Vicarage Road, Plympton, Plymouth, Devon
An unpretentious interwar church by Leonard Drysdale in the Arts and Crafts tradition, built as a memorial to Bishop Keily. Lack of funds necessitated a downgrading of the original specification, and the building is not of the same quality as Drysdale’s slightly later church at Weymouth.
The church was built in 1931-2 as a memorial to Bishop Keily, Bishop of Plymouth for seventeen years, who had a great devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes. Funds raised by subscription were not adequate for the larger building originally intended. In the Diocesan archive is a letter from the architect George Drysdale, commenting on his design:
‘I fear the church cannot be said to have been designed in any particular style. The endeavour was to make the building look as spacious as possible for the money spent. Reliance was placed on a careful adjustment of parts, on colour, on materials and on the right quality of light for effect. The walls white, both inside and out, the roof grey green, the floor red and the woodwork generally a light walnut colour. All very simply treated to act as a contrast to the bright colour on the altar furnishings…’
Church and presbytery are combined in a single range parallel to the road. Both have rendered white painted external walls and roof coverings of Cornish slate. The church is aisleless, with a northwest porch and northeast sacristy, both under catslide roofs. Attached to the rear of the church is a modern flat roofed parish hall. Both aide walls of the church have three pairs of round-headed windows set high in the wall; below the central window on the street side is a stone niche with an image of Our Lady of Lourdes under a scrolled pediment.
The interior is a single cell with plain plastered walls and an open timber roof with king-post trusses. At the west end is an organ gallery, now underbuilt to provide a separate lobby space inside the porch. The outer windows of both side walls are set under broad round-headed relieving arches. There is a similar arch against the blind east wall. All the windows in the church are clear glazed. The nave has plain benches which may be original. The church has been reordered, with a broad sanctuary step and an altar brought from the closed school chapel at Tremough (now the University of Cornwall).
Architect: Leonard Stokes & Drysdale
Original Date: 1932
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed