Beechings Way, Twydall, Kent ME8
A plain design of 1970, of little architectural or historical significance.
In 1957, the site for the chapel was acquired by Fr Scott from Gillingham Borough Council. Work on site started in 1961. The architect was Eduardo Dodds, who had also built the parish church of St Thomas, Rainham. (After Dodds’s death in 1963, the work was continued by his partner, Kenneth White.) The builders were Nye & Son. The chapel opened in 1964. It was served jointly by the parishes of Rainham and Gillingham until September 1965.
By 1969, a huge crack had appeared in a wall of the still unconsecrated church. This, together with the leaking roof, convinced the parish priest of Rainham that the chapel was not safe and had to be demolished. The last Mass was held on 25 January 1970. The replacement chapel was designed by Broadbent, Hastings, Reid & Todd, with D. A. Reid as partner-in-charge. The structural engineer was Norman Crossley and the builders Flaherty Brothers of Rainham. The chapel was opened on 5 December 1970 by Archbishop Cowderoy. The cost was £25,850. The Stations and crucifix from the first chapel were installed in the new one. Fears over the chapel’s viability delayed the dedication until 29 June 1990.
More recently the chapel has suffered from vandalism. It is planned to close the chapel at the end of June 2011, with the last Mass taking place on 29 June 2011. The benches and the altar will be installed at the church of St Simon Stock, Walderslade, while the crucifix will go to the school of St Thomas of Canterbury.
*Update: the church has been demolished and the site redeveloped (St Peter’s House)*
The chapel is facing southwest; however, this description uses the conventional, liturgical orientation.
The chapel was built in 1970 by D. A. Reid of Broadbent, Hastings, Reid & Todd. It is a steel-framed structure with loadbearing external walls faced with white Uxbridge flint bricks laid in stretcher bond. The pitched roof is covered in dark grey stonewold tiles. The windows are uPVC replacements. The plan is cruciform, nearly forming a Greek cross. The building has a pitched roof, with one dormer on the southern slope. There are flat-roofed ancillary spaces at the east end. The entrance is at the southwest.
While the exterior gives the appearance of a nave with lean-to aisles, the interior is actually used as one space. At the west end is a gallery, with a former crying chapel with a small kitchen below. Between the four vertical window bands on the north side is a statue of St Anthony. At the northeast is a shrine to the Virgin. The sanctuary furniture is of matching grey granite. The crucifix on the east wall is by Philip Lindsey Clark. The Stations are framed timber carvings. At the southeast is the top-lit Blessed Sacrament chapel with the tabernacle, and a statue of St Peter above (Sister Concordia OSB, 1997).
Architect: Broadbent Hastings Reid & Todd
Original Date: 1970
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed