Holy Trinity Church - Southend Crescent, Eltham, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 26.906 E 000° 03.851
31U E 296006 N 5703782
Quick Description: Holy Trinity church, built in 1868, lies on the south east side of Southend Crescent in Eltham in south east London.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 9/6/2013 8:08:09 AM
Waymark Code: WMJ0QK
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member coisos
Views: 2

Long Description:

The church's website tells us:

The foundation stone of the new church was laid on 12th November 1868 together with two coins, a 6d and 1/2d piece of that year, and a parchment. At this period Eltham was in the Diocese of Rochester, and it was the Bishop of Rochester who nominated the Revd Norman Rowsell to be the first Incumbent. Norman Rowsell himself subscribed £500 to the building fund, and also agreed a further £500 towards the Parsonage House. (He must have been really keen to become Holy Trinity’s first vicar!) The total cost of the original building was £4,708 and it was consecrated on 30th August 1869. The original parts of Holy Trinity Church were designed by the well-known Victorian Gothic-Revival architect George Edmund Street (1924-1881) and built of Kentish ragstone. An organ chamber was added in 1872. The reredos by W D Caroe was added circa 1904 when the Revd F C Bainbridge-Bell was incumbent. It shows the resurrected Christ sharing a meal with the two disciples he had joined on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. On either side of this scene are the four “fishermen” apostles, Peter, Andrew, James and John. In 1908 permission was given for a new enlarged choir vestry to be built by the firm of St Arthur Blomfield & Sons and the following year further extension to Holy Trinity were effected by the same firm. These included two extra bays plus a Baptistry at the west end of the church, together with the NW and SW porches. At the same time a Morning Chapel was constructed on the south side of the Chancel, dedicated to St Agnes. Subsequently it became the Gallipoli Memorial Chapel. The present High Altar is thought to be that installed “temporarily” in 1931, brought from St Peter’s De Beauvoir Square, in East London. These works substantially altered the proportions and character of the original church as designed by Street. Various embellishments between 1912 and 1915 included the installation of oak panelling, screens, rood and rood-beam, organ cases, stalls, etc, all carried out by C E Kempe & Co, probably to the plans of J W Lisle, the firm’s chief designer. During the mid and late 1930s further works were carried out, including the installation of tall oak screens to the North Transept, designed by Stephen Dykes Bower. During the incumbency of the Revd P R Monie, in 1944 a doodlebug fell in the garden of Conduit Lodge nearby, causing considerable damage to the church, which had to be closed for a time, and destroying the main East Window and the East Window in the Gallipoli Chapel. These were subsequently redesigned and replaced by Powell’s of Whitefriars.

The church is a Grade II listed building with the entry at the English Heritage website telling us:

East parts (chancel, transepts and E bays of nave) of 1868-9 by G E Street. 1872 organ chamber. 1908 N vestry. W part of nave and aisles, W baptistry and adjacent porches of 1909 by Sir Arthur Blomfield and Son. Theirs is also said to be the chancel E window and S chapel. An attached parish room was added N of the church in the late C20. Reordered 1989 when the altar was sited in the crossing.

MATERIALS: Rubble, stone masonry with freestone dressings. Clay tiled roofs.

PLAN: Chancel, chancel S aisle, N organ chamber, N vestry, N and S transepts, nave, N and S aisles, N porch, rounded apsidal baptistry with porches to the N and S of it, community room to N of nave.

EXTERIOR: The E end of the church presents the E ends of the chancel and S chapel both of which have five-light windows with rich Decorated tracery. N of the chancel is a plain vestry with a plain parapet. The S side of the chapel has a pair of three-light square-headed windows separated by a two-light, quatrefoil-headed window under a gable breaking through the eaves line. W of the chapel is the S transept with a large four-light Perpendicular window. The S aisle has three sets of three-light cusped windows and, in the W bay, a two-light window and gable of the same design as that in the chapel. The W end, which forms the elevation facing the road, has a five-light W window of great elaboration to the nave, the rounded apse of the baptistry and its pair of flanking porches: the porches and baptistry have single-light cusped windows. On the N there is a porch and the modern block of the parish room but the articulation of the N aisle generally mirrors that of the S. There is no clerestory.

INTERIOR: The body of the church is of five bays plus a further bay for the transepts. The arcade on the N has round piers with moulded capitals and bases and double chamfered arches. The S arcade takes the same form except that the two E bays of the nave have octagonal piers. There is a two-bay arcade from the chancel to the S chapel and a further arch from the S transept to the chapel. The roof to the nave has tie-beams and crown posts, and that to the chancel is of arch-braced construction. The transept roofs are divided into square panels by moulded ribs. Over the aisles there are lean-to roofs. Most of the roofs have received decoration, that in the N transept having blue grounds to the panels and decoration with gold sunbursts; similar decoration appears on the S transept roof with M emblems. The chancel and chapel roofs have patterned decoration. Much of the decoration is the work of Kempe and Co who were employed at the 1909 remodelling of the church and after the First World War. The work included diapering on the side walls of the chancel but this has been painted out.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The church has had an extensive series of embellishments in addition to the decoration mentioned above. There is a good marble pavement in the chancel. The reredos is to the designs of W D Caröe. Kempe and Co were responsible for the traceried stalls in the chancel, the late medieval-style carved wooden screens and the reredos in the S chapel which includes figure of St Alban, St George and St Joan in niches similar to those in the chapel at Pembroke College, Oxford, another Kempe work. The Kempe firm, famous for its stained glass, was responsible for the 1909 windows in the S wall of the chapel and around the baptistry. Excellent modern altar, lectern and seat in the reordered area in the crossing. The font is a conventional octagonal one now resited in the S transept. Modern chairs form the seating in the nave and aisles.

HISTORY: The church was built in two main phases, the first by the great Gothic Revival architect George Edmund Street (1824-81), the second at the start of the C20 by Sir Arthur Blomfield and Sons. The Street phase was consecrated on 30 August 1869 and had been built at a cost of £4,708. The S chapel was created as the St Agnes Chapel but after the First World War, the then rector, the Rev. Henry Hall, who had been chaplain to the 29th British Infantry Division at Gallipoli, converted it into the Gallipoli chapel and brought in Kempe and Co to carry out the decorative work required.

The Victorian Web website tells us about George Edmund Street:

George Edmund Street was the son of a London solicitor, and he was educated to follow in his father's footsteps, but in 1840, less than a year after his father's death, he was articled to a Winchester architect, Owen Browne Carter. From 1844 he was assistant to George Gilbert Scott, and in 1849 he set up his own practice. In 1852 he moved to Oxford, only returning to London in 1856. During his time in Oxford he published his highly influential book on Gothic architecture Brick and Marble in the Middle Ages: Notes of a Tour in Italy (1855); Some Account of Gothic Architecture in Spain was published in 1869.

He had an extensive ecclesiastical practice, and was one of the pioneer users of the vernacular style for the design of country vicarages. His most celebrated secular work, the Law Courts, was started in 1866; he is recorded as having made 3000 drawings for this project, and the building was still unfinished at his death. It is curious to note that such a highly professional and successful practice as Street's office — one moreover that has been compared in stature with that of Sir G G Scott — should have acted as the forcing house for the Arts and Crafts Movement: both Webb and Morris worked with him as did Richard Norman Shaw and both Seddings; the idea for The Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society was formulated in Norman Shaw's office. — Architect-Designers from Pugin to Mackintosh, p. 14.

Mr. Street was one of the first architects of the Revival who showed how effective Gothic architecture might be made where it simply depends for effect on artistic proportion. — Charles L. Eastlake, A History of the Gothic Revival (1872 [discussion continued])

When Street visited the picturesque village of Felday in Surrey in 1872, his wife Mariquita liked it so much that she described it as "Heaven's Gate." The couple decided to move there, and Street began to build a large house, Holmdale, its name inspired by the village's position in the valley below Holmbury Hill. Unfortunately, Felday really was "Heaven's Gate" for Mariquita, who died in 1874, before the house was completed. Street remarried in 1876, only for his new bride, Jessie, to fall ill on their honeymoon and die soon afterwards. As a devout adherent of the Church of England, he designed, oversaw and paid for the building of a new parish church, St. Mary the Virgin, in her memory. He used local stone, with Bath stone as a feature around the windows and so on. Most of the stained glass was also designed by Street. The church was completed in 1879. In the same year, the village was combined with nearby Pitland Street and renamed Holmbury St. Mary, after Holmbury Hill and the new church — an unusual case of a village being named after a church. One of Street's last works, it is certainly a very striking piece of Victorian church architecture, especially when approached unexpectedly from the winding B-road. This is partly because it was built on a steep slope, which makes it look taller than it actually is. The unconventional design (necessitated by the slope) has been criticised, but the church is still widely admired. Street died in 1881, at the age of 57, soon after suffering a stroke while walking home from the local train station at Gomshall. His death is said to have been hastened by the strain of working on the Law Courts in the Strand.

Architect: George Edmund Street

Prize received: RIBA Royal Gold Medal

In what year: 1874

Website about the Architect: [Web Link]

Website about the building: [Web Link]

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