Blurton Road, London E5
A former Methodist church of 1885, much altered in the course of adaptation for Catholic use.
The church was opened in 1885 as the Clapton Park Tabernacle, a mission started by the Primitive Methodists. It was acquired by the diocese in c.1964 as a chapel of ease to Homerton (qv), and opened as a Catholic church the following year. The architects John E. Sterrett & Partners made survey drawings of the building in the 1960s (figure 1) and it seems likely that they adapted the building. The survey drawings show a pedimented doorcase at the west, with two three-light windows and a circular window in the gable. Attached to the south is a narrow two-storey house with chimney. The west elevations were all of ragstone with stone dressings and were apparently rebuilt in brick.
In 1992, Penoyre & Prasad architects prepared proposals for alterations, reordering and a southwest side chapel, which remained unexecuted. In 1994, Anthony Delarue prepared proposals for a two-storey side extension, for which planning permission was granted in 1996. This seems to be the transept arm at the liturgical southwest, which replaced the attached house shown on the Sterrett drawings. In 2003, planning permission was granted for an access ramp which was not executed
The church faces south; this description uses conventional liturgical orientation.
The church was built in 1885 as a Methodist church but few period features and no original furnishings remain. Indeed, the west front seems to have been entirely re-built in the 1960s. The building was originally of a T-plan, with ancillary spaces flanking the sanctuary. In c.1996, a two-storey transept arm was added at the southwest, containing the repository on the ground floor and a meeting room on the first floor.
The church is built of London stock brick laid in English bond. The west elevation is blind apart from two pedimented windows on either side of the entrance canopy. These probably date from the 1960s alterations, as does the canopy (two identical windows are on the west elevation of the southwest transept arm). Above the canopy hangs a crucifix. On either side of the steps to the church, are steps leading down to the basement hall. Blocked openings include the circular east window and the northwest nave window.
Inside, below the organ gallery at the west end is a small narthex with statues of the Virgin Mary on a fluted Doric column and of St Jude (Ferdinando Stuflesser of Ortisei). The pipe organ is by N.P. Mander Ltd. The interior is one continuous space, without any division between nave and sanctuary. The nave of four bays (including the bay of the gallery) has a scissor-beam roof, which is panelled just above the scissors. The nave has three large round-headed windows on each side. There is a confessional on the south side.
The one-bay sanctuary has two semi-circular windows on each side. Altar and tabernacle stand are of white marble, while the timber lectern has marble bands. In the northeast corner is a statue of the Virgin Mary by Ferdinando Stuflesser of Ortisei.
In the upstairs room in the transept arm are two fibreglass reliefs by Carmel Cauchi of St Jude and the Virgin Mary which formerly hung in the church. (The relief of St Jude has lost its mosaic frame described by Evinson.) The Stations are conventional unframed reliefs, possibly those described by Evinson as ‘in the 1960s style by Burns & Oates’.
Architect: Not established
Original Date: 1885
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed