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Purley United Reformed Church, Formerly Purley Congregational Church

A Grade II Listed Building in Purley, Croydon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.3402 / 51°20'24"N

Longitude: -0.1153 / 0°6'55"W

OS Eastings: 531375

OS Northings: 161807

OS Grid: TQ313618

Mapcode National: GBR G4.CMM

Mapcode Global: VHGRR.YKFZ

Entry Name: Purley United Reformed Church, Formerly Purley Congregational Church

Listing Date: 20 May 2010

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393812

English Heritage Legacy ID: 507755

Location: Croydon, London, CR8

County: Croydon

Electoral Ward/Division: Purley

Built-Up Area: Croydon

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Purley Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: Southwark

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Listing Text

PURLEY

1005/0/10102 BRIGHTON ROAD
20-MAY-10 Purley
906
Purley United Reformed Church, formerl
y Purley Congregational Church

II
United Reformed Church 1904 by Hampden Pratt F.R.I.B.A., with early-C20 alterations by T. Arthur Lewis. Hall, 1912 by T. Arthur Lewis, is now much subsumed by later additions and of lesser interest. Memorial Hall of 1953 by T.O. Thirtle A.R.I.B.A., and various other C20 additions to complex including three classrooms and foyer, are not of special interest.

MATERIALS:
Red-orange brick in English bond with tile roof, stone banding, tracery and details. Leaded glass with Art Nouveau floral motifs.

PLAN:
Nave with chancel to west, north and south side aisles. Semi-octagonal entrance porch to east, tower to north. The hall, Memorial Hall, classrooms and various ancillary rooms are connected to one another, and to the west end of the church, by a series of corridors and covered foyers, thus creating a single complex with a solid footprint.

EXTERIOR:
Built in a Free Gothic style, with a pitched tiled roof and single-storey side aisles, each with five gable-ended bays. The single-storey semi-octagonal porch has gable ends to each face and lobbies to the left and right. The square tower has two stages and an octagonal bellcote with a tent roof. The tower parapet is horizontally striped with stone bands, as is the top of the east end gable and the splayed porch door reveals. A large perpendicular window in the east end (liturgical west end) has a three-centred arch with an ogee hood-mould above; a feature replicated over the porch doorways. The porch and aisle windows are pointed arches; clerestory and other windows are generally square-headed.

The south face of the complex, to the west of the church, has a glazed porch, built in the 1980s in front of the outer wall of the 1912 foyer. A second floor was added to the foyer, also in the 1980s. To the immediate left of the porch is the Memorial Hall, built in 1953, the simple brick elevation of which is punctuated by three long semicircular-headed, steel-framed leaded windows with clay tile relieving arches. To the left of the Memorial Hall, and continuing round onto the west end of the complex, are three classrooms, built in 1912, extended in 1938, and a second storey added in 1995. The church hall is visible from the north; the windows are timber casements with decorative leaded lights. There are three flat-roofed dormer windows in the tiled pitched roof. These also have decorative leaded lights.

INTERIOR:
The church walls are exposed brick above reeded oak dado panelling. The roof has exposed rafters and is supported by hammer-beam trusses. There is pointed arcading between the nave and aisles; the moulded brick arches are supported on hexagonal stone columns. The floor is laid in parquet and the floor of the nave is sloped downwards towards the chancel. The chancel has been extended forward in front of the chancel arch. Against the west wall is a reredos-like feature; three carved oak panels with stone ogee mouldings above are let into a brick and stone banded facing. The central oak panel has been discreetly converted into a door, which provides access to the foyer behind. The upper part of the wall has bands of decorative moulded brick, interrupted by a stained glass memorial window.

FIXTURES AND FITTINGS
Simple early-C20 pews remain in situ. Carved oak choir stalls and panelling in the chancel are richly decorated with blind tracery and other gothic detailing. These were installed in 1933 in memorial to the church's first minister, Mr Arthur Pringle. To the right of the choir stalls is a Willis organ, installed in 1924. The hexagonal pulpit has carved oak sides with blind tracery panels on a stone base. The memorial window in the chancel wall was installed in 1922. It was designed by Christopher Whall and represents Faith, Fortitude, Victory and Hope, and is dedicated to those who fell in the First World War. Doors from the main body of the church into the various porches, vestibules and lobbies are half glazed, with decorative leaded glass and copper Art Nouveau door furniture.

HISTORY:
The foundation stone of Purley United Reformed Church (originally Purley Congregational Church) was laid on 15 October 1903. The success of the church placed pressure on the available accommodation, and the next fifty years saw the building grow significantly to meet the need for greater space.

By 1912 the transepts had been extended and the hall, three classrooms, a deacon's vestry and cloakrooms had been added to the west. The church was then extended further to the east; the original entrance annexe was extended and allocated as seating, with entrance to the church provided by a new porch. In 1922 the transepts were extended once more to form side aisles. In 1929 the roof over the former eastern annexe was raised to the same height as the rest of the church and the semi-octagonal lobby was built to the east end. Also at this time, a corridor was extended down the south side of the hall, and a new kitchen and improved cloakroom facilities were added. In 1953, a memorial hall was built to the south of the hall; this was dedicated to those who lost their lives in the Second World War. There are further late C20, early C21, additions to the ancillary accommodation to the west of the church.

Repeated extension and alteration to Purley United Reformed Church has been done with a great deal of sympathy and respect for the original character of the building. There are few clues in the fabric to suggest the church was not all built in a single phase; there is consistent, high quality, brickwork, and carefully detailed stonework. Whilst the east front of the church (which faces on to Brighton Road) is the result of T. Arthur Lewis' 1914 and 1929 remodellings, earlier pictures of the church show that much of Hampden Pratt's original detailing was either re-used or replicated in the new work. The fabric of the building is testament to the evolving congregational needs, and reflects more widely on the history of the C20; the memorial window is a particularly poignant reminder of the impact of world events on this community.

The ancillary accommodation, including the hall and Memorial Hall, which abuts the main church building to the west, does retain some attractive period detailing; however it has been substantially added to and it is not considered to be of special interest.

SOURCES:
"Purley Congregational Church 1895 -1954" (1954), produced for the church's jubilee celebrations

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
Purley United Reformed Church of 1904, by Hampden William Pratt, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: The building is a strong and lively example of Free Gothic architecture which is not diminished by later phases of extension and alteration.
* Interior: The quality of the interior and associated fixtures and fittings provide a strong decorative scheme which contributes to the architectural quality of the building.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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