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St Augustine's Church, Kilburn

Kilburn Park Road, London NW6 5XB

Few 19th-century churches are a match for the soaring edifice of St Augustine’s, Kilburn, once dubbed the “Cathedral of North London”. The area was settled by thousands of immigrant Irish workers, and the church was founded in 1870 as a missionary venture by Anglicans eager to keep at bay what promised to be a mass Catholic incursion. A dynamic vicar, Richard Carr Kilpatrick, sought help from like-minded – and wealthy – souls at All Saints Margaret Street in Marylebone.  The church was duly high church Anglo-Catholic, as it is to this day.

The new St Augustine’s was to be as splendid as any new church in London. The star architect of the gothic revival, John Loughborough Pearson, was sent for, and no expense was spared. His design was French gothic, externally slender and elegant. Its stone steeple rising above red brick soars over the roofs of Maida Vale and the towers of Kilburn, calm and dignified.  The inside is extraordinary. It is in the form of a giant hall, 10 bays long, with double aisles on all sides. These carry wide galleries divided by brick buttresses, allowing a perambulation of the entire church at upper floor level, lit by stained-glass windows in the clerestory.

The centre of the church is dominated by Pearson’s enclosed sanctuary. Its surrounding gothic arcades are topped by a frieze crowded with biblical and saintly statues, richly decorative. The altarpiece has a touch of art nouveau to it, as does the pulpit and the ironwork of the gates and railings. A final touch is given by the Chapel of St Michael to the right of the chancel. This is a miniature cathedral in itself. Painted and restored throughout, its ribs and arches are picked out in reds, greens and golds.


How to get to the venue

The nearest underground station is Kilburn Park on the Bakerloo line.   It is a fine example of the work of architect Stanley Heaps, who designed many buildings for London Transport (as was). 

From the Wimbledon area two suitable options by public transport are either to take the train to Waterloo then use the Bakerloo line from there, or to use the tube from Wimbledon to Paddington and switch to the Bakerloo line.   The church is then about a 3-5 minute walk from Kilburn Park.  Bus routes 31, 316 & 328 also stop very nearby.   All street parking nearby is controlled for residential permit holders only (there has been a lot of new residential development in recent years) so the advice is not to go by car hoping to park.

See location on the map and get directions
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