St Patrick's Church awarded grade II listing

John Phillips AN art deco church which was threatened by subsidence, has become the fourth place of worship to be listed in Barking and Dagenham. English Heritage was won over by the fan-shaped cloudy sky altar screen at St Patrick s, Blake Avenue, Barking, reminisce

John Phillips

AN art deco church which was threatened by subsidence, has become the fourth place of worship to be listed in Barking and Dagenham.

English Heritage was won over by the fan-shaped "cloudy sky" altar screen at St Patrick's, Blake Avenue, Barking, reminiscent of the cinemas of the 1930s, and its "nautical" feel with a long nave and a "dramatic" round spire.

The 1940 church survived the Blitz and has now been protected with grade II status.


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St Margaret's Church, Broadway, Barking, built in 1215, has grade I status. The late 12th century Dagenham Parish Church in Crown Street is grade 11* and St Mary's, Grafton Road, Dagenham, is grade II.

A �200,000 renovation drive was launched at St Patrick's in August 2007 after it was discovered broken drainage pipes were causing nave slabs to sink into the ground.

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The vicar, Rev Gordon Barley, approached English Heritage, which donated �3,000 and unexpectedly bestowed it with the listing.

Mr Barley said: "Everyone at St Patrick's already thought the church was fantastic, but it is great to get such recognition."

Recognising St Patrick's architect, AE Wiseman, English Heritage said: "This is a striking church with dramatic east tower and tall nave, boldly cinematic and even nautical in its design.

"The interior is lofty and boldly expressed with a distinctive chancel. Finished after the outbreak of war, the church also has historic interest. It fully merits listing at grade II."

St Margaret's historian Peter Midlane, 66, said: "It shows the importance of the heritage of the area and of the building. It has quite a lot of art deco features. It's a lovely building.

"They've done an awful lot of work recently in terms of restoration and repairs because of the problem with subsidence. The congregation have worked really hard."

The last building protected in the borough was Jetty No.4, formerly at Samuel Williams & Co, in Chequers Lane, Dagenham Dock, that received grade II in June 2006.

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