The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

St Paul's Bow Common, London, Robert Maguire & Keith Murray, 1960
St Paul's, Bow Common
St Paul's, Bow Common Interior c. Steve Cadman
St Paul's Interior, c. Steve Cadman
St Mary's, Leyland Cross above the High Altar by Jerzy Faczynski of Weightman and Bullen, 1964, Grade II Listed
St Mary's Leyland Cross above the high altar
St Bride's, East Kilbride, Gillespie Kidd and Coia (Isi Metzstein and Andy Macmillan), 1964, Scottish Listing Category A, c. Dan Farrar
St Bride's, East Kilbride, c. Dan Farrar

Best Modern Churches winners announced

The winners of the UK’s Best Modern Churches competition have been announced at an awards ceremony held at Lambeth Palace on 7 November 2013. Top of the list is St Paul’s Church, Bow Common. View video about St Paul’s Church.

Over 200 churches were nominated for the competition by the public, parishes and architects, which was open to church buildings or significant extensions to an existing building from any Christian denomination in the United Kingdom which opened for worship after 1 January 1953.

From a shortlist of 24 churches, judges selected the top 10 Best Modern Churches:

1) St Paul’s Church, Bow Common, London, E3 4AR by Robert Maguire & Keith Murray, 1960: Winner National Churches Trust Diamond Jubilee Award

2) St Mary’s RC Church, Leyland, Lancashire, PR25 1PD by Jerzy Faczynski of Weightman and Bullen, 1964, Grade II Listed: Winner National Churches Trust Silver Award

3) St Bride’s RC Church, East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, G74 1NN by Gillespie Kidd and Coia (Isi Metzstein and Andy Macmillan), 1964, Scottish Listing Category A: Winner National Churches Trust Bronze Award

4) Bishop Edward King Chapel, Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford, OX44 9EX by Niall McLaughlin Architects, 2013

5) St Mark’s Church, Broomhill, Sheffield, S10 2SE by George Pace, 1963 Grade II

6) St Francis Xavier RC Church, Falkirk, FK1 5AT by A R Conlin, 1961

7) Scargill Chapel, Skipton, Yorkshire, BD23 5HU by George Pace, 1960 Grade II*

8) St Paul the Apostle, Harringay, London, N4 1RW by Inskip & Jenkins, 1991

9) Kildrum Parish Church, Cumbernauld, G67 2JG by Reiach & Hall, 1965

=10) St Paul’s Church, Harlow, Essex, CM20 1LP  by Derrick Humphrys & Hurst, 1959 Grade II

=10) SS Mary and Joseph RC Church, Poplar, London, E14 6EZ by Adrian Gilbert Scott, 1954

Photographs of all the churches can be seen on the Best Modern Churches website.

The competition has been run by the National Churches Trust in association with the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association EASA and the 20th Century Society, and is part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of the National Churches Trust. Since 1953 the Trust has provided over 12,000 grants and loans worth £85 million, in today’s prices, to help fund the repair and modernisation of Christian places of worship.

Judges for the awards are: Sherry Bates, President, Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association, Richard Carr-Archer, Trustee of the National Churches Trust, Catherine Croft, Director of the 20th Century Society, Jonathan Glancey, writer and architecture critic.

Catherine Croft said: “Being part of the judging team has made me aware just how many great church buildings have been constructed in the last 60 years, and how varied they are. All too frequently we’ve found that C20 churches are assumed to be less precious than older ones, and that if closures are planned, that they are the most expendable. This is not necessarily the case. The awards celebrate churches which are currently much loved and appreciated by their congregations, as well as encouraging a fresh look at some buildings which have been unjustly neglected.”

Sherry Bates, President, Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association said: “The judges sought uplifting architecture that celebrated Christianity and churches that best responded to changes in religious liturgy and practice…. Top of our list is St Paul’s Church, Bow Common, London E4 to which we were delighted to award the National Churches Trust Diamond Jubilee Award. This church, designed by Robert Maguire and Keith Murray and which was consecrated in 1960, was hugely influential for church architecture and a signpost for future Anglican liturgy.”

Luke March, Chairman of the National Churches Trust said: “The challenge of helping people catch a glimpse of heaven has always produced highly creative and imaginative architecture and it is a great privilege to be able to honour some of the most exciting churches built since 1953 and their architects through our The UK’s Best Modern Churches competition.”

“We received over 200 nominations from members of the public, parishes and architects for these awards. Some of these post war churches now require help to deal with a backlog of maintenance problems, often related to problems familiar to those looking after older church buildings, namely roofs and drainage. Regardless of whether a place of worship is ancient or modern, churches, chapels and meeting houses are crucial not just to their worshipping communities but also contribute so much to wider society. I therefore encourage the church and heritage sectors to look favourably on any funding requests from these and other post war churches. “