* denotes buildings still used for religious purposes
A brick church was built in Beverley Road in 1901 by the parish of St Nicholas to serve the growing population in the north of that parish. The last services were held in 1922 and the Beverley Road School was built on the site in 1926.
*CHISWICK BAPTIST CHURCH
The present church in Annandale Road was opened in 1897. It replaced a corrugated iron chapel on the same site which was put up in 1882. The Chiswick Baptists had been worshipping in the old Congregational Chapel in Chiswick Lane since 1866.
The churchyard of St Nicholas was Chiswick’s only burial ground for many centuries. It was extended in 1838 by a gift of land from the Duke of Devonshire but closed in 1854 when for some years Chiswick residents were interred in the large cemetery near Woking run by the London Necropolis Company. However, it re-opened as a graveyard after the Duke of Devonshire gave the parish another acre adjoining the churchyard in 1871. In 1887-8 the Chiswick Local Board, which had taken over the responsibility for burials, acquired more land from the Duke to form Chiswick Old Cemetery off Corney Road. Chiswick New Cemetery on the junction of Stavelely Gardens and the A316, with its chapel and conveniences, was consecrated in July 1933.
*CHISWICK CHRISTIAN CENTRE
This building in Devonshire Road was originally the premises of the Chiswick Mission, built in 1890. The Mission was set up by Robert Thomson Smith, a clerk at Thornycrofts, who was horrified by the heavy drinking of some Thornycroft employees. He set up a coffee stall at the gates of the works in an attempt to keep employees out of the pubs and carried out non-sectarian mission work. Apart from its religious function the Mission looked after the needs of the very poor, providing breakfasts for impoverished children, dinner for needy men, and necessities such as coal and coke (it was particularly busy once Thornycrofts moved out of Chiswick causing much unemployment).
The mission building has been through several name changes but continues to hold Sunday services, arrange social functions for the elderly and acts as a venue for youth clubs and other organisations.
The only Anglican church in Chiswick was St Nicholas until Christ Church was built. Proposals to build a new church on Turnham Green were put forward in 1841 when the population of Chiswick had reached nearly 6,000, of whom at least 3,000 lived in Turnham Green which was nearly a mile away from St Nicholas. Money was raised by public subscription and the foundation stone laid in September 1841. Christ Church was designed in the Early English style by George Gilbert Scott (later to design the Midland Hotel above St Pancras station) and W B Moffatt. It was consecrated on 27 July 1843.
Congregationalists were leasing a building in Chiswick Lane as a chapel in 1831, replaced with a new chapel in 1841, known as the Chiswick dissenting chapel. The British School at Strand-on-the-Green doubled as a congregational chapel from 1833 to about 1903.
A community of Congregationalists was established in Turnham Green by the Reverend Thomas Slade-Jones, a schoolmaster from Isleworth. He claims his attention was drawn to the ‘spiritually destitute condition of Turnham Green’ in 1873. He held Sunday services in a ‘Lecture Room’ at Turnham Green while funds were being raised to purchase a freehold site in Chiswick High Road. Here a corrugated iron church was built which was opened in 1875. The following year Vincent van Gogh became a ‘co-worker’ at this church and made a sketch of it which he included in a letter to his brother Theo.
More funds were raised and in 1881 a stone-built church was erected on the site with seats for 500. The tin church functioned as a Sunday school until it was demolished in 1909. Later renamed the Chiswick United Reformed Church it was closed in 1974. The building was demolished in the early 1980s and replaced by an office block.
*GUNNERSBURY BAPTIST CHURCH
The church in Wellesley Road opened in 1877. It replaced a corrugated iron chapel which had been put up in 1873.
*LONDON BUDDHIST VIHARA
The premises of the former Bedford Park Club in the Avenue became the London Buddhist Vihara in the 1990s. The Vihara was formed in England in 1926 and was the first Buddhist monastery outside Asia. It was in Heathfield Gardens before its move to Bedford Park
Methodists were meeting in Chiswick High Road by 1845 and in 1880 had a chapel in Sutton Court Road. In 1909 this was replaced with a large brick church. The present Chiswick Methodist Church opened on its site in 1988. Primitive Methodists had a chapel in Chiswick Lane in 1882, moving to Fisher’s Lane two years later. This survived until World War II.
Boston House in Chiswick Square was acquired in 1899 by Cardinal Manning and other trustees as St Veronica’s Retreat, a home for inebriate women. By about 1912 this was run by the Sisters of Nazareth, who renamed the building Nazareth House. The Sisters moved out in 1921.
*OUR LADY OF GRACE AND ST EDWARD
By the 1840s Catholics were worshipping in a small chapel in Windmill Place, Turnham Green. In 1864 a ‘pretty little, red-tiled church’ dedicated to St Mary was built on the corner of Duke’s Avenue and Chiswick High Road. This soon became too small for the growing population of Catholics in Chiswick and was demolished in 1885. It was replaced by the present Italianate-style church dedicated to Our Lady of Grace and St Edward (the dedication to St Edward was added in 1903 when the church was consecrated).
The building was designed by a partnership called Kelly and Birchall and opened in 1886. The tower, although included in the original plan, was not erected until 1930. It was put up as a memorial to the dead of World War I and designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, grandson of the architect of Christ Church. The church was damaged by a bomb in World War II, but reopened once it had been made safe.
*RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL
The most attractive addition to the Chiswick skyline in recent years is the blue and gold dome visible to drivers on the M4. It belongs to the Russian Orthodox Cathedral at 57 Harvard Road. The building was opened in 1998 and is the only ‘purpose-built’ Russian Orthodox church in the UK.
The church on Acton Green which is actually in the parish of Acton was built 1887/8 and the chapel and apse added in 1900. It ceased to be a parish church in December 1999 and is now run by a Church of England organisation called the Oak Tree Trust.
This stone-built church stood on the north side of Chiswick High Road, near Power Road. It was consecrated in 1887 but closed in 1986. The church was demolished in 1989 and an office block built on its site.
*ST JOSEPH’S CATHOLIC CHURCH
In 1944 the Catholics purchased Bolton Cottage, a bungalow in Bolton Road, Grove Park, mainly as a centre for mass for wartime Polish refugees. St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church was built next door in 1959 and St Joseph’s became a separate parish in 1964.
*ST MARIE REPARATICE CONVENT
Tower House, No 4 Chiswick Lane was a convent for most of the 20th century. The house was built in 1875 and acquired in 1901 by a French Roman Catholic Sisterhood, the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, as the convent of Marie Réparatrice. This was a closed order whose members wore pale blue robes and were known as the Blue Nuns.
They moved to Wimbledon in 1951 and their place was taken by The Comboni Missionary Sisters. This Order was founded in Italy in 1872 by Daniel Comboni to help the poorest and most abandoned people in Central Africa and came to Britain in 1946. Originally known as the Verona Sisters the name was changed after the Beatification of Daniel Comboni (he has since been canonised). In 1996, with the number of sisters dwindling, the Order gained planning permission to redevelop 4 Chiswick Lane and its gardens as the Verona Court housing development. The sisters moved next door to No 2 Chiswick Lane (which they also owned).
*ST MARY’S CONVENT AND NURSING HOME
The Anglican convent in Burlington Lane was originally run by the Order of St Mary and St John which was founded in Kensington in 1868 but is now the Order of St Margaret. In 1896 the Order purchased land from the Duke of Devonshire in Chiswick on which to build its convent. The building was designed in the Arts and Crafts style by Charles Ford Whitcombe. St Mary’s Convent also included St Joseph’s Hospital for Incurables which was planned according to the latest medical ideas of Florence Nightingale and others. The convent ran a private nursing home, closed after the introduction of the National Health Service and replaced with a residential home for the elderly. `St Joseph’s’ was dropped from the name in 1986 when St Mary’s built a wing for a new nursing home.
ST MARY MAGDALENE
This church in Bennett Street served the community of Chiswick New Town. It was designed, and built at his own expense by J C Sharpe in 1848, but rebuilt in 1894. Damaged by a bomb in World War II it was demolished when Chiswick New Town was cleared in the 1950s.
ST MARY, STAMFORD BROOK
Stamford Brook had its own church from 1877. This was originally a corrugated iron building but money was raised to build the brick church of St Mary in 1886.This closed in 1984 and was converted into flats.
*ST MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS
The original church of St Michael and All Angels was a building of corrugated iron on the north side of Chiswick High Road, facing down Chiswick Lane. It was built in 1876 to ease congestion at St Nicholas, but it was later decided to create a separate parish for the new Bedford Park estate. A permanent church building was needed to serve this new parish, and Jonathan Carr secured agreement from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to build it in Bath Road. The church was designed by R Norman Shaw although the north aisle (held over for want of funds) wasn’t completed until 1887 by Maurice B Adams. Adams was also the architect responsible for the church hall in the same year, the font and pulpit and, in 1909 for the Gothic chapel of All Souls.
Like most of Bedford Park, the architecture of the church is mainly in the Queen Anne revival style and St Michael and All Angels was one of the few attempts to adapt this style to an ecclesiastical building. The architect G E Street described the new church as `very novel and not very ecclesiastical’. From the outset St Michael and All Angels has been a church in the Anglo-Catholic tradition and in its early years, when there were deep divisions within the Church of England, encountered much hostility for its ‘Popish and Pagan mummeries’. The Church Hall was completely refurbished between 1999 and 2001.
*ST MICHAEL, SUTTON COURT
The red-brick church of St Michael in Elmwood Road was designed by Caroë and Passmore and consecrated in 1909. It replaced a temporary corrugated iron church which was used as the church hall until a new church hall was built and dedicated in 1997.
The oldest structure in Chiswick is the tower of St Nicholas Church which was built in the 15th century. The church to be seen today, though, dates from the later 19th century.
A church is known to have been on the site since at least 1181 and had been dedicated to St Nicholas by 1548. It was enlarged, repaired and altered many times over the centuries and the tower of Kentish ragstone was begun when William Bordall was the vicar between 1416 and 1435. In the 18th century the church was noted for its splendid hammer-beam roof, described as one of the finest examples in England.
Between 1882 and 1884 St Nicholas was completely rebuilt to a design in the Perpendicular style by ecclesiastical architect John L Pearson. The many burial vaults beneath the church were sealed with concrete at this time but some of the old monuments were re-erected in the new building, notably the monument to Sir Thomas Chaloner.
The Gothic-style stone church of St Paul in Grove Park Road was designed by H Currey. It was erected by the Duke of Devonshire in 1872 to serve the population of the new Grove Park estate.
*SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
This church has been on Stamford Brook Road just west of Prebend Gardens since 1916. Originally a wooden building which was destroyed by fire in 1971, the present brick building opened in 1974.