Bowes Road, London N11
An Italianate church of the inter-war period which was never completed to the original design. The interior is an attractive space.
The parish was erected in 1923. The large mid-Victorian house which still serves as the presbytery was purchased with extensive grounds, which subsequently provided the site for both the parish church and the primary school behind it. It seems that the original idea for the church was ambitious, with a long aisled nave, an arched entrance loggia and a northwest campanile, but in the event the church was built with a short nave and with a small bellcote instead of the campanile. The architect was J. Arnold Crush of Edgbaston, perhaps best known in a Catholic context as the first architect of the present abbey church at Douai, Berkshire. That church, three years earlier than the New Southgate church, is Gothic in style, while Our Lady of Lourdes is firmly Italianate.
In 1986 the building was enlarged by an additional bay at the west of the nave, with a lower narthex on three sides with a hipped roof (architect Boris Kaye).
The church is in the Italianate style. The main structure is of reinforced concrete with an external cladding of red Holbrook bricks with dressings of Portland stone and roof coverings of Roman tiles to the main roof and plain clay tiles to the narthex. The plan comprises an aisled nave with western narthex, a short apsidal sanctuary and a small bellcote on the north side and the junction of sanctuary and nave.
The west end wall of the main church has a wide shallow gable with a roundel in the head and deep eaves. Flanking the wall are substantial Portland stone brackets and beneath them spreads the roof of the narthex, whose west wall has a central round-headed doorway flanked by two pairs of round-headed windows. The side aisles have pent roofs and simple rectangular openings with metal windows. The clerestory above has four round-headed windows each side in brick surrounds. The apsidal sanctuary is the same height as the nave with one round-headed window each side but with a plain parapet.
The interior is plastered and painted with a teak parquet floor in the nave and a granite floor in the sanctuary. The western narthex opens directly into the nave through large plain openings. The nave has five-bay arcades with unmoulded round arches on cushion capitals and plain columns with entasis, except at the west end where the new western arches die into the west wall. The open timber nave roof has tie-beams supporting braced king-posts and queen-struts. The timbers of the aisle roofs are also exposed. The sanctuary is raised two steps above the nave. It was never richly fitted and now has modern stone and timber fittings (perhaps installed in 1986) and a large carved figure of Our Lord against the wall of the apse. The altarpiece of the south aisle chapel, which was one of the original furnishings of the church, is of majolica and is a copy of Della Robbia’s Annunciation. Early photographs show the church seated with chairs, so the benches are a later introduction.
Architect: J. Arnold Crush; Boris Kaye
Original Date: 1935
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed