Christ Church Building

When Rev Henry Stephens (the first vicar of Christ Church) came to Finchley in 1864 the plot of land on which the church now stands was grazing land and Finchley was a rural area notorious as the haunt of highwaymen. However it was a time of great change for the area following the incorporation of Ballards Lane into a turnpike route in 1825 and the arrival of railways in the area from 1867.

Henry was responsible for the construction of the first church building which was a temporary corrugated iron building located on a site immediately to the south of the current building, although he did not confine his preaching to this building as he would frequently go visiting and preaching in the open air, including in front of the Post Office in East Finchley. However, Henry soon turned his attention to fund raising for the construction of a permanent building and on 26 July 1867 the foundation stone of the present building was laid.

The first part of the church to be completed was the nave which was consecrated on 9 April 1869. The nave incorporates the beautiful rose window (see right). Henry Stephens was inaugurated as the first Vicar of Christ Church in 1872.

Rose Window

The rest of the building was completed in stages as funds permitted. The first addition was the north aisle which was completed in 1874, followed by the south aisle in 1880. Work on the chancel and vestries began in 1891, including installation of an organ which had been built in 1881. Plans were laid for full transepts and a substantial tower with spire, but these were never built.

The east window in the chancel (see below) features a star shaped window with a representation of Jesus with his arms raised in blessing. The lower vertical stained glass panes show various apostles and saints.

As early as 1885 there are reports that the church was cold in winter and substantial effort was used up in trying to remedy this, including the building of a porch on the west end to try to cut down the draughts that regularly swept through the building in winter.

East Window

Maintaining any large building of this complexity is always a challenge and our building is no exception! The current project to repair the rose window and wall will be going ahead in May 2014. Thanks to the work of church members over several generations, Christ Church building is a beautiful and enjoyable place to meet.