Modernity Comes in design and in Materials
E number of Catholic churches in England and Wales, both public and semi
public, has increased by over half since the last war.
The 1947 Catholic Directory gave 2,756 as the total at that
time, while the Directory for 1960 states that we now have 3,204 churches and chapels
open to the public, with 1,018 private chapels having at least weekly Mass.
Modernity in design and construction materials is charac terising some of the new churches, just as it is being demonstrated in the erection of factories and offices in the centres where these churches are rising.
The traditional styles of old, gothic in particular, still find
favour mainly in monastic
churches, Ealing Abbey being a case in point, and 19th century cathedrals have since the
war been rebuilt or redecorated more or less in their original design. Among these are Southwark, Northampton, and Plymouth.
It is in the new parish church that one sees remarkable changes. Most of them are an improvement liturgically on older buildings, and have the altar In full view from every
where. Well lit buildings, their interiors are often
colourful with delicate designing on walls, pillars, and ceilings. A wall of glass is no longer a thing to be marvelled at, nor is an arrow head
gilded tower, as is seen at Epping in Essex.
Architects of Catholic churches in this country are beginning to express their ideas, which frequently run parallel to those of their imaginative colleagues on the Continent, far more freely than is often thought.
Architects who are engaged on plans for new Catholic churches, chapels and schools in Britain are invited to send perspective drawings or photographs to the CATHOLIC HERALD for possible publication and for the information and inspiration of those who are contemplating the erection of such buildings in their own parishes. (All contributions, whether published or not, would be returned).