About the Church
Following the completion of the Great West Road in 1925, the orchards and market gardens around the Osterley and Isleworth areas became housing estates. The foundation stone for the church was laid by the Rev. Frederick Howard Harding, the priest in charge, on the 28th October 1933. The church and buildings were designed by Ernest C. Shearman A.R.I.B.A, who also designed a number of similar churches in the London area, and was built by Dove bros. of Islington. The church itself is built of Claygate stock brick with contrasting stone bands and Fletton brick to create a rich Gothic design. The rich stone traceried windows are in the form of tall single lights at the north (altar) end of the church, whereas at the south end of the church there is a spectacular rose window (below). The high altar came from St. Mary, Charing Cross Road.
The church, hall and vicarage were built at the same time. the church cost approx. £16,000. £7,000 of this came from a donation in memory of Mrs Ann Harding from Fr. Harding, with a further £6,000 from the London Diocesan Fund. The remaining money was obtained from smaller donations and a 20,000 shilling fund set up by Fr. Harding.
The cost of the hall was met by an anonymous gift of £1,250 and a similar sum from the London Diocesan Fund and Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
The district that became the parish of St Francis of Assisi was carved from the existing parish of Isleworth, and at the time the building was completed contained approximately 8000 residents.
The hall was opened by the Rt. Rev. B.H. Simpson, Bishop of Kensington, on 23rd May 1934, and the church was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Winnington-Ingram, Bishop of London, on Saturday 23rd March 1935. The procession at the consecration service was led by the cross-bearer, who was followed by choristers, servers, the Mayor, councillors, civic officials & burgesses, the foreman, builders, the architect, church officials, visiting clergy, the Bishop of Kensington, the Bishop of London and their attendants.
In April 1957 the Rood Cross was added to the church on Easter day. The cross itself is 15ft high, with the Christ figure standing 7ft 6 inches tall. The cross was created by Miss Freda Skinner from limewood and was blessed by the Rev. N.S. Pollock.
List of Vicars and Priests in Charge
1933 – Fr. F.H. Harding
1935 – Fr. John G. Murray MA
1939 – Fr. H. Nicholson MA
1947 – Fr. B.H. Kemp MA
1951 – Fr. N.S. Pollock
1966 – Fr. J.H. Brewer
1978 – Fr. G.R. Smith
1983 – Fr. D.R. Knickerbocker, Priest in Charge
1984 – Fr. D.J. Houghton, Priest in Charge
1991 – Fr. K.D. Moule, Priest in Charge
1991 – Fr. R.J.S. Burn, Priest in Charge
2000 – Fr. D. Wilson, Priest in Charge
2000 – Fr. L.P.Smith, Assistant Curate and Priest with responsibility for St. Francis
2005 – 9 Fr. L.P.Smith, Priest in Charge
2019 – Fr. Peter Vannozzi, Priest in Charge, April 2nd to July 25th, and Vicar from July 25th
Middlesex Chronicle, New Parish in the Making.
Middlesex Chronicle, Churches of South West Middlesex. G.E. Bates, Description of the Church, Scrap Book 1, Hounslow Library.
Black, R.M. (2002), The Story of St. Francis of Assisi Church, Isleworth Pamphlet.
Thanks to Dr. John Salmon for permission to use his photographs of St. Francis.