Building » Cliftonville – St Anne

Cliftonville – St Anne

Eastern Esplanade, Cliftonville, Kent CT9

As  designed  in  the  1920s,  when  Margate  was  still  a  flourishing  resort,  St Anne’s was to be a large and splendid church.  Sadly, the original vision was never realised and the eastern parts of the building, including the transepts and a splendid southeast tower, were not built as intended. The present east end is an intelligent approach to the problem of completion, but does not approach the dignity of the original scheme.

St Anne’s was built to serve Cliftonville, the prosperous western extension of Margate.  The driving force in its construction was Fr Elphege Power, the rector of St Austin and St Gregory’s,  Margate.    St Anne’s  was  intended  to  seat  1020  people  and  the building  was conceived on a substantial scale, with transepts and a northeast tower based on the tower of Magdalen College Oxford (see bottom photo), but funds were limited and only the first four bays of the nave were built.  The architect was Robert Dalby Reeve of Margate, whose family had been responsible for much of the development of Cliftonville. The builders were Thompson & Sons of Peterborough. The eastern part of the church was added in the 1960s to a wholly different design by H Curtis. 

The original church of 1926 was designed in the perpendicular Gothic style.  From this time date the four western bays of the nave with north and south aisles to the three easternmost bays.  Here  the  walls  are  faced  with  roughly  squared  and  coursed  Bargate  stone  with dressings and window tracery of Weldon stone.  The aisle roofs are concealed by parapets. The nave roof is covered with slate. The roof is continued over the east end of the church, which was added in the 1960s, with a small bellcote astride the roof, but the roof slopes are swept down over the eastern continuations of the aisles and over a northeast side entrance. The walls of this later part are faced with yellow stock brick.  The tall west gable wall has two long two-light traceried windows.  The main entrance is in the west bay on the north side, which has a broad four-light pointed window over with Perpendicular tracery. The aisles have three-light windows with variegated tracery set under splayed pointed relieving arches spanning from the flat buttresses between the bays which rise above the plain parapet as small pinnacles. The clerestory has traceried three-light windows with four-centred heads and the wall rises to a parapet which is ramped above the upper buttresses. The aisle walls of the east end have two bays of rectangular three-light mullion and transom windows. The tall brick east end wall has a seven-light mullion and transom window in the gable between two plain buttresses.

Internally the original nave has three-bay north and south arcades of wide four-centred arches on shafted stone piers.   The nave wall rises through the clerestory to a handsome timber roof of hammerbeam type with tie beams. The older western parts of the aisles have lean-to timber roofs with a moulded stone semi-arch at the east end dying into the walls.  In the new eastern part of the church the nave roof is ceiled, but with simple ribs. The north arcade is continued eastwards in two wide straight-headed openings with a triple window above; the south arcade has one such opening. The east wall is completely plain and relieved only by the large window in the gable. The sanctuary is marked only by a shallow step and all its  furnishings  are  modern.  At  the  west  end  of  the  nave  are  two  flat-topped  modern enclosures with a gilded ironwork screen between them.   The church is clear glazed throughout. The seating is mostly individual wooden chairs.  The most elaborate fittings are the large octagonal stone pulpit with carved decoration against the east pier of the north arcade and the altar in the northeast Lady Chapel which appears to be 19th century in date.

Heritage Details

Architect: R. Dalby Reeve (of Reeve & Reeve of Margate); H Curtis (Pevsner)

Original Date: 1926

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed