Saturday, May 14, 2011

All Saints, Notting Hill, London

From St Stephen's a five minute walk along Talbot Road brought me to All Saints. By the church Talbot Road has been shut and a pleasant paved area created in recent times. The church was to be the centrepiece of an Ecclesiological College, and its spire to be the tallest in the country. Money ran out and the church left incomplete before being completed in a reduced state in 1861 to serve the growing population. The architect was William White and his work is of real quality - see the detailing around the windows externally. The tower is five staged, and there is the base of its intended spire, which was never finished but did rise a little higher than what is left today. The north aisle has a row of closely set windows which were to be above the cloister walk of the intended college. The interior is different today thanks to a removal (whitewashing) of White's polychrome interior in the 1930s. the blitz of 1940, and after repair a second bombing in 1944 which destroyed the roof and all the glass. Milner and Craze rebuilt the church in 1951. A recent restoration has restored some of the decoration. There are fittings by Martin Travers and by Comper among others, some brought from another church St Columb Notting Hill which is now St Sava's Orthodox church. The best feature for me was the north transept and its rose window; the arcades pass both transepts as if they did not exist, the clerestory above opening into them rather than glazed. The south porch is a shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham.

The church was open under the tower but the screen doors were locked giving a tantalising and frustrating view of the interior. A call to the churchwarden saw her kindly come down to unlock the church for which I am very grateful. She lived a 20 minute journey away.

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