Christ Church, Christchurch Road, Streatham, London SW2. This Grade I listed parish church was designed by James William Wild (1814-1892) and built by Thompson of Camberwell Green in 1840-42. Strikingly different from other parish churches of this time, it was constructed on a basilical rather than cruciform plan, with a tall campanile at the south-east end, attached to the church but otherwise reminiscent of the one in St Mark's Square in Venice. Built in brick, it has eye-catching polychromatic patterns around the west entrances and running below the slate roofs of the nave and aisles. The Christian Remembrancer was much taken with this patterning: "the effect is rich without the least gaudiness" ("Christ Church, Streatham, 136). Also impressive are the tall gate piers, or pylons at the west entrance, which are separately listed by Historic England, and the Star-of-David (rather than te conventional rose) window under the central gable.
On the left, another view shows the south side more clearly, with its "four widely spaced lower windows and thirteen closely spaced clerestory windows.... All simple, but clear and concise" (Cherry and Pevsner 389). In the middle, the red and yellow bricks make a kind of awning under the arch of the central west entrance, integral to its deep recess. This leads the congregation in, under the well-known text, "I was glad when they said unto me let us go into the house of the Lord" (Psalm 122). On the right is a view, from outside, of the small eastern apse.
"Galleried interior with a small arcade below and a giant arcade above, both are Moorish" (listing text). The church's unusual appearance, especially its more exotic features, drew a lot of attention at the time, with commentators trying to give them a label (besides Byzantine and Moorish, "Turko-Greek, Egypto-Gothic" are also mentioned, ("Christ Church, Streatham," 137). But, helped by the tall, slender columns and lack of division between nave and chancel, the feeling of airiness and space inside is self-evident. The church could seat 1176 people (this precise figure is given in Jackson 235).
The mosaics behind the altar in the lower apse are described simply as Italian in the listing text, while the wall-paintings in the upper apse and on the flat capitals of the columns, seen to most effect in the photograph on the right) were by Owen Jones, in 1852 (see Cherry and Pevsner 389).
Looking back down the church towards the west. The organ loft and pipes, and the two side galleries, are shown here. The organ is William Hill one, late Victorian (1886), originally built for West Croydon Congregational Church. It was bought in 1980 after a period of disuse, and is much admired now (see "Church History").
- Christ Church, Streatham: II (decoration and fittings)
- Nave Window designed by Walter Crane, The Widow of Nain (installed 1891)
- Nave Window designed by Walter Crane, The Charge to Peter (installed 1891)
- Clerestory windows designed by J. F. Bentley (installed 1864-82)
Cherry, Bridget, and Nikolaus Pevsner. Buildings of England. London 2: South. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002.
"Christ Church." Historic England. Web. 22 August 2020.
"Christ Church, Streatham." The Christian Remembrancer; or, The Churchman's Biblical, Ecclesiastical & Literary Miscellany. Vol. 3 (1842): 136-37. Google Books. Free Ebook.
Church History. Welcome to Christ Church Streatham. Web. 22 August 2020.
Eberhard, Robert, Stained Glass Windows at Christ Church, Streatham, Inner London. Church Stained Glass Windows. Web. 22 August 2020.
Jackson, Neil. "Christ Church, Streatham, and the Rise of Constructional Polychromy." Architectural History 43 (2000): 219-52. Accessed via Jstor. Web. 22 August 2020.
Created 22 August 2020