WHITSTABLE, Kent – St Peter.
The Whitstable Times of 15 March 1902 ran an article on the laying of the foundation stone for St Peter’s church. George Fellowes Prynne assisted Lady Harris. C.S.I., with the task. The vicar said, during the celebratory tea that followed, that
The church when finished would be one of the most beautiful in the country round about thanks to the architect Mr. Fellowes Prynne, who not only understood the use of the best marble, wood, and metals, and the way to use them to the best advantage, but also put his religion into his work and would make the house worthy of the Lord to be worshipped in.
On 13 September the same year the Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers’ Gazette reported on some of the gifts to the new church, which included a handsome processional cross from the architect. Thus far only the chancel had been completed, and there was still a debt of some £400 on it. The vicar said
Beauty, grandeur and stateliness are marked features of the building, and the architect, Mr. George Fellowes Prynne, and the builders, Messrs. Goddard and Sons, are entitled to our warm congratulations on the result of their work.
On 24 June 1905 the Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers’ Gazette reported on the laying of the foundation stone for the Whitstable Parish Hall, which followed a service of Evensong at which the vicar emphasised the importance of having such a hall for the church.
Immediately after the completion of the service the clergy and choir went in procession to the site of the hall in Cromwell Road where the ceremony was performed by Mrs. Walsh. The architect, Mr. Fellowes Prynne, was present.
Gas light fittings for St Peter’s had been designed by Fellowes Prynne, according to a report in the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald of 10 April 1909. A meeting of the Finance Committee discussed introducing these, along with a heating system, and they hoped to carry this scheme out before too long.
The next news on the building appeared in the Building News and Engineering Journal on 3 November 1915.
St. Peter’s Church, Whitstable, of which the chancel was built in 1903 from plans by Mr. G. H. Fellowes Prynne, F.R.I.B.A., is about to be completed by the addition of a nave, on a less expensive scale than was originally proposed, from the same architect’s designs. The nave will provide 437 seats, making in all 513, and is expected to cost £4,000.
On 8 September,1923, the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald published an extract from the church magazine, concerning the costs of completing the church.
The Building Committee have received from the architect, Mr. Fellowes Prynne, the tenders for the completion of the church. They advise that the tender of Mr. G. Browning, of Canterbury, be provisionally accepted. The cost is higher than had been anticipated £4682 10s for the completion of the nave and aisles. The two transepts, costing £1042 must be put on one side for the time.
The Committee decided to fund the building, in addition to money promised, by asking all who cared about the completion of the building to loan the money.
Twenty-three years after the foundation stone was laid, the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald reported, in its edition of 4 April 1925, on the first service in the new church.
The newly built church of St. Peter, Whitstable, was used for service for the first time on Wednesday evening, but it will not be dedicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury until June.
The completed Church of St. Peter is a building of much character and dignity. Outwardly it presents a bold appearance, and a sense of strength is given by the lines of its construction, by the courses of stone in the brickwork, and also by the long narrow lancet windows with their setting in stone. The high pitched red tiled roof is a great feature in the building, and a singularly attractive and beautiful piece of work. The two doorways on the North and South side will one day have the addition of north and south porches, which will add considerably to the interest of the church.
The interior of the building consists of a long nave with two aisles, or aisle passages. The nave is divided from the aisles by five 16ft. red brick circular arches on either side, with bands of stone at intervals. The combination of the arches and aisles, with the added effect of the lancet windows, is very striking. The whole building gives the impression of space. In addition to the nave and aisles two transepts have been added. These transepts add greatly to the western part of the church, and also to the two chapels on either side of the chancel. The whole church is arresting both by its entire unity and also by the striking way in which it breaks into and is relieved by its component parts.
The nave has a block floor with a wide cement passage down the middle. The aisles are also of paved cement, giving a very clean and strong impression.
The piers sustaining the arches are cased in a framework of wood. The interior of the roof is wood, with a barrel shaped ceiling, ending in a strong dental wall plate.
An interesting feature is added to the church by the western end of the nave floor being slightly higher than the eastern. This enables those at the end of the church to see over the heads of those in front, and also produces a special effect on the building as a whole.
The architect of the church is Mr. G. H. Fellowes Prynne, of Queen Anne’s Gate, S.W., and the builder, Mr. George Browning, of Canterbury.
The dedication service was held on 4 June 1925.
Fellowes Prynne had originally intended a larger building, with the chancel and sanctuary farther back, a longer nave and a number of side chapels. This plan was adapted to the existing more suitable scale, and, apart from the missing tower, the church was built to his adapted plans.