Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Hackney (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TQ 35339 84851



II 1871-2 by Newman and Billing. Steeple 1882.

MATERIALS: Ragstone rubble with freestone dressings. Welsh slate roofs with crested clay ridge tiles.

PLAN: Nave, lower chancel, N and S aisles, SW steeple, S vestry, N organ chamber.

EXTERIOR: This is a Gothic Revival church in the style of c1300/early C14 placed on a corner site: the E end and the S side butt directly on to the adjacent roads. The most prominent feature is the SW steeple which has three stages to the tower and a stone broach spire above. The ground stage of the tower doubles as a porch. At the corners of the tower there are angle buttresses except that to the SW there is an octagonal stair turret which rises to an open-work top above the eaves of the tower and which carries an octagonal capping. In the belfry stage of the tower there are pairs of tall, louvred lancets. The spire has one tier of lucarnes. The aisles have lean-to roofs, low side walls and two- and three-light windows. There are five bays on the N side and four on the S (reduced by a bay by the presence of the tower). Each bay of the nave has a pair of foiled circular clerestory windows. The N aisle has a N entrance with a gable over it breaking into the line of the roof. There are large Geometrical windows at the W and E ends, the former having four lights and the latter five.

INTERIOR: The interior walls are plastered and whitened, the piers and their capitals also being painted. The piers are round and have richly carved foliage capitals and moulded bases. The arches are of two orders with a sunk moulding in the outer one and a roll-moulding at the arris of the underside. In each clerestory bay there is a shafting to the sides and a central shaft with a foliage capital. The chancel arch is similar to the nave arches but is rather more elaborate: it rises from a shaft which in turn is placed upon an angel corbel. The nave roof is arch-braced and has scissor bracing above the main trusses. In the chancel the roof is keeled and has longitudinal boarding. At the W end there is a tiered gallery on iron columns and advantage has been taken of this to partition off the W end of the church for ancillary facilities. The two middle bays of the aisles have flexible screening to enable further rooms to be created when needed.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The E end has an arcade of gabled, cusped arches across the E wall which contain the painted texts of the Lord's Prayer, Creed and Ten Commandments which flank a central panel of the Last Supper. The double sedilia and piscina on the S of the sanctuary and the aumbry on the N are in a similar style. Further Victorian work at the E end includes the richly carved wooden altar, the altar rails and coloured tiling in the sanctuary. The stone pulpit has pierced sides and Gothic detail. The Victorian seating has been replaced by modern chairs. There is late C19 and early C20 stained glass in a number of windows while the E window is of 1950 by H Vernon Spreadbury.

HISTORY: The church was built to provide a new place of worship within St Barnabas' parish which was said to have some 12,000 people, `mostly of the poorest class' in an area described as `being wretchedly poor' in the application for funds from the Incorporated Church Building Society. The new church was to be an `outgrowth of a Mission established three years since by the Bishop of London's [church-building] Fund.' This fund promised £1,500 out of the estimated cost of £6,598 and was planned to accommodate 750 seats, half of them free. The site was given by the governors of St Thomas's Hospital, and the church was consecrated on 8 November 1872. The builders were Dove Brothers. As was often the case, the completion of the steeple was delayed for reasons of funding, in this case for ten years until 1882.

The architects, Arthur Shean Newman (1828-73) and Arthur Billing (1824-96), were in partnership in London from about 1860 and had an extensive practice mainly concerned with church work, most of it in the capital. They were also surveyors to Guy's Hospital and to St Olave's District Board of Works. After Newman's death in 1873 Billing took on his son as a partner in 1890. Billing had worked in the office of the well-known Gothic Revival architect, Benjamin Ferrey, from 1847 and began independent practice in 1849.

SOURCES: Incorporated Church Building Society papers, Lambeth Palace Library, file 7295 Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North, 1998, p. 482. Basil F L Clarke, Parish Churches of London, 1966, p 68.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The church of St Luke is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * This is a well-designed mid-Victorian Gothic Revival church in the style of c1300 by a London architectural partnership which built many churches in the capital. * Built on an ambitious scale, the church embodies the Anglican sense of mission is providing impressive pieces of worship for deprived areas of the East End.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 05 Sep 2007
Reference: IOE01/16975/15
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Anthony Rau. Source Historic England Archive
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