Sunday, 1 February 2015

A Year in Pictures – 31 January 2015 – All Hallows Twickenham

My walk home from the house of friends today took me down Fulwood Gardens, a street of Art Deco maisonettes.

This part of the town between the centre and the A316 (which becomes the M3 motorway at its western end) saw quite extensive housebuilding during the 1930s, but only a couple or so of the maisonettes retain the fine horizontal lines and small glass panes of their original steel Crittall windows, let alone any stained glass Deco details. In the interests of keeping warm and for ease of maintenance owners have over the years replaced 30s elegance with the clunky styles of UPVC double-glazed window units, as you see here. I am not pointing a finger, as my own house—a short distance from the ones in the photo and, having been built around 1930 with styling looking back to the Mock Tudor rather than forward to the racy stylings of Deco—lost its own wooden windows and stained glass nearly twenty years ago.

Crittall windows. The company still trades.
The church of All Hallows Twickenham stands next to the A316 and is a Grade I Listed Building by virtue of the fact that its tower and stone cloister, along with many of its internal fittings—organ, pulpit, reredos, bells—are those of the City of London church of All Hallows Lombard Street, which was in a bad state of repair at the end of the 1930s and was judged unworthy to stand in the way of the expansion of Barclays Bank. The Lombard Street church was from the workshop of Christopher Wren, but originally of mediaeval foundation, and its parish was, after the demolition, united with that of St Edmund King and Martyr, whose spire we have seen previously in this blog doing battle with the looming bulk of the brand new 20 Fenchurch Street, aka "the Walkie-Talkie".

Some of the peal of 10 bells at All Hallows were originally from the wonderfully named St Dionis Backchurch—also in the City—which was demolished in the 1870s, and whose proceeds of sale of its land were used to construct St Dionis Parsons Green. The reredos bears a resemblance to the authenticated work of Grinling Gibbons still to be seen in St Mary Abchurch and which I have promised to show you at some stage during the coming year), while the font passed to All Hallows Lombard Street from St Benet Gracechurch, which was demolished in 1868 to make way for the widening of Gracechurch Street.

The pulpit of St Benet was acquired, with a gift from Trinity House, by St Olave Hart Street, where I work. You will also be seeing something of its fine 17th-century carving in the weeks ahead.

Many are the tales that can be told of the scattering and cannibalisation of church assets. One day the surviving elements of these ancient buildings will themselves be lost forever.

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