The Green, Heston Road, Heston, Middlesex TW5
A large suburban church, built in the early 1960s. The plan is conventionally longitudinal, but the design is entirely of its time. Overall the building has some distinction, especially in the wide, light interior, and contains striking glass by Pierre de Fourmaintraux.
The parish was founded originally by the White Fathers in the 1920s but in the early 1960s they relinquished it and Fr Peter Moore was appointed as first parish priest from the Archdiocese of Westminster. The existing church was too small, as the local population has increased significantly, and the house was old and uneconomic to run. It was decided to build a new church and presbytery on the site of a house formerly owned by the White Sisters. Plans were drawn up in 1961-62 by John Newton of Burles, Newton & Partners, and the church was budgeted to cost £42,000, with seating for 450-500 people. The foundation stone was laid on 13 July 1963 and the opening took place in October 1964. The bells in the tower were made by the Whitechapel foundry, and were financed by the collection of Green Shield Stamp tokens in the parish. Under Fr Moore, junior, infant and nursery schools were also built (not on this site) and in about 1972 a large parish centre (to the east of the church) constructed. This was soon found to be too small and a substantial addition, also by Burles Newton & Partners was made to it in 1979 and it is now known as the Pope John Centre. A side entrance and parish rooms on the south side of the church were added on the south under plans of 1982 by Gerald Murphy, Burles, Newton & Partners.
The church is oriented to the north; directions given in this description are liturgical.
The church is large and is constructed of reinforced concrete with lattice roof trusses. The external walls have thin, long, buff facing bricks with stone dressings, and are of load-bearing construction. The plan consists of a nave and sanctuary (in a single volume); aisles; a tall, southwest tower crowned by a stainless steel flèche; a polygonal, sunken (former) baptistery at the northwest; the English Martyrs’ chapel beyond the east end; and sacristies linked to the presbytery. The tower has a children’s room at the base. At the west end is a large porch with two columns in antis. The porch has a repository on the north side. A public gallery extends over the porch and houses the organ. The centre of the south aisle is overlooked by a choir gallery. Confessionals lead off both aisles (those on the north are now used for storage). On the south side is a polygonal porch.
The main distinguishing features of the exterior are: 1) the tower which forms a minor local landmark and has a number of small rectangular windows, and 2) the treatment of the aisles, which have on either side three broad segmental arches covering strips of glazing. The west end of the church is quite severe with plain brick faces; that to the main body of the church being punctuated by the arches to the porch. The nave has a clerestory of square windows. The sanctuary is lit by an array of more square windows.
The internal walls are rendered – painted in the lower parts, and bare with natural-coloured rendering in the upper; this bare treatment is applied to the entire (blind) east wall of the sanctuary. The nave and aisles are wide and are divided from one another by circular, reinforced concrete piers clad with strips of thin, grey stone arranged vertically. These arcades have three wide bays (18ft centres) and half-bays either side of these. The roof trusses are concealed behind segmental-shaped, boarded ceilings. At the east end of the south aisle is the Chapel of the Risen Lord but there is no structural or screened separation from the body of the church.
There are no fittings of any great heritage significance and items like statues and the Stations are conventional modern work. What is notable, however, is the brightly-coloured dalle de verre stained glass in the former baptistery, by Pierre Fourmaintraux of James Powell & Sons, dating from 1966. This fills the eight outward-facing sides (photo bottom right). The patterns seem to be largely abstract but in two faces can be detected a Cross above Golgotha, and a Lamb and Flag. There is further similar glass by Fourmaintraux in the south porch (1964).
Architect: Burles, Newton & Partners
Original Date: 1964
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed