St Richard’s Road, Mongeham, Deal, Kent CT14
Built in the 1930s as a dual church and social centre to serve the new mining community housed in Upper Deal. It is a simple building with a west front of unusual design which recalls some entertainment buildings of the period.
Betteshanger Colliery opened in 1926. Many of the mineworkers settled in the Mill Hill area, where new housing was built for them. Fr J. M. O’Connell, who was at that time chaplain to St Ethelburga’s Convent, Deal, undertook the care of the new mission of St Johns. A site was purchased in St Richard’s Road and a new church built, which opened in early 1934. It was originally intended as a dual-purpose building which could serve as both a church and a social centre. The presbytery was built in 1937.
The church is designed in a free version of the Romanesque style. The walls are faced with hard red brick laid in stretcher bond with dressings of stone. The main west front is of stone, now painted. The roof is covered in Welsh slate. On plan, the church is a single large unaisled space with twin canted bays flanking the main western entrance, flat-roofed projections at each corner containing chapels and sacristies and an apsidal east end. The main west front is an elaborate composition with twin entrance doors under a square projecting bay, which has five small rectangular windows and a hipped roof which is set into the hipped end of the main nave roof. The entrance doors are flanked by canted bays with small round-headed windows and pyramidal roofs. Behind the bays rises the blind west wall of the nave, with a ramped parapet screening the northwest and southwest chapels. The side walls are of six bays divided by plain brick buttresses with paired round-headed windows in the westernmost bay and triple windows in the remaining bays. The east end is a windowless canted bay.
The interior has a modern boarded floor, (green) painted bare brick walls and a boarded canted ceiling with the tie beams of the timber roof exposed. At the west end of the nave is a small organ chamber in the bay over the entrance lobby and a western gallery with a timber front filling the first bay of the nave. It is possible that this gallery has been enlarged. The side walls have pilaster strips with capitals and paired pilaster strips with entasis and more elaborate capitals in the eastern bay and round the apsidal sanctuary. There is no chancel arch; the sanctuary is marked by a single step, and by cream paint on the walls. The windows are all clear-glazed, the fittings are simple and none appear to predate the church.
Architect: Not established
Original Date: 1934
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed