Tuesday, 17 April 2012

St Mary the Virgin, Littlehampton

Littlehampton's church comes from an odd phase of church architecture, the very end of the gothic revival before modernism arrived.
International modernism started as an architecture mainly of offices and factories with a few set-piece houses, so it was not at first regarded as suitable for churches. 
But architects no longer felt justified in reproducing styles of the past for the buildings of the present, so they compromised by developing a plain, stripped-back gothic style. 
The best-known advocates of the style were Sir Ninian Comper and Sir Edward Maufe, designer of Guildford Cathedral. Littlehampton church was designed in 1934 one of Comper's pupils, W. H. Randoll Blacking. 
Brick on the outside, stone on the inside, everything is plain and simple. What makes it memorable is the way the spaces flow into each other, from the nave into the crossing and on into the chancel. 
To set off the plain architecture, Blacking created a rood and choir screen in brightly painted wood. He also added a gallery with lovely turned balusters which also contribute a rich touch.