Mrs Gale and other local residents and re-erected on land opposite the South Cliff Hotel. This served until 1928 when Mrs Powys-Lybbe purchased the land in Douglas Road as a site for a new permanent church. At first a temporary church (which became the hall) was built. A new parish was formed in 1934 and Father Hetherington arrived as its new parish priest. He began building the new presbytery and within five years had completed both presbytery and church. The hall was rebuilt or extensively refurbished in 1956 (date on building).
The church is an Italianate basilica, with nave, tall aisles, short transepts/projections at each end, a very short west tower and a five-sided eastern apse. The walls are faced with red brick laid in Flemish bond, the roofs of nave and apse are covered in Roman tiles, the aisle roofs are hidden by parapets. The western tower barely rises above the nave roof. Over the wide round-arched entrance doorway is a Portland stone statue of Our Lady by Lindsay Clark, and in the gable is an oculus. The side elevations have short transepts/projections at each end, with shallow gables. Between these projections the wall is divided by pilaster strips into three bays, each with two small round-headed windows high-up. The eastern apse has only two small windows, high in the side walls. A passage links the sacristy at the east end of the church to the presbytery.
Internally, the walls of the church are of buff-coloured brick with a darker brick dado. The nave arcades have wide round-headed arches on square brick piers supporting an open timber roof; the side aisles are tall and narrow, giving the appearance of a hall church; they have flat ceilings. At the west end of the nave is a timber gallery, now with a glazed vestibule beneath. At the east end the transepts are divided from the nave by a tall round arch, with a second arch beyond opening into the sanctuary. The windows are all clear-glazed. Fittings include a tall stone baldacchino over the altar, good Italianate timber benches and a painting of The Annunciation in the south east transept presented in 1942 by the artist Isabel Kann, who was a local resident.
Architect: Thomas Birchall Scott
Original Date: 1938
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed