BOURNEMOUTH, Dorset – St Alban.
Here are some quotations from the guide booklet current during the 1980s:
…The church… of its kind is a masterpiece of design and workmanship…
…The screen is an exquisite design, which is picked out in jet black and gold leaf. Its height is proportioned to the elevation of the altar. The marble squares in the wall of the screen, and in the floor of the choir, where they reflect the brass work in the altar rail, [and] draw the eye to the holy table…
…The arches of the arcading by the sides of the nave show the combined skill of the stone mason and the brick layer, keeping an unbroken line, with the bricks skilfully shaped to form the key of each arch. Although some would prefer to have all stone or all brick, none can fail to admire such workmanship…
…An architect (of the house of God) has therefore to attempt to suggest two essential attributes of Christ, his greatness and his accessibility. If his greatness is not balanced by his accessibility then the effect is to trivialise the individual by remoteness. If the greatness is obscured then the danger is to give an impression of cosy familiarity…
Some of the coloured stonework can be seen to good effect in the north aisle, (see photo below) where there is an interesting and unusual interplay of arches. The original design incorporated a tower and spire, but this was never built. Most of the rest of the plan was completed, though, including good use of a sloping site to enable a crypt to be built below the chancel and sanctuary.
The Lady Chapel is apsidal in form, like so many by the architect, and it has the intimacy of style and attention to detail of the best. The curves of the apse and the dome shaped roof are reflected in the gracefully curved steps of the sanctuary, and colour is given not only in the brick and stone work, but also in the stencilling on the roof and the turquoise mosaic tiles on the sanctuary floor.
The baptistry is also apsidal and contains an extremely unusual font (not designed by Fellowes Prynne). It has nine stained glass windows, dating from 1911, and all crafted by Messrs. Percy Bacon Brothers. This company and Fellowes Prynne had a very close working relationship, and if Fellowes Prynne did not design these windows himself, there is no doubt he supervised the designing and installation by Bacon Brothers, as he did in several other churches. This information is from Robert Eberhard’s comprehensive website on Church windows, which also gives details of Faculties and sources. The home page is Church Stained Glass Windows (stainedglassrecordings.org)
Externally this baptistry becomes a feature of the twin-doored porch.
As with other churches, Fellowes Prynne gave a processional cross as an offering of thanksgiving.
Heating was installed by the regular contractor, Kinnell & Co., who clearly regarded their work here as exemplary, as they used an image of the interior of the church in their advertisement on page 29 of Examples of Modern Architects (reproduced in full on this site).
The first image of the exterior illustrated is from the Academy Architecture and Architectural Review of 1908, vol I. The second shows the exterior as built.