e-mail: simon@suffolkchurches.co.uk

St Andrew, Ipswich

  It seems impossible that a church would fit into the tight little terraced rows off of Foxhall Road, but here it is, set back from Britannia Road, and actually even bigger than it appears from the outside.

Cautley's work to the left looks rather like a garage, but the clean lines of the modern extension are superb.

There are several churches here, each built on as needs demanded and resources allowed. The first, in 1930, was a tiny chapel of ease to St John the Baptist, and in fact St Andrew did not become a parish in its own right until 1974. It is distinguished in so far as it was designed by Munro Cautley, although this is nothing as interesting as his contemporary All Hallows, or even the overblown St Augustine around the corner.

This part of the building has recently been divided to form a social hall and small prayer chapel in the former chancel. This contains benches formerly in St Mary at Quay, and, a remarkable survival under the circumstances, Cautley's original reredos and altar.

The most recent addition, in the 1990s, dwarfs the earlier parts. It is a great carpeted square auditorium, complete with audio-visual technology, and quite different from any other church in Ipswich.

But this is because St Andrew is, in character, quite unlike any other Ipswich Anglican church. It is part of the Reform movement, an evangelical equivalent of Forward in Faith. The worship here is charismatic in character, and attracts people from a wide area.

And it continues to find a place for itself in its new parish. The new meeting rooms are used regularly by local groups, spiritual and secular alike. This is a lively, thriving church community.

I'm also delighted to report that the people here are very encouraging towards churchcrawlers and the like, happily opening up for me to take photographs.

St Andrew's Church, Britannia Road, Ipswich, is open for business most days. Bus number 7 from the town centre stops nearby in Foxhall Road.


Cautley's original reredos surviving in Britannia Road - pure 1930s austerity.

The new lectern and altar at St Andrew.