Ness Road, Shoeburyness, Essex SS3
A large and rather utilitarian brick church of the 1930s, with a striking and original west front.
A Mass centre for the Shoeburyness garrison was established as early as 1862, served from Westcliff. An iron church was built in 1891 on the site of present church, and enlarged in 1915. A new presbytery was built in 1927, from designs by T.H.B. Scott. The foundation stone of the present church, also designed by Scott, was laid in August 1938, when Fr Toft was parish priest. The building was first used for worship in July 1939. An additional sacristy and meeting room were added in the 1970s. The church interior was reordered 1989-90.
The church is a modern round-arched design of the 1930s. The external walls are faced with grey-brown stock brick laid in Flemish bond; the roof is covered in red concrete tiles. The plan comprises a single large aisleless space with nave and sanctuary under a continuous pitched roof, set behind a frontage with the west tower. The composition of the west front is striking and original. From the rectangular brick southwest tower, with its wide round-arched doorway with three statues in niches above (St John Fisher, St George, St Thomas More), the front steps down in three stages, each with a single round-headed window in the upper part. The tallest stage has a shallow gable, the others have straight parapets. The side and end walls of the church are closely hemmed in by other buildings. The side walls have pilaster strips and simple single round-headed windows.
The interior is a wide space with parquet floor, plain plastered walls and a shallow curved ceiling. At the west end is a gallery with a timber front, off-centre to the nave because it is set alongside the tower. The side walls have simple single clerestory windows, all clear glazed. At the east end three round arches in the north wall open on to the Lady Chapel. On the east wall of the sanctuary is a tall round-arched recess for the original high altar with an inner blind arch against which is set the original stone reredos. The general composition is clearly influenced by the work of Sir John Soane. When the sanctuary was reordered in 1989-90 a new altar was set on the curving sanctuary steps and the font was set to the right of the altar. The nave benches are probably original.
Architect: T. H. B. Scott
Original Date: 1938
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed