The Goddard Trail - Three Churches

 

 

The Goddards designed three splendid churches in Leicester. The first is Melbourne Hall, 1880-81, on the corner of Melbourne Rd and St Peters Rd. This is an evangelical church - the only non-conformist building by Goddard & Paget - and the design (which wasn't to be too 'ecclesiastical') was chosen in a competition. This is based around a huge octagonal space, although the pews are set out conventionally. Not everyone liked it at first - one critic said it was like a candle snuffer - but Joseph Goddard likened it to a lantern. This is one of the most easily recognisable buildings in Leicester and its distinctive roof can be seen from many of the higher points around the city.
 
 
 
 

 

St John the Baptist, 1884-85, on Clarendon Park Rd. This simple though pleasant exterior, complete with fleche (the little spire), barely hints at the splendid interior. The walls are buttressed on the inside, with ailes through the buttresses at ground level and a gallery which circles the church, above. This results in a slight 'tardis' effect - it seems bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. The interior is a tasteful mix of coloured bricks.
 
 

St James the Greater, 1914, by Henry Goddard - the building started in 1899 although designs go back at least as far as 1895. Situated on London Rd, by Victoria Park, there are few Victorian or Edwardian churches in the Midlands that weren't designed with at least some elements of the Gothic style, and this is one of the few. The Italian Renaissance style can be attributed to Henry's trips to Italy which produced sketch books full of ideas. The history of the church has been written by AD McWhirr.
 
 
 
 
 
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