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’s 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 ‘west’ 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).
Architect: Conor Fahy ARIBA
Original Date: 1966
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed