Recommended Reviews

  • 3.0 star rating
    1/8/2008
    First to Review

    Visitors walking past the impressive stuccoed terraces of Lancaster Gate cannot fail to notice an elegant Gothic stone spire, some 205ft high, set in the middle of the gardens.

    This belongs  or more correctly belonged  to Christ Church, Lancaster Gate, built in 1855 (though the spire itself was added in 1863). Unfortunately, by the mid 1970s the structure was declared unsafe, and was subsequently demolished, except for the tower and spire. The parish merged with that of St James, Sussex Gardens in 1978, and the tower and spire were listed in their own right at Grade II.

    Had that been the end of the story, that might have been unfortunate enough. Even more unfortunate, however, was the subsequent development on the former church site, called Spire House. Built in 1983, and adjoining the original church tower, this six-storeyed development of luxury flats with car parking beneath was originally regarded as achieving a successful blend of modern with reference to the old, with its concrete pinnacles and flying buttresses recalling the Victorian gothic architecture it replaced.

    Alas, in my view it has not stood the test of time; it's simply hideous, and jarrs not only with the church but with the surrounding mid-Victorian white stuccoed terraces. The tower and spire get 5 stars in my book, but the block of flats behind 1 star. That's 3 overall, then

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