Brighton and Hove – St Mary Magdalen, Coldean

As the houses of Coldean estate spread up the Downs, a barn, probably late C18, which had belonged to the farm formerly on the site, was adapted as a church by J L Denman (BE(E) p264); the rounded buttresses on the north side are characteristic of his work.  The re-use of an existing building is in contrast to other estates in the area, where wholly new churches were built.  The foundation stone was laid on 2 April 1955 and the dedication was taken with a slight change of spelling from the then recently demolished church of St Mary Magdalene, Bread Street (Shipley p18).  The flint walls, braced tiebeam roof and half-hipped gables of the barn remain and large windows are set in the former cart-openings on each side.  New work, also flint, includes a west doorway, with vestries there and to the north, which extends to form a hall.


Retable: Sir J N Comper, 1896-97.  It is all that survives of his high altar for the bombed church of St Anne, Upperton Gardens, Eastbourne and shows his early style, influenced by German late gothic.

My thanks to Nick Wiseman for one photograph