Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4 v 6-7
- a comprehensive guide to our building and to the architect and artists who created and beautified it.
Please click here to read it.
St. Thomas's is first and foremost its people.
This page however gives you a brief history of the current building.
The architects' plan (1933)
"This is Edward Maufe's finest church". This is the comment by Elain Harwood in her listing report to English Heritage.
St. Thomas's is a Grade II* listed building. Edward Maufe won the competition for Guildford Cathedral in 1932. His reputation as a church architect had hitherto rested on restoration work at AIl Saints', Southampton and' St Martin's in the Fields'; and on two churches for the Royal Association for the Deaf at East Acton and Clapham, and -most notable -a well respected 'Clubland' Methodist chapel in Walworth which was bombed in the war.
Work on Guildford Cathedral did not begin until 1936 in the meantime Maufe designed St Thomas's, for which the foundation stone was laid in July 1933. Completed in 1934, the materials used were an experiment with the form of construction proposed for Guildford. They were the load-bearing silver grey Tondu brick from South Wales and particularly the reinforced concrete vault Iined with acoustic plaster. Many of the interior details are also similar to Guildford Cathedral: most notably the tall lancets and narrow aisle passages with the acutely pointed arches, but also the style of some of the fittings and the employment of Eric Gill as one of the sculptors.
The large Calvary that arrests attention from the road is by Eric Gill, its' cross forming the tracery of the East Window. This was carved 'in situ' from a single Weldon stone block. The carving over the north door is the work of Vernon Hill, depicting a dove with the girdle of Our Lady that was sent to St. Thomas. To the left of the door, almost at ground level, the seal of Edward Maufe can be seen.
The wave pattern to the brass kicking plates on the doors represents the sea. Inside the north porch is a carving of St Matthew by John Skelton (nephew of Eric Gill).
The carving over the west door is also by Vernon Hill and represents two birds pecking from the same bunch of grapes symbolic of all Christians sharing the one cup at Communion.
Elain Harwood writes: "Inside the feeling is of a great church exquisitely miniaturised. Indeed, it has frequently been said that Maufe's distinctive and austere style was better suited to the small scale than to " cathedral. Moreover, St Thomas's substantiates Pevsner's admission that Maufe was 'a man with genuine spatial gifts" (Surrey}', 1971, p.21-1) The initial impression is of a nave and chancel of equal height given semblance of religious presence by narrow passage aisles cut into the thick piers of the vault, Alibi style. The east end is more complicated, however, One becomes aware of a cross axis along the front of the chancel, and another in front of the sanctuary itself On the south side there are vestries and a kitchen: on the north side another door, a Morning Chapel, now called the Lady Chapel, and between them a little Children's Corner or chapel set within the thick walls of the tower. There is a small space behind the sanctuary, reached through the arches".
At the West End of the church is the font, which was also carved by Vernon Hill in Weldon stone. It depicts a fish and anchor and the ICQUS cypher which are all signs for Christ. The stained glass behind the font, depicting 'Christ and the children', is by Moira Forsyth. The War Memorial came from the 'tin church', which used to stand where the Parish Hall now stands.
In the Nave, the light fittings are plated with silver and bear the arms of the twelve apostles. The original foot-long candle bulbs are now unobtainable and have been replaced with a modern energy saving equivalent.
St.Thomas's is a charity registered in England and Wales, Charity Registration No: 1130519
© St. Thomas the Apostle, Boston Road, Hanwell 2004 - 2012 - all images are copyright.
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