Building » Kensal Rise – Church of the Transfiguration

Kensal Rise – Church of the Transfiguration

Wrentham Avenue, London NW10

A Methodist church built in 1899 and acquired for Roman Catholic worship in 1977, the present worship space the product of an extensive refurbishment of 2010. The external design and spire make the church a local landmark.

The parish was erected in 1977, when a former Wesleyan Methodist church was purchased and adapted for Catholic worship.  This had been built in 1899, from designs by W.G. Morley of Bradford. Upon sale of the church, the Methodist congregation transferred to the adjacent school.  In 2010 the church was extensively refurbished under the direction of Anthony Delarue, architect; a meeting room was formed above a new canopied main entrance.


The church is a free Decorated Gothic Revival style.  The main fronts to Kensal Rise and Wrentham Avenue are faced with bright red brick with stone dressings.  The two less conspicuous fronts are of yellow brick. The roof coverings are of slate. On plan the building comprises a short wide nave with a southwest tower and spire, an apsidal northwest stair projection and shallow transepts. The original orientation of the church has been reversed and the main altar is now at the west end of the building while the ground floor of the former chancel has become the narthex.

The gabled west front towards Kensal Rise has twin trefoil-arched entrances, now blocked, and a five-light window over with elaborate tracery. The short engaged tower is of three stages, with a pointed doorway at ground level, paired windows in the middle stage and a bell stage with twin traceried openings, now glazed, under gables which rise between stone pinnacles above the base of the octagonal stone spire. The stair projection is two storeys high with a pointed doorway at ground level and a row of two light windows with plate tracery above. The nave south wall has three pairs of trefoil-headed windows below and two-light pointed traceried windows above.  The shallow south transept has a four-light window below with a single four-light traceried window above. East of the transept is two storey building of domestic appearance with a chancel behind.  Across the front of both these has been built a long brick entrance porch with a central pointed eastern doorway flanked by open arcades with flat arches.

A vestibule with Doric columns leads to the church, which is now a single unobstructed space. Presumably there were originally galleries on three sides but if so these have been removed. Above the entrance from the vestibule is a small choir gallery on Doric columns.  The walls are plastered and painted with pilasters rising between the windows on the side walls.  The timber ceiling has a raised and boarded central section with painted coving at the sides.  The whole of the (liturgical) east wall has been painted with ashlaring and the sanctuary area is marked by a raised parquet platform.  All the fittings appear to be modern, though of traditional form.

Heritage Details

Architect: W. G. Morley of Bradford; Anthony Delarue

Original Date: 1899

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed