Latimer Road, Wimbledon, London SW19
An interesting design of 1905 by the well-known Catholic architect F. A. Walters. Like Walters’ church of the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, it was built for the Jesuits. Its design is a highly personal version of the Romanesque style, its streaky bacon polychromy probably influenced by J. F. Bentley’s Westminster Cathedral, opened in 1903. The stately interior is rich in fittings, including a tall reredos, alabaster sanctuary rails and a marble-lined Lady Chapel.
St Winefride’s was built in 1905 to meet the needs of the Catholics in South Wimbledon, which was then a working class area. The mission had been established by the Society of Jesus in 1882 and for the following 23 years Mass was said in Russell Road. The site for a school and an iron church here had been purchased by Edith Arendrup, who subsequently paid for the building of the Sacred Heart church in Edge Hill Road. F.A. Walters, the architect of Sacred Heart, was asked to design St Winefride’s. The Jesuits served the parish until 1961, when it was passed to the diocese. The church was consecrated in 1980.
The parish hall is in Russell Road, a short distance from the church; this is the former Catholic Institute, built in about 1905.
The church is fully described in the list entry, below, and there is little to add. Most of the windows are clear glazed but the semi-circular east window above the reredos has some modern stained glass (Last Supper, by Carmel Cauchi, 1985).
Roman Catholic Church, corner of Latimer Road and Merton Road, 1904-5, by Frederick A. Walters. Red brick and stone dressing with large areas of rough cast for plain wall surfaces. Slated pitched roof. Romanesque style. Rectangular plan, wide nave with narrow aisles, deep sanctuary. Lady Chapel at south-east corner; sacristy and vestry on north-cast side; baptistry at the north-west corner. West elevation: central round window in gable end with plate tracery pierced by eight round windows. This is encircled by a red brick border within a panel of roughcast, which extends into the gable terminating in three arches. To the left. a tall belfry, shallow in depth, pierced by two round-headed openings with decorative voussoirs, pedimented top with ornamental brickwork. The striped banding at even intervals carries right across the whole facade except for the rough cast area. An elaborate porch above entrance with recessed arches flanked by niches. Latimer Road elevation: small porch at north-west corner with triple lights in gable, two round arches with rough cast infill on each side wall. Large gabled transept at east end. Nave wall: alternating bays of rectangular panels of rough cast and round arched bays with nogging in the spandrels.
INTERIOR: six bay, double arcades in brick with stone dressing carried on brick piers. The bays are subdivided below the clerestory windows into two smaller arches carried on stone columns. The whole interior is finished in red brick with stone voussoirs in the arches and black bands. Wooden gallery at west end carried on three arches resting on stone columns. Timber roof round-headed chancel arch with stone and brick chequered pattern. Two-bay chancel with paired clerestory windows. Shallow brick apse, originally from floor to roof the upper part now opened up and filled with modern stained glass. Original fixed oak pews and wood block floor. Of particular interest is the large reredos which fills the whole of the central portion of the cast end. It is made of carved and inlaid marble and alabaster. It consists of a solid retable with a richly embossed and enamelled gilt tabernacle in the centre flanked by inlaid roundels with instruments of the Passion. On either side of these are supports terminating in turretted canopies encasing the figures of St Winefride and St Ignatius. The central throne for the Blessed Sacrament is surmounted by a larger domed turret with Christ rising from the tomb; the Holy Lamb in the panel beneath. Three tiers of arcading with columns of green marble with caps and bosses of white alabaster. The larger arcades are filled by statues of the four evangelists and angels. The altar is of marble and stone with an embossed and gilded metal front. The alabaster altar rail, with coloured marble inlay, is separated by wrought-iron gates. The Lady Chapel also possesses a richly carved marble and alabaster altar and reredos. The reredos comprises a central panel with a figure of the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception flanked by relief panels either side representing the Triumph of Good over Evil and the Annunciation. The altar and chapel were intended to be a memorial of the proclamation of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in 1854.
Historical note – The Jesuits founded their church of Sacred Heart at Edge Hill, Wimbledon in 1886, thereby establishing a Catholic presence in the area. Walters, the architect for the Sacred Heart, was also the architect for St. Winefride’s. Walters was articled to Goldie and Child and, from the 1880s, was renowned for his versatility in the use of various styles. The style and materials of St Winefride’s owe much to the influence of Scott, Bodley and Bentley.
Architect: F. A. Walters
Original Date: 1905
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Grade II