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© Mr G.W. Garthwaite LRPS

IoE Number: 417691
Photographer: Mr G.W. Garthwaite LRPS
Date Photographed: 10 September 2001
Date listed: 18 July 1978
Date of last amendment: 18 July 1978
Grade II*

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TQ 2979 SE and 3079 SW CITY OF WESTMINSTER MARSHAM STREET, SW1 100/22; 101/65 Ninth Church of Christ Scientist 18.7.78 - II* Christian Science Church and Sunday School Chapel. 1926-30 by Sir Herbert Baker. Red brick with Lombardic tile roofs. 'L'-shaped plan containing 3 main elements: to the east an entrance hall with opposing apsidal ends, behind which a circular auditorium of 100' diameter; to the north of the entrance hall, an apsidal-ended Sunday school. Two storeys plus semi-basement. Irregular fenestration. Modified Byzantine style. Main facade with asymmetrically-placed entrance bay of triple-arched entrance on piers, above which a recessed brick panel inscribed 'Ninth Church of Christ Scientist London' in moulded and rubbed brick letters; at 2nd floor level, a tall round-headed window; an octagonal drum rises above with a pyramidal roof. This bay flanked to right by 2 bays (l. of oculi, r. flat-arched windows) and to left with a bay of oculi and then the 7 round-arched windows of the Sunday School aisle with clerestory windows above. Tufton Street facade with 2 round-arched entrances in end bays and shallow brick arcading at first floor with 3 central traceried windows and a traceried window in each end bay; brick and stone balustrade. INTERIOR: The quality of materials and workmanship throughout the interior is particularly striking. Dramatic double-height entrance hall lined with handmade bricks, apsed at either end, with a central saucer dome inscribed around the rim. Triple entrance doors with moulded stone architraves and cast-iron balcony above. Stone dado forming bench seats. Round-arched doorways to left and right with moulded stone architraves, approached by steps; panelled oak double doors with fanlights. Right hand door with cast-iron balcony above. Centrally opposite the entrance an imposing Portland stone stair rises to a balustraded landing where, on both sides, vaulted passages lead to the auditorium. At the foot of the stair a pair of curved staircases lead down to a basement ambulatory with extensive purpose-built cloakroom facilities. The circular auditorium seats 1,000 on oak pews steeply raked toward the dias with two fitted oak reading desks and thrones. Beneath a continuous colonnade of twinned grey marble Tuscan columns flanking traceried windows, the hall is lined with light oak panelling. Saucer domed ceiling with circular traceried light and inscription band designed and gilded by Laurence Turner. Fretwork organ cases and screens to windows behind dias. Located in the spaces behind the auditorium, ancillary rooms, some circular, for board meetings, committees, vestries etc on two floors. The Sunday School is a tall aisled hall, with apsidal north end, lit by round-arched windows and round-arched clerestory windows in the barrel vaulted ceiling. The walls are of handmade brick as is the arcading with Portland stone Tuscan columns. Beneath the Sunday School, a plain semi-basement hall. Throughout the building original light fittings survive, those in the main spaces being bronze pendant up-lighters. This church is a fine, complete and virtually unaltered example of an early C20 Christian Science church where the architect has solved the problem of an awkward site with an inspired and imaginative use of a series of handsome interior spaces with high quality materials and craftsmanship.

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