St Elisabeth`s Church was built in 1938 to the designs of local architects Stonham & Sons and Fenning.
It was built at the request of Elisa Watson who`s legacy paid for the church`s erection on this site (land gifted by The Duke of Devonshire)
The original derelict church building, which is set for demolition in 2020, once contained chancel paintings by the art historian and conservator, Ernest William Tristram (1882-1952). Now housed in the current church building next door, the Tristram Panels depict the life of John the Baptist and his parents, the priest Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth. In addition, St Elisabeth`s crypt contained a series of large wall paintings by the artist Hans Feibusch (1898-1998). These murals are being removed and restored before the church is demolished.
Hans came to the attention of Charles Herbert Reilly, professor of architecture, and George Bell who provided Feinbusch with the opportunity to create a mural of his own design at St Elisabeth`s in 1944. Feibusch chose the allegory of Pilgrim`s Progress as a vehicle for his own story as a refugee fleeing Nazi Germany and his eventual acceptance in 1940s Britain. Feibusch enlisted the help of local people to complete the mural, which is now a registered War Memorial dedicated to civilian casualties of war.
The "New" Church
Despite moving across from the old church in 2002 our church is still thought of as the "new" church. Since the move across we have grown to become a thriving hub of worshippers and community groups. Navigate around this site to see all the amazing stuff we do!
Demolition and the future of the site...
The Pastoral Scheme for St Elisabeth’s old church has now come into effect. This is the legal document that gives permission for its demolition. This is the demolition of the old church, not the old vicarage as that is seen as a separate site and while the site will be sold as a whole, the pastoral scheme only affects the old church.
A team of specialists are removing the murals from the crypt of the old church. This should be completed by February. Alongside this, the Church Commissioners are identifying a demolition contractor. This means that demolition can take place as soon as the murals have been removed and the Garden of Remembrance has been relocated. That could be as soon as February 2020.
We do not yet know how the building will be demolished, but the hope is that it will be surrounded by wooden hoardings, allowing us to still walk up from Baldwin Avenue and to be able to park in front of the building as present. The demolition should take three to four months.
What will be built on it we do not yet know, although, it will probably be housing. The church has reiterated that we need an area for car parking so that Centre users do not need to park on local roads. We do not know how long redevelopment will take.
It is amazing that we are finally at this point and although it will be an emotional time we are excited that this challenging chapter is finally drawing to a close. As we get more information, we will update the website further.