Tuesday, 20 August 2013

St Peter, Bournemouth

St Peter's stands on the east side of Bournemouth centre, half way up a hill. The splendid Gothic revival exterior contains within some of the richest Victorian Gothic interiors in the country.

Built from 1854 onwards to replace an earlier church, the architect was George  Edmund Street (1824-1881). The west tower with its spire is something of a landmark, and leads to a nave with north and south aisles (the latter surviving from the earlier church). These have tiled murals and extensive wall decoration, an hors d'ouvres to the feast to come.

The chancel arch is surmounted by a mural by Clayton & Bell, but it is the choir and south transept which steal the show. These are richly decorated with murals, tiling, carved marble and alabaster, with every surface, from floor to ceiling, a riot of pattern and colour.

The nave houses a cafe during the week, providing employment for people with learning difficulties. In the steeply sloping churchyard is the tomb of the author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (1797-1851), the heart of Shelley buried beside her.

Hinton Rd, Bournemouth, Dorset BH1 2EE

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