Building » Enfield – Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St George

Enfield – Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St George

London Road, Enfield, London EN2

A substantial 1950s church in the Early Christian Romanesque style, with a handsome interior.

A mission was started in Enfield in 1862 by the Rev. George Bampfield, who built a church/school at the corner of London Road and Cecil Road. For many years Enfield was served by priests from Waltham Cross but was finally established as a separate mission with its own resident priest in 1890.  The site of the mission chapel was purchased at about the same time and in 1900 a new church was built here under the auspices of the Rev. Ambrose O’Gorman (figure 1).  This building was destroyed by a landmine in 1940. After an interval of sixteen years work began on building a new church on a site near that of its predecessor.  The new church and presbytery were built from designs by John E. Sterrett and D. M. Blouet, the church opening in July 1958. The rebuilding was funded in part by the War Damage Commission, reducing restrictions on funding, and Sterrett considered this his best church (information from C. Fanning).

The sanctuary of the church was reordered in 1967; the canopy over the high altar was removed, together with some high quality wooden sanctuary fittings, and the tabernacle was moved to a side chapel. 

In 1973 the parish hall was built, from designs by Williams & Winkley.

In 1999 the church was again reordered and redecorated, under the direction of Stephen Foster. The altar rails were removed to the choir gallery where they became the balustrades for new tiered seating, the two side altars were removed (the carved stone legs being re-used for the new main altar) and these spaces were dedicated as shrines to the two patrons of the parish, represented by statues raised on plinths. The statue of Our Lady was carved by Foster to balance a statue of St George from the earlier church.

The church is a basilica designed in a stripped Early Christian Romanesque style. The external walls are faced with yellow brick, with red tile strings and window arches and copper roof coverings.  The plan comprises a large square west tower with single-storey apsidal-ended transepts, a tall aisled nave with a shallow-pitched roof and a short lower chancel.  The west tower has a triple round-arched entrance of artificial stone, with three pairs of small windows over and a canopied niche with a stone figure of Our Lady.  The top of the tower has a deep corbel table and a pyramidal roof.  The tower transepts, one of which originally contained the baptistery, have continuous round-arched windows.  The pent-roofed aisles have four pairs of long round-arched windows on each side, while the nave clerestory has five single windows of similar form.

Internally, there is a choir gallery under the tower with three round arches between the vestibule below and the nave.  The nave itself is broad, with five-bay arcades of round unmoulded arches on stone columns with Corinthian capitals.  Lower arches span from the columns across the side aisles onto pilaster responds. Above the arcades the clerestory windows are cut into plain walling and the flat trabeated nave ceiling has painted ornament. A plain round arch opens into the lower sanctuary, which has a curved ceiling and a blind east wall with fan decoration above the modern gilded altarpiece by Stephen Foster. The doors, the west gallery and some of the other original 1950s fittings in the church are high quality work of mahogany.

Heritage Details

Architect:

Original Date: 1958

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed