Christ Church was built and consecrated for worship in 1843 for just under £10,000. It was built to accommodate the growing population of Chiswick around Turnham Green who found the distance to St Nicholas (the original parish church of Chiswick) too far and whose capacity was becoming inadequate for the congregation.
Our church is unusual in that normally a church on a green is on one side; an Act of Parliament was needed for permission to build it and the living (i.e. the appointment of a vicar) is in the gift on the Bishop London as the lands originally belonged to St Pauls Cathedral.
The architect was Sir Gilbert Scott and this was one of his first commissions. The original church finished at the present altar screen with a curved apse. The chancel and originally a side chapel and two vestries were added fairly quickly! Before these additions the clergy and choir had to robe in a rear corner of the church!
Originally there were galleries around the three sides (south, west and north) as the seating in pews in the nave of the church were paid for by subscription.
Our stained glass windows in the nave depict early English saints and memorial windows.
Christ Church was used as the garrision church when the army barracks were located in what become the Army and Navy Repository and later converted into a block of flats located next to the post office. With the limited openings of the windows it must have been quite ‘hot’ in the church on a summers day! Chiswick is half way between London and Windsor and the barracks housed the horses when the guards moved between the two locations.
We are not sure when the galleries were reduced to just the transept and rear but it was possibly before the stained glass windows were put in.
In the early part of the 20th century, the next additions to the church were the carvings of the altar screen and choir stalls by six determined members of the congregation (five ladies and a man) who attended lessons at the Arts School in the Bath Road. The stalls for the clergy are currently in the entrance lobby.
In the early 1990’s a partial re-ordering happened when the pews were removed and chairs brought in. Chairs allow us much greater flexibility to use the worship area for different types of worship and community activities.
The flooring under the pews was incomplete and a concrete floor was created and carpeted. At this time the rear part of the church was wood floored for use as a fellowship area and a kitchen created. This work was limited by the bequest that funded it.
Major work commenced in Millenium Year following years of planning, saving and an appeal under the guidance of architect Ian Goldsmith, who had considerable experience in church re-ordering. We were out of the church for nine months and re-consecrated on the same day in October as 157 years earlier the church had been originally consecrated.
The original organ was exhausted and a digital one replaced it. The remaining galleries were removed and a rear upper storey was created which provides a large meeting room, two smaller rooms and a kitchenette. The alter screen was moved back to create adequate space on the dias and the crèche moved to what had been the choir and vicar’s vestries. The vestry is now located on the north side of the chancel and parish office is in one of the smaller rooms upstairs. All the changes have resulted in a light, bright church where one feels connected to the outside and the whole community.
A larger kitchen, more toilet facilities and a lift to the upper floor were also installed. Disabled access was a priority and we had altered the west end entrance area two years earlier to allow step free access, two disabled parking spaces and off road access for weddings and funeral cars.
In 2010, we added another two parking spaces and cycle racks outside and audio visual TV screens inside.
After 170 years the time has come to carry out restoration work on the exterior of the church to ensure that it can continue to serve the community of Chiswick for another 100+ years.