Pilgrim’s Way West, Otford, Kent
A modest and, at least internally, not unappealing church of the 1980s. The Stations of the Cross are the only fittings of particular note.
A chapel was erected at Little Timberden at nearby Shoreham in 1926, served by a travelling mission. This was bombed in 1944 after which the Catholics took over the old Methodist chapel in Otford which had been vacated in 1935. Plans for a new church were described as ‘advanced’ in 1973 but the foundation stone was not laid until 1980 and the present church opened the following year.
The church was designed by Stanley Kerr Bate, the inheritor of Frederick Walters’s practice, and was built in 1980-1. It is built of brick, red externally and yellow internally, under a concrete tile roof. The plan is informal, with the main body of the church under a pitched roof running west to east (the altar is at the west end). To the south lies an internal and external porch and a broad south aisle angled-in towards the west. On the north side is a flat-roofed element housing ancillary rooms, built up against the north aisle. If there are main elevations it is those to the east and south. The gable of the east front is unequal as it extends down over the south aisle but not over the flat-roofed north aisle. In the centre of the gable is a slot of recessed brickwork and a large (liturgical west) window with straight-sided pointed head. Otherwise the windows are small and round-headed, one each at the ends of the aisle, two to the south aisle and in pairs to the clerestory, two pairs to south and three to north. There are round-arched doorways and openings on three sides of the porch, but the church cannot be said to be in any particular style.
The interior has more a more appealing character, the main feature being the semi-circular sanctuary arch which springs from the floor. The sanctuary is canted and given a more decorated finish, with plastered walls and a moulded cornice. The nave is separated from the aisles by an arcade of brick piers and concrete lintel. The rafters and roof trusses are exposed to view. The pews and lectern came from a church at Mottingham but none of the fittings is of special note except perhaps the Stations of the Cross, ceramic and said by Canon Bailey to be the work of Adam Kossowski (1905-86).
Architect: Stanley Kerr Bate
Original Date: 1980
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed