Bicknor Road, Park Wood, Maidstone, Kent ME15
An architecturally unexceptional church building of the 1970s.
The post-war expansion of Maidstone, with residential suburbs spreading up to three miles from the town centre, put pressure on St Francis’s church and necessitated the building of Mass centres in the suburbs. Parkwood lies three miles southeast of the centre and Catholic schools were opened there in 1966. A presbytery was built in 1968 and Fr Tuohey became the first resident priest. The following year, Maidstone South was canonically erected as a parish and Fr William P. Dinane became the first parish priest.
Plans for the church were drawn up in 1970; work on site started in 1971 and the church opened on 30 March 1973. The cost of the building (exclusive of furnishings) was £36,350. The architects were Ivor Day & O’Brien of Bristol, the contractors Flaherty Brothers Ltd.
The church is based on a square plan with a low-pitched pyramidal roof in two tiers, divided by a clerestory. A thin spire has subsequently been removed. The church is built of yellow brick with a concrete tiled roof. Whilst the clerestory provides most of the light to the interior, the walls have large rectangular full height window openings which provide interruptions to the otherwise unbroken brickwork. Large flat-roofed porch, open at each end and more like a porte cochère. A bank of doors lead into the narthex and straight through to the square worship area. Laminated timber beams and slender columns are visible and the underside of the pyramid roof is boarded. The walls are of exposed yellow brick whilst the lower part of the pyramid roof is plastered and painted. The furnishings are largely contemporary with the church and do not require detailed description. Later stained glass in the clerestory with alternate pictorial panels and commemoration inscriptions.
Architect: Ivor Day & O’Brien
Original Date: 1970
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed