St. Cuthbert’s, Philbeach Gardens, or is it St. Philbert’s, Cuthbeach Gardens?
Every once in a while you come a across a building which has an atmosphere that takes your breath away, one such building is St. Cuthbert’s Church, Philbeach Gardens (The title is an old Anglo-Catholic joke mocking the unusual name).
What is so special about St. Cuthbert’s is that it has been untouched since the early 20th century, with the removable nave altar being the only noticeable addition. It still has the soot from a hundred years of incense, and it has that pleasant feeling that only Anglo-Catholic churches have from numerous artworks and quirky features that litter the place. The pride of these objects is the lectern which incorperates two great horns into the design and was described by John Betjeman as ‘Neo-Viking’.
It is therefore so nice to see a church surviving in its original state, most such churches have either closed, been cleaned up for ‘modern’ catholic worship, or worst of all: adapted for the use of evangelical with the ubiquitous platform for the worship band, usually right in front of the altar. Luckily they have just got a new incumbent from the Holy Redeemer, Clerkenwell (Which is a very Roman place, hopefully he’ll stop using the hideous nave altar) and thus things may turn around and St. Cuthbert’s might once again be brought back to life.