About the Parish

A brief history of the church

A tall, double galleried former Nonconformist church, designed on a horseshoe plan. Originally built for the United Methodist Free Church, it was used by the West London Ethical Society and the West London Unitarian Fellowship, before being converted to Catholic use in 1954. The fitting out is largely modern. Externally, the Gothic Revival design stands out amidst the brick and stucco terraces of Queensway.

The church was built in 1868 for the United Methodist Free Church, replacing a small Wesleyan Methodist chapel of 1828. The architect is not known. In 1909, the building was sold to the West London Ethical Society who rented it from about 1946 to the West London Unitarian Fellowship. In March 1954, it was bought for £22,000 (plus £1,000 for the organ) by Fr Horace Tennant, Superior of St Mary of the Angels, Bayswater. It was opened for Catholic use by Cardinal Griffin on 12 September 1954. Queensway became an independent parish in 1973. In the early 1990s, the hall was refurbished and renamed Carpenter Hall, after Fr Philip Carpenter, the first parish priest.

In 2000-02, the architect Gerald Murphy oversaw the refurbishment and reordering of the church (cost: £300,000). This included the removal of a 1920s sloping floor and its replacement by a new floor at the original level, the removal of the altar rails, new pews, new sanctuary furniture (including a freestanding altar to replace the old wall-fixed one), a reconciliation room within a former light well, a new organ and a new lighting system. The church was consecrated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor on 21 April 2002.

Description

The church is described in the list entry (below). The following additional remarks adopt conventional liturgical orientation (the altar actually faces south).

  • The interior has a horseshoe plan, with the altar set against the straight end wall.
  • Set between the window tracery on the second floor of the west elevation is a modern mosaic of the Coronation of the Virgin (donated by Mrs Catherine Weston).
  • The timber sanctuary furniture – all with fluted columns – dates from the reordering of 2000-02 by Gerald Murphy, while the timber panelling was retained.
  • The triptych above the altar is a copy of Rubens’s Descent from the Cross in Antwerp Cathedral. It was made in 1879 by Van den Wildenburgh. Set above is a three-part Crucifixion group in the style of icons.
  • The organ pipes in the southeast corner of the top gallery (photo bottom right) no longer work.
  • At the southeast is a bronze Risen Christ (1981, Arthur Fleischmann) set against a mosaic mandorla.
  • At the northeast is a stone relief illustrating St John 4.14, dedicated to the memory of Fr Carpenter, the first parish priest.
  • Other statues in the church include St Anthony, Our Lady, St Teresa and the Sacred Heart.
  • The Stations are conventional, modern unframed reliefs.
  • The Carpenter Hall in the basement has cast iron columns with plain capitals.

 

List description

II

Church (formerly nonconformist). Circa 1860. Stock brick stone dressings. Roof not visible. Gothic revival manner. 4 storeys including basement. Facade to Queensway of 3 main bays, the outer bays slightly advanced, with pointed arched entrances to ground floor. Centre bay with steps up to recessed entrance set in pointed arched loggia, central gable. Windows mostly lancets with pointed arched heads. Central window to upper floor of 4 lights with geometrical tracery. Quatrefoil balustrade to parapet. Interior with two tiers on balconies on cast iron columns with Corinthian capitals.

Listing NGR: TQ2590180767