Building » Selsdon – St Columba

Selsdon – St Columba

Queenhill Road, Selsdon, Surrey CR2

A plain, very loosely Italianate design of the early 1960s, built to serve the expanding post-war Catholic population of this Croydon suburb.

In 1927 Fr Larkin, parish priest at St Gertrude’s South Croydon, purchased a site in Queenhill Road and built a small brick structure to serve as a Mass centre for the Catholics of Selsdon. In 1935 this was enlarged so as to seat 140. Three years later Selsdon was erected as an independent parish, and in due course the house at 37 Queenhill Road was acquired to serve as a presbytery.

The building of new housing estates in the 1950s meant that the enlarged church was soon outgrown, and in 1959 Lawrence Tomei of Tomei & Maxwell was asked  to prepare plans for a new purpose-built church. Work started in the spring of 1960, and was completed in time for Easter 1962. The cost was £23,000, including furnishings, and the church seated 400. The old church was retained behind, linked to the new, to serve as a parish hall and sacristy.

In 1976 the sanctuary was reordered by Tomei & Mackley of Woldingham; a new travertine marble forward altar introduced, with a plinth for the Blessed Sacrament behind. In 1982 stained glass by Goddard & Gibbs was installed in the east window.


The church is orientated roughly north-south, but this description follows conventional liturgical orientation, i.e. as if the altar faced east.

The church is a plain modern design, given a loosely Italianate or Romanesque feel by the round-arched entrance front with bellcote over (housing a statue, presumably of St Columba), and by the double Roman pantiles of the roof. On plan it is T-shaped, consisting of a nave with western narthex/gallery and a square ended sanctuary with north and south transepts/chapels giving off. The external walls are faced in load bearing red brick laid in English bond. The windows, originally metal framed, have been renewed in uPVC.

The interior has not been inspected, and this description uses secondary sources. The entrance narthex or lobby leads into the main space of the church, which is a single space with plastered walls and a shallow transverse arched plaster ceiling. A western gallery provides extra seating. The sanctuary was original high dado panelling around its sides and a marble forward altar and tabernacle stand dating from the 1976 reordering. The tripartite window in the east wall contains stained glass of 1982 by Goddard & Gibbs, depicting a Celtic cross, Christ the King, and the Dove of the Holy Spirit.

Heritage Details

Architect: Tomei & Maxwell

Original Date: 1962

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed