This site is dedicated to Sir Walter Tapper, and the fabulous architecture that he left us.


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St Erkenwald's History - Before Construction

In February of 1899, William Gregson, Solicitor, of 8 Royal Terrace, gave £1,000 for the purchase of the site at the junction of York Road and Southchurch Avenue to the Revd J.W. Herbert. He also made a further offer of £500 towards the erection of a church on condition that building commenced by Easter 1904. In February of 1903, Restriction against temporary building on the site was lifted through the influence of Mr. Gregson. In June of the same year an Iron Church was opened but that soon became overcrowded; there was an immediate need for a larger building.

An executive committee was formed, and it was resolved to advertise a competition for the design of a church, parish hall and clergy house. The chosen design, in "Romanesque" style, was by Sir Walter John Tapper (1861-1935). Click here to see the architect's description of the Church. The Revd. J.W. Lindsay DD., assistant curate at St. John's at the time, became an influential member of the committee. It is said that he wanted a large church with the potential to become a cathedral and sought inspiration for the building from the cathedral of Cremona in Italy. There was a print of Cremona Cathedral in St. Erkenwald's, but there is no evidence to prove that Dr. Lindsay influenced the design.

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Sir Walter Tapper ~ Sir Walter J. Tapper ~ Gothic Revivalist Architect ~ St Erkenwald, Southend-on-Sea ~ Church of the Annunciation, Bryanston Street ~ Church of the Ascension, Malvern Link ~ Guildford Grammar School Chapel