Saint George

 Building St George's Hall

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St George's Church Hall , designed by Cyril Farey
St George's Church Hall , designed by Cyril Farey

With the completion of the main body of the permanent church in 1911, the tin church, situated a few yards away from the new building, continued in use as a temporary church hall. The vicarage, designed by James A Webb, architect and surveyor to Hendon Rural District Council, was built in 1923 opposite the church in Pinner View, on a plot of land purchased in 1914 and 1920 for the location of a parsonage and permanent church hall.

The task of carrying forward the church hall project fell to a new incumbent, the Rev Thomas Barton Milton, who came to St George’s in 1925 having exchanged the living of Boughton Manchelsea, near Maidstone, with the Rev Ramsay Couper. An immediate priority was the provision of a building to better facilitate the wide range of educational and recreational activities of a thriving parish.

In 1926 three competitive designs were submitted for a hall to suit the church’s requirements, to be built and furnished at a total cost of around £8,000. The competition was carried out according to the advice of the Royal Institute of British Architects, assessed by W H Ansell FRIBA, and won by the architect Cyril Arthur Farey (1888-1954). The following account of Farey’s career comes from the catalogue of the RIBA Drawings Collection:

‘Probably the leading architectural draughtsman of his time, Farey was well known for his watercolour perspectives. He was born in London, educated at Tonbridge School, and articled to Horace Field. He also studied at the Architectural Association and Royal Academy Schools where he was a brilliant pupil, winning the Tite Prize, 1913, Soane Medallion, 1914, RA Schools Gold Medal, 1911, and the Edward Scott Travelling Studentship, 1921. He worked for a while as an assistant in the office of Ernest Newton and then set up independent practice and had considerable success in competitions. With Horace Field he won first prize for the Trevor Estate, Knightsbridge, and with G Dawbarn the competition for Raffles College, Singapore, 1924. He published with A Trystan Edwards "Architectural Drawing, Perspective, and Rendering", 1931. ARIBA: 1918, FRIBA: 1941.’


Frontispiece of 'Architectural Drawing, Perspective, and Rendering', second edition
Frontispiece of 'Architectural Drawing, Perspective, and Rendering', second edition

Based on his 1923 design for Holy Trinity Church Hall, Hounslow (built to a lower specification and later demolished for development), Cyril Farey’s initial scheme for St George’s provided for a small hall, classrooms, kitchen and toilets on the ground floor, with a large hall and flat above; the small hall was to seat 200 and the large hall 500. Reduction in the size of the proposed structure became necessary when the lowest builder’s tender submitted was almost £2,000 in excess of the budgeted sum. Thus the seating capacity of the small hall was reduced to 170 and the large hall to 400 (according to standards of the time). Although it had been stipulated that the hall was to be built and furnished for £8,000, by the time the debt was cleared in December 1935 this had escalated to £10,261.

The foundation stone was laid by Lord Phillimore on 20 October 1928 and the opening ceremony conducted by Arthur Winnington-Ingram, Bishop of London, took place on 29 May 1929. Having served St George's since 1907 the tin church -  temporary church hall was sold to Kodak Ltd for use on its nearby recreation ground. Cyril Farey’s hall for St George’s, Headstone is a substantial facility and one of the finest church halls in the country. It was listed Grade II in 2006. 


Initial design for St George's Church Hall by Cyril Farey
Initial design for St George's Church Hall by Cyril Farey

A video of the building of St George's Church Hall in 1928/29 can be seen here

Enquiries for hire of the Church Hall please contact Mrs M Pointer Tel. 020 8863 8937 email megpointer@supanet.com

 

headstone, harrow