Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ealing IPC Chapel

On 14 July 1912, Adeline, Duchess of Bedford laid the foundation stone of The Chapel of the Holy Cross, to serve the nuns and girls housed in St Helena's Home, West Ealing. The architect, Sir Nina Cooper built in the style of the first ever buildings erected for churches, Roman basilica.
Buying the premises in 1979, the International Presbyterian Church within the tradition of reformation iconoclasm, removed crucifix and alter. Note it was an altar not a table. I am told it was incorporated into the patio of a church member. When the convent building was to be demolished for social housing, the local civic society called in English Heritage. They said the main building was of no merit but placed a Grade II listing on the chapel.

                                              Chapel, convent and linking corridor.


The pictures date from after 1967 when the chapel was rearranged by architect Roy Pennison. The cedar was cut down illegally by developers who bought the convent building,  selling it to Notting Hill Housing Trust for demolition. It was well over 100 years old.

I have a copy f the 1919 report of St Helena's Home. 30 June 1896 the foundation stone had been laid. October 6 1897, home, laundry and a chapel were opened. Ours is the later chapel. The home accommodated up to forty girls to save them from prison, mainly for theft. Ages were 14 to 25. They stayed two years learning housework, needlework, laundry and cooking. 27 girls entered in 1919. 33 in the house suffered from the world wide flu epidemic but no deaths recorded. Five girls left for service, one to nurse, one telephonist and ten returned to their friends. The home rightly claimed a better record of rehabilitation than that of prison.

The chapel was typically anglophone-catholic with architecture for sacrament not preaching. Preaching is best with a flat ceiling, solid wall behind the preacher and no echo. The IPC installed wall hangings to stop the echo.

I have a photo of a mosaic which looks like an icon of a female. Does anyone know if this was taken by the nuns who returned to Wantage? Some years ago half of the left for a Roman order.

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