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St Anselm



The church of St Anselm was originally built in Whatley Road to ease over-crowding at St John the Evangelist Church which stands a couple of streets or some 300 yards away, in an area packed with other churches. The architect was W.V.Gough and work progressed from 1896-97 but left the church in an incomplete state. The architect's impression is shown in the picture above but few other pictures survive of the exterior to say whether all that is shown in this sketch was actually built or indeed the church was built to this plan at all. The picture on the right suggests that the latter is the case and shows the ruins of the church after it was burnt out in air raids of 24th November 1940 and before it was demolished in1954. It shows a porch built some way along the south aisle wall plus the gable of the nave's west wall without a visible tower alongside. This suggests that the narthex and porch arrangement at the west end was never built to this design shown.
The exterior was built of the same pinkish stone as many of the other local buildings and when opened in August 1897 the church lacked its north aisle and a red brick temporary wall was built immediately alongside the north arcade. The other major sign of its unfinished state were the uncarved blocks of stone in situ throughout the interior, awaiting the stonemason to sculpt into foliage or other ornamentation. The west wall of the nave had a window almost the twin of that at the east end and like this chancel window was placed towards the top of the wall but over two pointed doorways to a west narthex which was added in 1930 to the designs of A.R.Gough. Interestingly there was also a crypt under the chancel.

The ruins were cleared and today Whiteladies Health Centre stands on the site. Inside a plaque commemorates the former church.

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page created 30th October 2005