Imperial Close, North Harrow, Middlesex HA2
The last church in the diocese by T. H. B. Scott, built in his hallmark plain Romanesque manner just before the onset of the Second World War. Left unfinished in 1939, the church was much altered in the early 1980s. As so often with Scott’s churches, the interior makes more architectural impact than the exterior.
The development of Harrow North did not really begin until 1925, with the opening of Harrow North station on the new Metropolitan Line extension. A new church by T.H.B. Scott was opened in 1939 to cater for the rapidly expanding population. The building was left in a part-completed state, mainly because of the onset of the Second World War. After the war, the presbytery was built in 1956 and a new hall built in 1966 to the design of Scott & Jaques. By the 1970s it was becoming apparent that the church was suffering from structural defects, and a design for an entirely new church on the same site was prepared by Leslie Goodey and accepted. However, funds were insufficient and instead the same architects oversaw the underpinning of the old church and various additions including a new sanctuary, aisle walls, sacristy and west porch. The work was completed in 1982. At the same time a statue of St John by Michael Clark was placed on the exterior of the hall.
The church is not orientated; the liturgical east end lies to the south. This description follows conventional liturgical orientation, as if the altar was at the east end.
Pevsner describes the style of the church as ‘mean Romanesque’, which is a little unfair since Scott’s original church was much altered in the early 1980s, with functional blockish additions at both ends. The original facing material was multi-coloured stock brick, the alterations are in red brick, while the roof coverings are Roman tiles. The plan comprises a nave with north and south aisles of unequal width, shallow unequal transepts and a rectangular sanctuary. Across the whole of the west front is a single storey modern porch/narthex. The nave west wall is divided into three by pilaster buttresses, with a round-headed window in the centre bay and straight-headed windows in the outer bays. The nave is flanked by tall aisles of red brick, the south aisle wider than the north. Both aisles have flat roofs behind plain parapets. The aisle elevations are of five bays with pilaster buttresses and a round-headed window high in the wall of each bay. The rectangular flat-roofed sanctuary has a shallow side-lit eastern projection.
The interior is typical of Scott’s churches with bare brick walls and round arches. The west bay is divided from the rest of the nave by a wide open arch and may have originally contained a gallery (cf Waltham Cross). The main nave arcades have three wide plain round arches on brick piers with simple brick capitals. The open timber roof of the nave has king posts and raking struts. A brick organ gallery was formed in the south east bay as part of the 1980s work. In the east wall of the nave is a straight-headed opening to the modern sanctuary with the altar in a shallow side-lit niche with a scalloped head, producing an Art Deco effect.
Architect: T. H. B. Scott; Leslie Goodey Associates
Original Date: 1939
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed