Building » Folkestone (west) – St Joseph

Folkestone (west) – St Joseph

Ashley Avenue, Folkestone, Kent CT19

A modest suburban church of the early 1930s, but designed in a robust and personal version of the Gothic style which shows some originality.

In 1925 proposals were put forward for a new Catholic school on a two-acre site near Radnor Park. Building started in 1933 to plans prepared by the architect Edward Walters, the son of the architect F. A. Walters (and brother of Fr Joseph Walters who was appointed parish priest of Our Lady Folkestone in 1936). At the end of 1934 the church of St Joseph was opened.  The Tablet (15 December 1934) names a Mr Hicks of Canterbury as architect.


St Joseph’s is clearly a cheap church, designed in a personal version of the Gothic style. The plan comprises a long nave with north and south aisles, small apsidal sanctuary and small northwestern chapel. The walls are faced in red brick laid in stretcher bond, with dressings of Bath stone and roof coverings of Welsh slate. The gabled west front to Ashley Avenue is a complicated exercise in contrasting wall-planes. The front has pilaster buttresses each side and a projecting centre with a round-headed doorway whose stone arch dies into the jambs. Each side of the door are two small round-headed windows. Above is a triple lancet window in a stone arched surround. The gable slopes have arched decoration in the German manner and at the head of the gable is a figure of St Joseph in a brick frame like a bellcote. The western bay of each aisle has a separate hipped roof, but the rest of the aisles are lower, with lean-to roofs. The main aisle walls are divided into four bays by squat buttresses and each bay has two pairs of small round-headed windows. In each bay of the clerestories is a window with four stepped lancet lights in a stone surround. The long shallow-pitched main roof has oversailing eaves. At the east end of the north aisle is a small chapel with three lancet lights on the north wall and a small eastern apse. Behind it is the apsidal sanctuary with three small windows high in the wall.

The interior has bare masonry walls. At the west end is a vestibule and two small rooms, with a gallery above which opens into the church under a tall pointed arch. The gallery has a pierced stone balustrade. The nave has four-bay arcades with square stone piers carried up into chamfered pointed arches with the clerestory windows set directly into the arches – a novel and original treatment. The wall-posts of the timber pitched roof are set in the arch spandrels. The apsidal sanctuary opens directly from the nave east wall under a pointed arch. An arch at the east end of the north aisle leads to a small chapel, with a memorial tablet to Mary Rebecca Baume, died 1933, presumably a benefactor to the church. The church has been reordered and the sanctuary fittings are modern.

Amended by AHP 04.02.2021

Heritage Details

Architect: Mr Hicks of Canterbury

Original Date: 1934

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed