Building » West Drayton – St Catherine

West Drayton – St Catherine

The Green, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7

A mid-Victorian, brick Gothic Revival church by Willson & Nicholl, built for a mainly Irish congregation. The church has largely unaltered interior, with rich and interesting decorative work at the east end. The tower was never completed, the present top stage being an addition of 1985. The church is attractively sited across the road from West Drayton Green and makes a notable contribution to the conservation area.

Built in 1869, chiefly, it is said, for Irish immigrants. The architects were T. J. Willson and S. J. Nicholl. The tower, which was intended to have a spire, was not completed; in 1985 the present top was added to finish it off (architect B.D. Kaye). The presbytery was built in the 1950s and the parish centre in 2010-11.


The church is oriented to the north so directions given are liturgical.

The church is built of buff stock brick in a Gothic style, drawing on motifs from the early fourteenth century. Covered with slate roofs, it consists of a five-bay aisled nave, two-bay sanctuary with a chapel on either side, and a northwest tower (which doubles as a porch). The west bay of the south aisle has been screened off to form a repository. The traceried Decorated fenestration is varied and includes a five-light west window, a circular window at the east end (with lovely flowing tracery), three-light reticulated windows at clerestory level in the sanctuary, and two- and three-light windows in the nave clerestory.

Inside, the walls are plastered and whitened. The nave arcades have octagonal piers and double-chamfered arches. There is no chancel arch and the division between nave and sanctuary is marked by thin wall-shafts carrying a small-scale hammerbeam truss. The nave has a pair of tie-beams, and scissor-bracing to the common rafters. Over the sanctuary is a seven-sided roof with an open central portion. In contrast to the relatively plain nave and aisles, the sanctuary and chapels are richly embellished (see below). The ceiling over the Lady Chapel has a traceried plaster ceiling.

Fixtures and fittings:

  • Reredos: This is the most prominent item, with a central canopy above the  tabernacle, figures of the Evangelists, numerous angels and a wealth of tracery work. The reredoses in the side chapels are also richly treated.
  • Between the sanctuary and chapels are ornately carved screens.
  • Altars: High altar carved with a  scene of Christ rising from the Tomb, flanked by figures of St Catherine and St Michael. The Lady altar (south) has a three-bay open screen. The  Sacred Heart chapel altar shows the Sacred Heart flanked by a pair of  angels.
  • Font: By S. J. Nicholl. Octagonal,  with emblems of the Passion and the Baptism of Christ.
  • Stained glass: Eight windows with glass mostly by Lavers, Barraud & Westlake, various dates 1884-1916.
  • Painting: At the rear of the church  is a large painting of Christ being prepared for the Crucifixion. It is thought to be a studio copy of a work attributed to Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652). An adjacent notice says the parish does not know how the painting found its way here.

The church was listed Grade II in 2016, following Taking Stock. List description at:

Heritage Details

Architect: T. J. Willson & S. J. Nicholl

Original Date: 1869

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II