Church Road, Manor Park, London E12
A big-boned modern Gothic church of the 1950s by Burles & Newton, architects of many churches in the Diocese of Brentwood. The vaulted interior is handsome though simply fitted. The building makes a positive contribution to the surrounding area.
A temporary wooden church dedicated to St Stephen was erected on the site in 1924, which was initially served from St Nicholas, Manor Park (qv). When the presbytery was built (in 1934, from designs by T. H. B. Scott, Diocesan surveyor), St Stephen’s became the principal church of the parish. The timber building was badly damaged in the Second World War. The present church was built from designs by D. R. Burles of Burles & Newton and opened on 15 October 1959.
St Stephen’s is a large church which occupies a long narrow corner site and is designed in a stripped modern Gothic style. The walls are faced externally with pink brick laid in Flemish bond and the roof is covered in tiles. The building consists of a single 120ft long unaisled nave, with shallow transepts at the east end flanking the sanctuary. At the west end there is a single broad gable with a central stone frame with a pointed arched head enclosing three entrance doorways with a pair of tall windows above each one. The nave side walls have two large transeptal gabled roofs on each side with tall five-light windows in stone frames. East of the nave are actual transepts with similar five light windows. The east end of the church is attached to the presbytery.
Internally the church has a tall vaulted roof carried on pre-stressed concrete portal frames. The vaulting is in three bays, corresponding to the three main external windows in each side. The internal walls are plastered. The roof is faced with some acoustic material. The floor is covered in linoleum tiles. The windows are all clear glazed. At the west end of the nave is a large choir gallery with a vestibule beneath. In the sanctuary the original red granite altar is set on a dais under the eastern arm of the vault, with the red granite font at the foot of the steps. The fittings are simple but include Stations of the Cross painted on a frieze beneath the windows by the Rev. Aengus Buckley O.P.
Architect: Burles & Newton
Original Date: 1959
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed