Building » Finchley North – St Alban

Finchley North – St Alban

Nether Street, London N12

An Edwardian church in the Perpendicular Gothic style, with some elaborate carved detail on the west face of the tower. The church was originally designed by Percy Lamb, J. F. Bentley’s clerk of works in the construction of Westminster Cathedral. The chronology of later additions is unclear.

The mission was established in 1903 and a corrugated iron mission room opened in 1904. The first priest was the Revd Marmaduke St Juste Sellon (1855-1925), the youngest of son Edward Sellon, a well-known Victorian writer of erotic literature. Fr Sellon acquired a house at 60 Nether Street to serve as a presbytery (now at 51 Nether Street). According to The Buildings of England, the architect for the present church, built in 1909, was Percy Lamb, who had worked with J. F. Bentley as clerk of works on the building of Westminster Cathedral before setting up practice on his own in 1907. According to parish notes, the sanctuary and flanking chapels were built later, a temporary wooden structure serving as a sanctuary to begin with. The precise date of these and other additions is not clear; the Diocesan Surveyor Chris Fanning reports having seen a drawing by A. J. C. Scoles (pers. comm.).

Minor additions to improve the facilities were made by Jestico & Whiles in 1985. The church was consecrated by Cardinal Basil Hume on 24 February 1995.

The church is in a free Perpendicular Gothic style, the walls are faced with red brick lain in Flemish bond with stone dressings and windows, the roof coverings are of brick tiles. The building is not orientated; the east end lies to the southwest.  The plan comprises a (liturgical) west tower with a single storey addition on the north side, a nave with eastern aisles and an aisled sanctuary. 

 

The tower is of three stages with plain corner piers.  On the west side of the tower is the principal entrance door, which has a moulded stone surround with four-centred arch and carved ornament rising to support the plinth for a carved statue of St Alban under an elaborate canopied niche. On the south side of the tower the lowest stage has three single traceried lights, the middle stage a single three-light window under a segmental brick arch.  The top stage of the tower has a twin light on each face, a prominent brick corbel table and a crenellated parapet.  On the north side of the tower is a modern single-storey addition with a pent roof.  The nave has on each side two three-light traceried windows with pointed heads. Eastward of these windows on the south side is a narrow aisle which extends along the south side of the sanctuary. To the nave this aisle has two three-light traceried windows under segmental brick arches and to the sanctuary a single two-light pointed window. The north side is obscured by other buildings.  The gabled east wall has a traceried five-light window under a four-centred head and across the front of this wall is a single-storey modern addition linking the church with the adjacent hall.

 

Internally the walls are plastered and painted. The base of the tower acts as a vestibule, divided from the church by a timber Gothic screen and with a gallery above under the moulded four-centred tower arch.  The nave has an elaborate open timber roof of six bays with arched braces to the collars of the principal trusses, which are brought down onto timber wall posts with stone corbels. The three eastern bays on the south side have an arcade of moulded pointed arches on octagonal stone columns with moulded capitals and bases.  On the north side is an arcade of similar arches which die into plain unmoulded piers. Both arcades open into side aisles. The sanctuary arch is wide and rests on corbels. Both sides of the sanctuary have arcades of three bays of moulded pointed arches on clustered columns and over all is a boarded wagon ceiling with painted principals. The sanctuary has been reordered, with a new raised marble floor and a modern altar.  The organ has been placed against the east wall.

Heritage Details

Architect: Percy A. Lamb

Original Date: 1909

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed