One Parish, Three Churches

All Saints History

AllSaintsFrontAll Saints Church is rather unusual and very special in that Mr E. P. Wilson, an architect and a member of the congregation designed today’s All Saints.

All Saints began as a small mission house church in East Harpenden in 1860. In 1889 the second All Saints Church was built– but by the mid 20th century it became inadequate to serve the needs of the enlarged district of Batford and East Harpenden. In 1955 Mr Dolphin Smith, a local farmer, gave the site of the present church. This third All Saints Church was consecrated on 28th May 1965 and will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2015.

The shape and style of the building and furnishings were intended to reflect the best in contemporary experiments in church worship and architecture of the 1960’s.

Everyday products were deliberately chosen for All Saints – domestic building blocks, warm in tone, for the walls inside and bricks of white gault clay outside; roofs are covered in Welsh slate; inside steel trusses to span the roof space; deal, cut from Russian redwood trees, to line the roof and form the benches set on three sides of a square; slabs from London pavements to make the floor, with one particularly rough slab indicative of our imperfections and yet fully functional within the church. Simple plainness with no decoration was the original vision so that the colour was generated by the people coming into the church.

At the centre of gathered church sits the altar, a massive wooden table; the eleven foot high roughly finished oak cross behind it has a processional cross superimposed of brass, copper and aluminium tubing,– in fact a composition of many smaller crosses representing all the saints. The font which is a roughly rounded block of Cornish granite, set within the baptistery apse on a pavement of blue Staffordshire quarry tiles.

All Saints Church has an adjoining Hall and meeting room. This last is reserved for childrens’ work in line with the wishes of Gordon Facer whose estate funded the building of this room and after whom it is named. The proximity of the hall enables Sunday Club to operate alongside worship services so that children and young people start and end and take part in worship with adults. Refreshments are served in the hall after Sunday services. The Hall is available for hire and in constant use and demand on weekdays and Sundays.

The church has a fine organ, a quality electronic mobile piano, a sound system including an inductive loop and a computer projector system which is used during worship and for meetings, etc.