Thursday, 28 October 2010

Arts and Crafts at Holy Trinity off Sloane Square

I had time to pop into Holy Trinity a few mornings ago having walked past it a couple of weeks ago and then read up about it in '1000 Best Churches'.

The former Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman called Holy Trinity Church the ‘Cathedral of the Arts & Crafts Movement'. It was built 1888-90 to an Arts & Crafts design by the architect John Dando Sedding.

The Holy Trinity web site,

describes the movement thus:

The Arts & Crafts Movement was formed in the late 19th century to combat the inhumanity resulting from Victorian industrialisation. Machines dominated manual skills and imposed harsh working conditions on men, women and children. There was pervading ugliness and little respect for beauty and nature.

The Arts & Crafts Movement stood for the restoration of the prestige of craftsmen, the appreciation of nature, improving the education of the poor, and ‘sweetness and light’ in architecture. The founding members were artists, poets, craftsmen, writers and architects - GE Street, William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, John Ruskin, JD Sedding and others who were passionate in their belief and compassionate to those degraded by machines.

“You cannot educate, you cannot civilise man, unless you give him a share in art.” William Morris

My camara did not do justice to the inside of the church (which has a nave wider than St Paul's cathedral!.

The East window below is the largest stained glass window that William Morris & Co ever made.

The Lady Chapel has an altar on a raised marble floor. The baldachino (a canopy over an altar or throne) is supported by four Ionic columns of red porphyry (an igneous volcanic rock from Egypt). In the front to the right is the Eagle Lectern, designed by John Williams of Hornsey from hand wrought iron, steel and brass.

One of the Electroliers - this was a term for hanging electric light bulbs from the late 19th century. (Unfortunatly these are copies, the originals were destroyed in the Blitz in 1942.)

I found the following extract from The Electrical Engineer, 16 May 1890:

The bowl of the font is made from one piece of Mexican Onyx and is plumbed in to provide running water. The relief panel on the wst wall behind the font is by Henry Wilson who succeeded Sedding as Architect of Holy Trinity upon Sedding's early death.

The Memorial Chapel (or Chapel of Resurrection) was designed by the third architect of Holy Trinity, F C Eden and was dedicated in 1922.

The church was badly damaged by incendiary bombs in World War II but was restored more or less to its previous appearance by the early 1960s. There was then a concerted attempt by the church authorities to close and demolish the building, replacing it with something smaller but this was thwarted by a campaign led by John Betjeman and the Victorian Society.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Why Dobbin's Churches

My main blog is starting to look a little too much church orientated so I have decided to star a seperate blog to record the churches I visit (and re-visit). That is not to say churches will not feature on Dobbinland but perhaps not in the detail I will try to give here.

Visiting churches was something I grew up with. As a child on a day out with my parents they would often stop off to look around churches - not from any deep religious reason but because they liked them. Mum went to church from an early age but freely admitted her main enjoyment was singing. As a farmer’s daughter in Worcestershire before the war, the choir outing was one of the highlights of her year. I think Dad had any religious leanings removed by his experiences in Burma during the war. Whilst I was christened and married in church, I no longer consider myself a Christian believer. However I firmly believe that there is nothing wrong with anyone having religious convictions providing they do not try to force them on others.

So churches : To quote Mark Collins from his excellent Roughwood website ( ‘exploring parish churches gives me a tremendous sense of our heritage and history - each one of these buildings has something different to offer, whether it be the beauty, permanence and solidity of our ancient parish churches, the extraordinary energy and wealth associated with the Victorian buildings or simply the opportunity to spend a few minutes in a quiet and peaceful setting to be still and take a break from the hubbub of modern life.’. I could not put it any better than this.

I am trying to educate myself about church architecture – one of the aims of this blog is to organise my knowledge of how churches have evolved and the way their construction has changed. It is also a way of recording some of the churches I have visited in the hope that others will follow. We are incredibly lucky in this country to have such a rich history on our doorstep; one which we must preserve for future generations to visit and enjoy.

For starters:

St Ethelreda’s Church Horley Oxfordshire.

The central tower and chancel survive from the Late Norman church of 1180. For a small, out of the way village, it is an imposing monument. The nave and North aisle were built and subsequently renovated in the 13th and 15th century respectively.