Letter from the Architect

A LETTER RECEIVED FROM THE ARCHITECT

17a Cornwall Gardens,
S. Kensington. S.W.7.
1st Nov. 1963

Dear Mr  Johnson,

Many thanks for the copy of the London Churchman. It was most kind of you to think of sending it and I am very glad to have it.

I should like, however, to correct the impression made by Alban Caroe's statement that I was "primarily responsible for the initial design" of your Church. The commission came to us through an old friend of mine, John Sayer, a member of the P C.C. whom perhaps some of your older Church members may remember. This was in 1916 when I was serving at the War Office. My partner, the late W.D. Caroe, was carrying on such work as there was at that time by himself and he made the first design. This was, however, found to be much too expensive and, after my release from the War Office, I modified it and I supervised the construction throughout except for the last stage, consecrated seven years ago, which my late partners carried out.

The first stage was the reinforced concrete raft upon which the building stands on completion of which the foundation stone was laid, which remained isolated and cased in with wood for many years, pending sufficient funds being available for the completion of the Chancel.

Before the consecration of the part of the building which included the Chancel, I had a passage of arms with the Archdeacon after he had made his inspection. He then telephoned to me and said, "Do you know that a stone Altar is illegal?" To which I replied that I had put in some others. "Not in the London Diocese," he said, 'You have got me into this hole and I look to you to get me out of it." "All I can suggest," I said, "is that we should case it in with boarding for the consecration." And this was done. Before the consecration service Bishop Winnington Ingram said to me in the Vestry, "All this fuss over a stone Altar, isn't it rot?" After the consecration we put on the oak top which seemed to satisfy the Archdeacon. Giles Scott did the same in his Church at Golders Green.

It is most encouraging to see a Church in which I had a hand the centre of such a live Parish. I am interested to see what you say about Sir Albert Richardson. I hope you find the Vicarage comfortable. I was opposed to putting it on such a restricted site and so close up against the Church, but perhaps as things have turned out the Committee was right in insisting upon it.

With all good wishes for the future,

Yours sincerely,

HERBERT PASSMORE.

 

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