The Priest’s House, 36 Fort Road, Newhaven, East Sussex BN9 9EJ
A modest and much-altered red brick and flint neo-Norman design of 1898, with short tower and contemporary presbytery.
A mission was established in Newhaven in 1895, with Mass said in the priest’s house, Albion Villa in Fort Road (The Tablet, 31 August 1895). The foundation stone of the present church was laid by the Rev. R. V. Collinson, priest of the mission, on 4 August 1897. The Tablet (14 August 1897) wrote that ‘the church is to be built in the Italian style, of cut flints and red brick dressings, with tower and presbytery adjoining. The buildings have been designed by Mr W. Romain of St Joseph’s Home, Blackfriars Road SE. For the present it is proposed to build only a portion of the nave of the church, with seating accommodation for 100 people’. The church was opened by the Bishop of Southwark on 2 January 1898.
It has been suggested that ‘Mr W. Romain’ was the fashionable London architect W. H. Romaine-Walker, but this is unlikely. The same name appears with reference to St Joseph’s Home in The Tablet in the following year (26 March 1898):
‘On Saturday afternoon a large number of friends assembled at St. George’s Schools, Southwark, to assist in the function of laying the foundation-stone by his Grace the Duke of Norfolk of a new Hall and Club […] The work is entrusted to the Building Department of St. Joseph’s Training Home under the management of Father St. John, with Mr. Romain as clerk of the works. This institution, seems to be a unique experiment, the Building Department undertaking extensive contracts, including, we understand, all school and church buildings erected in the diocese on behalf of the Bishop. The Home has been in existence now for two years, and has completed among other works the Anerley and and Dartford schools, and the Convent Orphanage of the Sisters of Mercy at Croydon.’
The design for the hall at Southwark was evidently similar to that for Newhaven, for the Tablet report continues that ‘the new hall is designed in the early Italian style, and is being built of brick with stone dressings.’ No further information has been obtained about this venture, or indeed about Mr Romain.
The Newhaven church is a brick and flint building in a simple neo-Norman style with triplets of stepped lancets. It appears to have been extended at the sanctuary end and to have had a completely new roof and windows.
Amended by AHP 13.02.2021
Architect: W. Romain
Original Date: 1898
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed