Hallowell Road, Northwood HA6
A 1920s red-brick suburban church built in a round-arched style, with a spacious, light interior.
The parish was founded in 1923 and St Matthew’s church built in 1923-4 to meet the needs of Catholics in the surrounding area, which was growing in population. The architect/designer was W. Louis Carr, a surveyor of Northwood. The church was consecrated in 1954. The aisles were extended in 1983 (architect Gerald Murphy of Burles, Newton & Partners, information from Chris Fanning).
The church is oriented to the southwest; all directions given are liturgical.
A red brick church under a red-tiled roof with its entrance close to the road. It consists of a nave, lean-to aisles, a sanctuary with transept-like lateral projections (flush with the aisles), a small narthex/porch at the west end, and a projecting former baptistery (north). The style is a very simple, free treatment of Romanesque: the windows are metal-framed and are mostly round-arched. Some of those at the west end are square but are placed under round-arched heads with the infill being made up of attractive, radially-arranged, edge-on tiles. There is a clerestory with three lights each side.
The interior, faced with bare brick, is light and broad and has a glazed-in area under the gallery at the west end. The triple arcade to the aisles has an odd rhythm of a wide-broad-wide arrangement although there is, seemingly, no architectural or liturgical reason for it: the middle arch is, consequently, of segmental shape. The arcades have small, square concrete piers with chamfered-off corners and which expand in a rather ungainly way in the capitals. Either side of the sanctuary are transepts which rise to the full height of the building and are flush with the outer walls of the aisles. The east wall is blind. The roof is arch-braced and is ceiled above the collar.
There are no fittings or furnishings requiring special notice other than the stained glass by G. Maile & Sons – roundels in the transepts (date of death 1963, depicting St John Fisher and St Thomas More) and the baptistery (1964-5), traditional in style.
Entry amended by AHP 7.1.2021
Architect: W. Louis Carr (Surveyor)
Original Date: 1923
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed