Dollis Hill Lane, London NW2
A compact Italianate church of the 1930s, with a hall beneath. The richly-decorated architectural volumes are more significant than the individual furnishings; the impressive arcaded interior appears to have been little altered.
From 1915 Catholics in the Dollis Hill area attended Mass in the chapel of the former St Andrew’s Hospital (1913). Then a wooden church was built in the hospital grounds to accommodate increasing numbers. In 1927 the Rosminians (Institute of Charity) established the parish of St Mary and St Andrew at the invitation of the Archbishop. Increased housing brought more Catholics to the district, and the need soon became apparent for a large permanent building. The present structure, including the hall beneath, was completed at the cost of slightly less than £10,000. The architects were Bedingfield & Grundy of Leicester and the contractor Francis Bradford KSG, also of Leicester (who built a large number of churches in the Diocese of Northampton). The new church was opened on 18 May 1933 by Bishop Butt.
In 1969 the sanctuary was remodelled by Scott and Jaques for Fr Thomas Stockham Continuing growth in the congregation necessitated a new transeptal side chapel with an extension to the hall beneath in 1977-78 (the drawings in the Diocesan Property Services archive appear to be signed MG). In August 1982 Fr Maloney procured for the parish the bell, specially cast for the Papal Mass at Coventry, and installed it in the small tower at the front of the church. In September 1994 the Rosminians gave the parish over to the care of the Archdiocese of Westminster. In 1999 a ramp and lift tower were built next to the church (architects Crossan Sharman Associates).
The east end lies to the northwest, but this description follows conventional liturgical orientation.
The church is designed in an Italianate style. On plan it comprises a nave with full-width porch, north and south aisles and an apsidal sanctuary with a transeptal south extension. Both the church and the transept (which was added in 1976-77) are built over a basement storey which accommodates the parish hall. The west facade to Dollis Hill Lane is faced with pink brick, the remainder of the church with yellow brick; the nave and sanctuary roofs are covered in blue pantiles, the aisles in red pantiles. Because of the slope of the ground the main west front is set considerably above the level of Dollis Hill Lane and is reached by a steep flight of steps. Across the whole front is a porch with a central round-headed doorway under an open pediment. To the left of the porch is the papal bell in a small brick tower. The nave west wall has a Diocletian window flanked by figures of St Mary and St Andrew all under an open pediment with a figure of Our Lord. The side elevations have large rectangular windows to the hall at basement level, blind brick arches to the sides of the aisles and clerestories with six two-light windows. The walls of the lower apsidal sanctuary are blind apart from a small round window on either side.
The interior is a handsome space, with six-bay arcades of round arches on Doric columns and west gallery on triple arches, a full modillion cornice with entablature and a round-arched ceiling. At the east end the transition to the slightly narrower sanctuary is marked by clustered tall pilasters of the Corinthian order with gilded capitals and the pilasters are continued round the wall of the apse with blind round arches between. The decoration is rich; the floor and lower walls are patterned marble, as are the green columns of the nave arcades. The nave seating is presumably original but the modern marble sanctuary fittings probably date from Scott & Jaques’ 1969 reordering.
Architect: Bedingfield & Grundy of Leicester
Original Date: 1933
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed