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St John the Baptist Church

Restoration of the calvary (2022) Restoration of the stained glass (2016)

The church was built between 1872 and 1885 by architect and high-churchman James Brooks (d. 1901). It was built on a cruciform plan with Gothic detailing and, unusually for a Victorian church in London, is it built of rag stone with Bath stone copings and a Bath stone interior, rather than less expensive brick. It was originally intended to have a west tower but the ground was too soft to support it. Instead, it has a cathedral-like west front, with a large wheel window. The interior is vaulted and reminiscent of Cistercian abbey churches in layout, though much grander in detail.

Restoration of Calvary (2022)

The Calvary on the west front of the church is believed to have been completed in 1910. It is often used by visitors passing by the church who will stop and pray in front of it. It is a much loved part of the built environment and landscape and was badly eroded—with the lower part of Christ’s arms missing entirely. The church considered either cleaning and consolidating the stonework, or completely recurving the sculpture from a single block of stone. HOLT encouraged a midway approach that included fully restoring the missing arms and hand and repairing the rest of the statue. This was completed in November 2022.

Restoration of Windows (2016)

The Pelican in her Piety stained glass was created by Clayton & Bell, well known Victorian stained glass designers. The Pelican in her Piety was in particularly bad repair with plastic bags blocking a large hole in the glass, and heavily corroded metalwork. There was water ingress from leaks above the window. The HOLT funded restoration by Chapel Studio included repairing the glass with handpainted imagery, restoring all the leadwork and reinstatement to the church. HOLT created a BBC film around this project for use as a teaching aid for young people for Proud Places.

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