The Parish Church of St.Matthew Kensington Olympia was designed and built 1870-71 by the prolific church architect, Sir Arthur Bloomfield. Born in
Fulham Palace, he was the son of Charles Bloomfield, Bishop of London.
The foundation stone was laid by a local worthy, Lady Barrow, and the
church was consecrated on St. James’s day 1871. The Parish was officially
created in 1872 to meet the spiritual needs of the rapidly expanding West
Kensington area.

The design of the church is in Bloomfield’s early Gothic style, heavily
influenced by the work of William Butterfield and G.E.Street. Built of yellow
London stock brick with bands of red brick and stone window tracery and
details, the roofs are banded in stripes of green and grey slate. The church
is made up of a broad central aisle with north and south aisles, transepts
and a chancel; there is a bell-cot over the chancel arch which contains two
bells. The church stands in dramatic contrast to the Italianate detailing of
the houses in Sinclair Road.

Dominating the church is the magnificent altar-piece, installed in 1898 as
part of the re-ordering of the chancel which included carved panelling and
the choir stalls, all designed by La Strange.The central panel above the
altar shows the Resurrection of the Lord, the two side panels portray Our
Lady and St Gabriel at the Annunciation; there is a profusion of interactive
carved grape vines in the Devon style. Above the three in the East Window
is depicted The Ascension of The Lord; in this way the East end of the
church proclaims the fundamental mystery of the Christian faith in the
Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Christ.

The interior is divided into three aisles by eight noble Portland stone
columns with vigorously carved capitols, probably by Thomas Earp; see
also the chancel arch and transepts, the details and elaboration increase
as the pillars move towards the altar. The walls, now restored to their
original appearance, are made up of bands of honey-yellow cream and red
brick. The roof is an excellent example of straightforward timber
construction, with no unnecessary ornamentation, but relying on structural
integrity.

In the south aisle is the statue of St.Matthew, a late work by Ivor Levi,
caved in Pear wood and given in memory of a former Churchwarden.
During the last 20 years the building has been completely restored both
inside and out; the slate roof has beenreplaced, using the original colours,
and the walls cleaned to reveal their existing brickwork.The interior was
completely stripped of 50 year old paint, again revealing the beauty of the
original design .The interior has been re-arranged to provide a dignified
liturgical space, adequate seating and flexible space for parish events.
Heating system specificationĀ 

  • Low pressure hot water system
  • Minster 33 colour coded radiatorsĀ to blend with walls
  • Potterton condensing boiler with stainless steel heat exchanger
  • Churchwarden control system

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