Building » Colliers Wood – St Joseph

Colliers Wood – St Joseph

High Street, Colliers Wood, London SW19

An inexpensive church of the 1960s, with a neo-Georgian show front to the High Street concealing an otherwise functional building.

Colliers Wood was originally part of the parish of Tooting, which started in 1896 and whose church of St Boniface dates from 1907. Although Colliers Wood was still a rural area in the early 1930s, the extension of the Northern Underground Line to Morden in 1926 made urban growth inevitable and in 1933 Fr Cosmo Brown, the parish priest of Tooting, obtained the present site in Colliers Wood High Street for a new church.  Fundraising was interrupted by the war, and after the war local priority was given to building the new church of the Assumption in Links Road, Tooting.  In the  mid-1960s  Canon  Thomas  Clifton  of  Tooting  commissioned  plans  for  a  new church from the architect Conor Fahy, with the instruction that the building should be in the Georgian style.  The new church was opened in 1966. Shortly after Fr Dunn succeeded Canon Clifton in 1971 serious structural defects were found in the new church,  which  was  repaired  under  the  supervision  of  Paul  Michelmore  ARIBA. Colliers Wood became a separate parish in 1975.There have been a number of minor internal alterations.

St Joseph‚Äôs has a Neo-Georgian street front hiding a simple aisleless nave with brick faced walls and a pitched roof with coverings of tiles.¬†¬† The main ‚Äėwest‚Äô front to the street has a pedimented central section with steps up to triple entrance doors set in round arches with a timber Venetian window above. The centre is flanked by lower single bay flat-roofed projections, each with a single tall round headed window. ¬†This front section of the church is only one bay deep; the main body of the building has a steeply pitched roof with square-topped dormer windows and a short sanctuary.

Internally, the main nave space is wide, with plain plastered walls  and  with  the principals of the roof exposed.   The nave side walls have rectangular small-paned metal framed windows, with dormers above on both sides. All these windows are clear glazed. Between the main entrance and the nave is a lobby with a gallery above with a wide semi-circular opening to the nave. In the east nave wall is a tall round- headed opening into the short sanctuary which has a large Diocletian window in the east  wall  with  stained  glass  depictions  of  the  Abbot  of  Merton  Priory,  Christ  in Majesty and St Joseph (Goddard & Gibbs, 1980). To the left of the sanctuary arch is a round-headed doorway leading to the sacristies and rear hall.

Other fittings include the original timber benches and wrought iron railings on either side of the platform with the nave altar. Against the west wall of the nave is a statue of the Virgin Mary made in 1990 by Mother Concordia of Minster Abbey in Kent, which stands on a pedestal of stones salvaged from the medieval Merton Priory. There is a further Goddard & Gibbs window (The Deposition, 1991).

Heritage Details

Architect: Conor Fahy ARIBA

Original Date: 1966

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed