High Street, Cranford, Hounslow, Middlesex TW5
A church of 1970 by the noted post-war Catholic architect Gerard Goalen. The building embodies mainstream architectural ideas of the times and reflects changes in liturgical planning emanating from Vatican II. Although not one of Goalen’s major designs, it combines worship and social spaces within a single building very effectively. The buildings lie within the Cranford Village Conservation Area.
Fr Charles Mercer suggested to members of the new parish of Cranford (1968) that their church might combine liturgical and social activities under one roof, and that a parish hall could become part of the church on Sundays. Plans were prepared by Gerard Goalen of Harlow, Essex. The foundation stone was laid in July 1969 and the building was opened the following year. Consecration took place some ten years later on 27 September 1979. The parish centre was refurnished in 2003.
Faced with light grey brick, the church presents a fairly symmetrical façade towards the main road. At the front is a single-storey range which accommodates the front part of the parish centre (left), the entrance vestibule (centre) and sacristies (right). Behind this rise three polygonal structures. That in the centre is over the main body of the church and is higher than the flanking structures; that on the right is part of the church itself and appears internally as a modern interpretation of an aisle. All three have continuous strips of glazing, about a metre deep, forming a clerestory. The hall of the parish centre (seated with chairs) can be used for small services and has a folding timber screen which can be opened to throw the space open for larger services.
The interior has an angular appearance and has surfaces of light brown brick alternating with painted concrete. The sanctuary lies at the far end of the church from the road and is sited in a shallow triangular projection at the end of the ‘nave’. Between this and the seating area on the right is a pair of reinforced concrete columns producing the sense of an aisle, as mentioned above. The interior is very light, thanks to the extensive ranges of clerestory windows. Over the three main parts of the building are shallow-pitched roofs carried on exposed reinforced concrete principals. There are no windows at ground-floor level. The seating is all angled towards the altar.
Architect: Gerard Goalen
Original Date: 1970
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed