Building » Stoke Newington – Our Lady of Good Counsel

Stoke Newington – Our Lady of Good Counsel

Bouverie Road, Stoke Newington, London N16

A solid Romanesque basilican design of the interwar period, built in two phases by the diocesan surveyor T. H. B. Scott and his son. The crossing is an impressive space, and there are several high-quality historic furnishings, notably the fine baldacchino and the nineteenth-century organ. The exterior has attractive massing, and makes a positive contribution to the local area. This is one of the best of Scott’s many churches in the diocese.

A temporary church was opened on 12 January 1888. The foundation stone of the present church was laid on 2 April 1927. By October that year, the east end and the crossing were completed, built close to the temporary church. The unfinished church opened for worship on 2 October 1927. For the next nine years, the old temporary church was used as the nave. The present nave was constructed in 1936. The architect for the eastern portion was Thomas Henry Birchall Scott (1872-1945), architect and surveyor to dioceses of Brentwood and Westminster. By 1928, he had taken his son, Thomas G. Birchall Scott into practice and together they completed the church in 1936. The Lady Chapel was apparently added later (Evinson).

The church shares many characteristics with other churches by T. H. B. Scott, especially Our Lady of Ransom, Rayleigh (Diocese of Brentwood) of 1934 (west front) and St Bonaventure, Welwyn Garden City (1926, nave interior, qv).  


The church is built using brown brick laid in Flemish bond and is roofed with pantiles. The plan is basilican, with an apsed east end, short transepts, a chapel off the south transept, and a low octagonal crossing tower with pyramidal roof. The gabled west elevation has a large circular window above a gabled porch with a recessed doorway and a carved relief of Our Lady of Good Counsel. On either side are narrow, straight-headed metal-framed windows. The same window form appears on the west end of the north aisle, while the south aisle terminates in a taller staircase bay with a cross roof and a round-arched window to the west. A former doorway on the south has been blocked with matching brick. The south aisle wall is largely blank apart from two small windows and a side door. There are further circular windows at the west end of the Lady Chapel and the end walls of the transepts, as well as in the four main faces of the tower. The transept gables have stone crosses, while the west gable has a metal cross.

The interior is mostly plastered and painted but red brick is exposed around the nave windows and the crossing tower on squinches is of exposed brown brick. The narthex below the organ gallery has an inscribed holy water stoup with a plaque above commemorating the installation of the west window for the millennium. To the north is a blocked former doorway into the former baptistery which now frames a pieta. This doorway has a decorative pattern of three lines, or wicket pattern, which recurs elsewhere in the woodwork in the church and is a favourite T.H.B. Scott motif. Towards the nave, the narthex is enclosed by a glazed timber screen. The (disused) octagonal font is still in the baptistery, as well as parts of the former wrought-iron screen whose door has been removed. (The current timber font is modern.)

The four-bay nave has a round-arched arcade on stone columns with square capitals. The king-post roof is exposed and the tie beams and cornices are incised with the triple-line motif. For each bay there are two round-arched clerestorey windows. The aisles have flat, timber-panelled ceilings with arches at either end. There is a confessional in the corner of the north aisle and the north transept. The north transept has dado panelling with the wicket motif and a marble plaque listing the parish priests. Below the circular gable window is a window of three oblong lights set into a recessed arch.

The flat-ceiled northeast chapel has a timber altar and a statue of the Sacred Heart. The sanctuary is dominated by a fine marble and stone baldacchino carved with vines and interlace patterns. The yellow marble altar has an incised ChiRho. The matching yellow marble-faced lectern seems to date from the post-Vatican II re-ordering. On either side of the shallow apse are the piscina and aumbry. The tabernacle is placed on a timber shelf in the apse, below a timber cornice with wicket motif and a painted arcade. The sacristy is to the southeast of the sanctuary.

The south transept has a circular window above a triple arcade to the Lady Chapel beyond. The arcade has been filled with aluminium-framed glazing. The ceiling of the chapel is canted. The east wall and a blind arch to the south are tiled with small blue and white mosaic tiles and larger white tiles. The statue of the Virgin Mary and the Child is by K. Bortrievikz (1907). In front is a modern marble altar.

The organ in its carved Gothic case has recently been identified by the British Institute of Organ Studies as being of historical significance. It was built by Mark Noble of Norwich in the mid-nineteenth-century. Rodney Briscoe of Boggis of Diss, Norfolk, installed it in the church about 30 years ago. Several artworks from other churches are stored on the gallery, including a stained glass panel (possibly of the nineteenth century). The west window, the only stained glass window in the church, shows Our Lady of Good Counsel with the Christ child (2000, by Shades of Light).

The Stations are oblong stone reliefs in the manner of Eric Gill, probably by the same sculptor as the relief over the west porch. Sculpture in the church includes statues of St Anthony, St Theresa, and St Joseph (by Mayer of Munich), as well as a small carved Gothic triptych in the north transept.

Heritage Details

Architect: T. H. B. Scott & T. G. B. Scott

Original Date: 1927

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed