Christ Church, Blackfriars Road replaced a Georgian church of the same name, dating to 1738-41, which had been damaged by a fire caused by a bombing in 1941. This building had itself replaced the first church on this site, built in 1671, with a bequest in the will of John Marshall (d.1631) on land donated by a William Angel. Both earlier churches were approached principally from the north, via Bennett Street and entered via a western tower. When the church was rebuilt, a tower was placed to the east end, presumably to form a landmark on Blackfriars Road, the major thoroughfare.
Fragments of the older church were salvaged for the new building, namely a stone niche with a statue of Christ and four carved stone medallions symbolizing the Evangelists. These now feature on the church hall’s southern façade, but are described in the Survey of London volume for the area (published in 1950, at which time the church was a bomb-damaged shell) as forming part of a Romanesque square-ended chancel added to the Georgian church by C R Baker King in 1890.
The Dedication Stone in the front porch records the church’s history and the opening of the building as an Industrial Mission Centre by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh in 1960.
Industrial Missions were established in the mid 20th century to provide ministry to workplaces. This association between the church and the world of work has left a unique mark on the built fabric of Christ Church in the form of a series of stained glass windows, ten designed in 1959 depicting workers in the local area, and four, designed in 1984, which represent local businesses and organisations.
The stained glass artist was Kenneth Gordon Bunton, an Associate of the British Society of Master Glass Painters. Bunton trained at Nicholson’s Studios, St John’s Wood, and in 1950 won First Scholarship from the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass. From around 1952-60 he was staff artist at J Wippell & Co, before establishing his own studio in Sevenoaks. The British Society of Master Glass Painters journal for 1968-9 mentions Bunton completing a prestigious commission (opened in the presence of the Queen Mother) for St Peter’s Church, Tile Cross, Birmingham. In the Directory of Master Glass Painters of 1972 he has a substantial entry which includes windows in Devon, Kent, Lancashire, Yorkshire, New Zealand and South Africa.
The last churchyard burial at Christ Church was in 1856 and the churchyard was cleared in 1895 when the interments were removed to Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey. In 1900, the churchyard opened as a public garden and in 2000 it was restored; both events are commemorated in stone plaques on the churchyard walls.