The Church Interiors of George Edmund Street in the Diocese of Oxford: An Assessment of Significence
Author(s): Richard Peats
George Edmund Street (1824-1881) was one of the most important architects of the Victorian Gothic Revival movement. He was extraordinarily industrious and was responsible for a huge number of new churches and church restorations, the best of which rank among the most important buildings of the mid-Victorian period. Although the architecture of Street’s churches has been studied in some detail, relatively little research has been undertaken to understand the significance of their interiors: the new fixtures and fittings which formed part of each commission, and the particular role of the architect in their design and execution. Without this understanding it can be particularly difficult to address conservation issues alongside the pressure for change and development to meet the needs of modern congregations and other factors. This report, which forms part of a wider national project looking at the works of prolific Victorian church architects, presents the results of an assessment of Street’s work in the Diocese of Oxford. Due to his role as diocesan architect from near the start of his career (1850) until his death in 1881 there is an unusually high concentration of Street’s work in the diocese, with a total of 113 churches built, rebuilt or restored by him. The report is based on fieldwork and archival research which has surveyed every one of these buildings and examines the working practices in Street’s office. It aims to understand the extent to which each church interior is a creation by Street himself, tailored specifically to the building, the degree to which the quality of Street’s work varies across the diocese and the extent to which these interiors survive. It then sets out a framework for assessing the significance of individual interiors and applies this to each of Street’s churches within the diocese and concludes by looking at appropriate strategies for managing change within these buildings. It is intended to assist decision-makers including Historic England, ecclesiastical authorities and members of the public who wish to ensure that the value of Street’s church interiors is fully recognised and taken into account when changes are proposed.
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- Research Department Reports
- Modern Standing Building Church