Purley Road, South Croydon, Surrey CR2
A modest neo-Romanesque design of 1903 by F A Walters, with additions of 1935 by E J Walters, which forms a picturesque grouping with the adjacent contemporary presbytery. Despite some unsympathetic alterations, the church and presbytery make a positive contribution to the local scene and the church is included in Croydon Council’s local list. The interior has been altered and does not contain furnishings of particular note.
Late 19th-century southward expansion of Croydon necessitated the establishment of a separate mission, to serve Catholics living in Selsdon, Sanderstead, Purley and Woodmansterne. The site of the present church was chosen for its convenient location in relation to West Croydon (about a mile and a quarter from St Mary’s), and within the South Ward of the Borough. The church was built in 1903, from designs by F A Walters, and at first consisted only of the eastern four bays of the nave and the presbytery. An apsidal sanctuary was added slightly later, and the exposed west end of the nave was temporarily made good. The eastern bays of the nave, porch and forward-projecting stair turret were not added until 1935, from designs by Edward Walters, following F A Walters’s original plans (but placing a stair to the gallery in the forward projection rather than a baptistery, as F A Walters had envisaged).
The church appears to have been damaged by wartime bombing, after which the chancel was rebuilt with a square rather than an apsidal end and the organ gallery on the south side of the nave removed. In 1954 an addition (The Pritchard Room) was added to the presbytery.
In 1978 a new parish centre was built, from designs by Tomei & Mackley, at a cost of £82,391.
In 1988 the underside of the west gallery was enclosed to form a narthex, and the north Lady Chapel also enclosed, to create a separate space.
In 2003 two centenary windows were installed in the narthex, from designs by Delia Whitbread.
A modest church in simplified Romanesque style, built in 1903 from designs by F A Walters, with additions of 1935 by E J Walters. The church is built of stock brick for the plinths, but the walls are mainly pebbledashed. The porch is of red brick, and the roofs are concrete tiled. The (ritual) west front is an asymmetrical composition consisting of projecting gabled stair turret to the south, central projecting gabled red porch with recessed round arched entrance, gabled west wall of the nave above this, with a deeply recessed arch containing two lancet windows and a lean-to bay and subsidiary entrance to the right. Adjoining the building to the right is the Pritchard Room, a two storey brick and pebbledash infill of 1954, and beyond this, F A Walters’ presbytery of 1903, brick and pebbledash and with asymmetrical gable, sash windows and a two-storey bay.
The southern flank elevation faces towards a public open space. The western (gallery) bay is gabled, with an arched recess; the remaining bays have paired round arched windows in each bay, separated by flat buttresses. There is a bellcote over the chancel arch with gabled copings, containing one bell (of 1939, by Gillett & Johnston of Croydon).
The interior consists of a western narthex with gallery over, a nave of five bays, a northern circulation aisle with sacristies giving off, northern transept (former organ gallery) and a square-ended sanctuary with north Lady Chapel. The internal walls of the nave and aisles are of bare brick, those of the chancel and the Lady Chapel are plastered and painted white. There is a wide sanctuary arch, and arches to the south and west sides of the Lady Chapel (the latter glazed in). Open timber roof. Furnishings include wooden dado panelling around the chancel, painted figures in aedicules in the gradine of the high altar, a large crucifix against the east wall, octagonal font now located near the chancel arch, painted and framed Stations of the Cross and two stained glass windows (Fruits of the Spirit) by Delia Whitbread in the narthex.
Architect: F. A. Walters; S. Bartlett; E. J. Walters
Original Date: 1903
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed