Building » Paddington – Our Lady of Sorrows

Paddington – Our Lady of Sorrows

Cirencester Street, London W2

A small plain church built adjacent to the school where the mission was founded. The church was later extended upwards. The presbytery and the parish office are two Victorian terraced houses which are the only survivors in the neighbourhood of the original terraces which used to line the streets north of Paddington Station.

From about 1902, Mass was said at the school by Fr Joseph Worsley of the Oblates of St Charles. The foundation stone of the church was blessed by Cardinal Bourne on 17 May 1912 and the church opened later that year. The architect was Ernest Henry Major (born 1876) of Tasker, Williams & Major. The contractor was E.H. Roome. In 1916, the roof was removed and the school hall built above it. The church was reopened on 14 April 1916.

By c.1926, the sanctuary walls and ceiling were timber panelled with the panels decorated with ‘graceful arabesque designs on a creamy ground’ (Rottmann, p. 91). Over the tabernacle was a painting of the Holy Eucharist with adoring angels. The reredos was painted dark blue with fleur-de-lys and had an oil painting of Our Lady of Sorrows.

At Christmas 1966 (VCH: 1965) a fire damaged the sanctuary and the Lady Chapel. As part of the refurbishment, the sanctuary was reordered. The church reopened with new furnishings on 25 December 1967.

The parish remained in the care of the Oblates of St Charles until 1970, when it passed into the care of the Archdiocese. In 2006, the architects Lyall + Winter prepared proposals for some light reordering, not implemented.


The church is longitudinal in plan. The materials are stock brick in English bond with red brick dressings. The church itself is on the ground floor, below two upper storeys. The building has a flat roof. The west elevation has a central recessed arched doorway with a crucifix above. It is flanked by two windows with two windows to the first floor. To the north, the church has a pair of narrow narthex windows, four arched nave windows, and a pair of narrow sacristy windows below two three-light mullioned and transomed windows. The first floor has alternating paired and single windows, while the second floor has a band of three-light windows.

The flat-ceiled nave is divided into four bays by transverse beams supported on square pillars which also divide the interior into something like a nave with side aisles, although this is not expressed in any other way. The narthex below the low organ gallery is separated from the nave by a glazed timber screen (c.1960s). The repository is at the southwest and the gallery stair at the northwest, with a confessional under the stairs. In the northwest corner are statues of St Anthony and St Sharbel (the church is also home to a Maronite community).

On either side of the entrance to the sacristy at the northwest are unpainted timber statues of the Sacred Heart and the Virgin Mary (by Dame Mildred OSB). The sanctuary is a low square recess with a segmentally-curved timber ceiling. The walls are of exposed brick in stretcher bond. The marble altar rests on four columns; the font and lectern are of timber. On the east wall hangs a cross with the Risen Christ in front of a curtain. Between the sanctuary and the side chapel is a Risen Christ sculpture. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel is a similar brick-lined recess with two south windows and a timber-panelled flat ceiling. A square stone pedestal supports the tabernacle. The Stations of the Cross are fine timber reliefs.

Heritage Details

Architect: E. H. Major of Tasker, Williams & Major

Original Date: 1912

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed