Petersfield Avenue, Harold Hill, Romford, Essex RM3
A large modern church of portal frame construction.
The Mass centre was established in 1950, followed by the first resident priest in 1952. The parish hall was built in 1952-53, initially serving as the church. Its architect was F. Arnett of Messrs J.W. Hammond of Romford. The builders were Messrs Baker, Hammond & Laver of Rainham. The hall cost £10,300, of which £2,600 came from the estate of Canon Cyril Shepherd (died 1938). The parish was erected in December 1953.
The foundation stone for the current church was laid on 25 August 1963 by Bishop Foley of Lancaster, who had been the founding parish priest. It was blessed and opened by Bishop Wall on 7 September 1964. The architect was Donovan Purcell (1913-1973) of Purcell & Johnson of Norwich (now Purcell Miller Tritton). The builders were J. Leary & Sons of Stratford. The church was re-ordered in 1973. In 1975 the porch was extended to incorporate the former baptistery. In 1980 the stained glass window at the west was installed and in 1994 a small pipe organ made in 1978-79 by G. Tamburini for the church of Sacred Heart, Mill Hill, was brought here.
The church is of portal frame construction, of laminated timber arches of decreasing size as the pitched roof slopes towards the lower east end. The walls are of brick and the roof is covered in tiles. All windows are metal-framed. The plan is a triangle with a blunt eastern corner and a narrower sanctuary; thus, like the roof, the outer walls are converging at the east. The sacristy space projects at the southeast and the narthex at the west.
The west front has a large eleven-light window of which the central three lights have stained glass as well as a large external crucifix. The narthex has two entrance porches with four west windows each; the southwest entrance has steps, due to the sloping site.
The four-bay nave has a timber-panelled ceiling. The portal frames are painted white. Over the holy water stoups in the narthex are small modern mosaics with waves and fish. The consecration crosses were blessed by John Paul II at Westminster Cathedral in 1982. Below the gallery in the westernmost bay are storage cupboards and confessionals, as well as a small Lady Chapel with a timber statue of St Mary. The west window of 1980 depicts St Mary and St John on either side of the cross. On the gallery is a small pipe organ, formerly at the Sacred Heart church at Mill Hill, by the noted Italian organ builder G. Tamburini.
On the northeast side of the sanctuary arch is the tabernacle on a black stone pedestal. At the southeast is the large circular font on six pillars with a mosaic of waves, fish and an anchor, set in front of a large mosaic of the Holy Family. The sanctuary has a timber lectern with circular copper panels with ecclesiastical symbols, similar to the consecration crosses. A large timber statue of the Risen Christ hangs on the blind east wall, above the timber chairs. The large black marble altar is the original, brought forward on an enlarged dais. The Stations are conventional timber reliefs.
Original Date: 1963
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed