07 : Shearman’s churches
Ernest Shearman designed six London Churches between 1910 and 1936, namely (1) St Matthew Wimbledon (1910) (destroyed in WW2), (2) St Silas, Kentish Town (1913), (3) St Barnabas Ealing (1916), (4) St Gabriel, Noel Road Acton (1931), (5) St Barnabas Cranbourne Terrace, Temple Fortune (1934) (closed in 1994 and now used by the Coptic Church), and (6) St Francis of Assisi, Great West Road, Osterley (1935). They were all built in the same distinctive style, imbued with simplicity and dignity, and – as stated by John Salmon in his definitive monograph on Shearman – ‘can perhaps be seen as almost the final flowering of the last phase of the Gothic Revival’. All are tall, imposing brick buildings without spires or towers, and their austere, simple architecture was designed so that elaborate furnishings and other adornments could be added subsequently, such as the Apse painting by James Clark at St Barnabas. All except one show Shearman’s fascination with rose windows, with flowing tracery in elaborate patterns. St Barnabas has three notable examples – at the West End, in the Lady Chapel and in the Upper Room (added to the church in 1935). They are all designed to a Basilican model, with a wide nave affording the whole congregation an uninterrupted view of the Sanctuary, the Altar being in the centre of the Apse. Another feature of Shearman churches is the placement of organ and choir at the west end of the church, since – according to Shearman – ‘the adoption of an eastern position (for a choir) has brought destruction to many a beautiful chancel’. The interested reader is strongly recommended to read Dr John Salmon’s detailed monograph, ‘Ernest Charles Shearman, 1859-1939: An Anglo-Catholic Architect: An Illustrated Introduction to His Life and Work‘. Here are photos of the 6 churches, all taken by John Salmon.
Here are the three later churches
Here are views of the east end of the 3 early churches
… and here are views of the east end of the 3 later churches