The Close, Ringwood, Hants
A functionalist interpretation of a traditional church form, with no extraneous ornament. The stripped, elemental design perhaps shows the influence of F.X. Velarde’s contemporary church of St Monica at Bootle (1936), but also bears comparison with functional industrial designs of the pre-war years. The church was completed in a reduced form after 1945; the original design was for a larger building, with a small west tower.
For most of the 1930s Catholics in Ringwood worshipped at a Mass centre in the home of a Captain and Mrs Avery at St Mary’s Cottage, Hightown. The present site was purchased in 1935, and a parish created in 1936. Fr Grieg, the first parish priest, oversaw the building of the present church. The original design was for a church twice the length of the present structure (hence the setback from the road), with a small tower. The building was unfinished at the outbreak of war in 1939, and a temporary wooden wall was built at the liturgical west end to close the building off. The building was completed in its reduced brick form at a later date, probably in the 1950s.
The church is in a modern cubical style; the walls are of red brick laid in English bond. Nave and chancel form a flat-roofed box, with flat-roofed side aisles, a box-like projecting front porch and projecting side sacristies at the ritual eastern end. The windows are all metal framed and set in narrow vertical openings. There is a triple opening over the porch and paired openings in aisles and clerestorey.
Internally the building is equally simple, with bare brick walls, a flat boarded timber ceiling and three flat-arched openings to the low side aisles divided by plain brick piers. A triple brick arch in the east wall opens into the original square-ended windowless sanctuary, which has vertical strips of brick-on-edge ornament on the rear wall. The windows are clear glazed throughout. The floor is now carpeted, with modern chairs.
Architect: John E. Sterrett
Original Date: 1937
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed