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St Paul's, Newington

Interesting geometric design, based on interlocking triangles. Early example of a concrete and coloured glass structure. The roof is a lightweight hyperbolic paraboloid construction, curved on two different planes, consisting of a folded timber shell resting on wall columns and covered with copper sheathing. The triangular theme is reinforced by the striking fleche over the entrance, zig zag gabled eaves and mosaic windows at the main door. The main floor level of the church and hall is raised 9ft above the square with parish rooms used by community groups.

Architect

Woodroffe Buchanan & Coulter

Date

1955-60.

Lorrimore Square SE17

Sat 1pm-5pm.

Kennington

Elephant and Castle

3, 159, 40, 35, 45, 176, 12

  • Free parking
  • Partial disabled
  • Regularly open to the public at no charge
  • Toilets available

ST PAUL’S NEWINGTON Post-war churches, whether wholly new or partial replacements for their bomb damaged predecessors, rarely rise above the mediocre. Money was always scarce and traditional building skills, common before the war, could no longer be taken for granted. Nor was it clear which style should be chosen or what kind of compromise should be struck between tradition and contemporary building technology. St. Paul_s, Lorrimore Square, distinguishes itself as one of the very few new Anglican churches built in London after the war which tries to break out from the past and adopt what then passed for full-blooded modernism. It replaces an early Gothic revival church of 1856, destroyed by fire in 1941, which had once been a controversial centre for High Church ritualism before its congregation migrated en masse to St. Agnes, Kennington. Only the tower and spire now survive from this original church: everything else is the work of H.G. Coulter of Woodroffe, Buchanan and Coulter and dates from 1955-60 (although consecration took place in 1956). The new church retains the traditional plan with a long nave, transepts and an east end Lady Chapel but expresses them within a framework of reinforced concrete, walls of concrete blocks with small offsetting windows, and a roof of strange wedge shaped panels. Pevsner refers to _a restless, somewhat self-consciously modern exterior, with spiky gables and dormers in a copper roof and a zig-zag honeycomb patterned side-windows . . . the interior is pleasantly calm, with subdued lighting and a ceiling of interesting shapes_. The carving of the risen Christ is by Freda Skinner, and the coloured glass by Goddard and Gibbs. Outside, a small rooftop fleche, covered in copper, helps maintain the church_s focal position within the late 1950s Brandon Estate, one of the LCC_s pioneering post-war redevelopment schemes for the rebuilding of South London.