Friday, 20 May 2016

St. Paul's Harlow

Last year I went on one of my rare visits to Harlow mainly to take a few photographs of the sculptures around the town. I was drawn though to the church behind the Civic Centre, close to the Water Gardens. The church is St. Paul’s, Harlow and was designed by architects Derrick Humphrys and Hurst in the late 1950’s. Harlow was built following the New Towns Act of 1946 from a plan drawn up by renowned architect Sir Frederick Gibberd in 1947. Harlow was growing steadily by this time and places of worship were seen as important projects to bind the community.

The foundation stone was laid in 1957 by Lord Rab Butler with The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in attendance. The church finally opened to its congregation in January 1959. The furniture and fittings were designed by R.W. Hurst and the mosaic mural by John Piper.

In 2013 as part of a competition to find the UK’s Best Modern Churches it was awarded tenth place by the Twentieth Century Society and proudly displays its certificate.

I was lucky enough to be let inside by someone running a lunch club in the church hall and was able to take a lot of pictures of this Grade 11 listed building. It is obviously in need of a bit of TLC but on the whole it looks rather splendid.

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