St Joseph's Church
Queens Road Aldershot

St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church was built in 1912/13 by George Drysdale and is Grade II listed. It is a wedge-shaped plan, with a rounded (east) end at the junction of Queens Road with Edward Street. It features high flank walls pierced by a doorway on each street (at different levels) with windows above which provide clerestory lighting; a bell-turret is prominent by virtue of the ground falling to the east. Inside, the church is a basilica with an impressive character, richly textured and complete with original furnishings. Externally, everything is in brick-work, with upper levels of dark brindle, and the flank walling in brindle-banded red.

The Foundation stone was laid by the third Bishop of Portsmouth, Bishop William Cotter on St Joseph's Day (19th March) 1912.

The church was completed and opened on 30th January 1913, the Bishop of Portsmouth celebrating a Pontifical High Mass to mark the occasion.

The church was originally designed in line with the liturgical practice of the time, with a High Altar at the liturgical east end of the church (almost against the wall) for ad orientem celebrations of the Holy Mass where the priest faced away from the people.

The Church as it looked for nearly 70 years...

You can view more Vintage pictures in our Gallery.

It was to be nearly 70 years after the opening of the church in 1913 before the church was consecrated.

Artist's drawing of the original interior...

In line with the revisions following the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, the church was modernised or re-ordered in the 1970s with a permanent altar further away from the east wall so that Holy Mass could be celebrated versus populum (facing the people) in line with those liturgical revisions. The re-ordered church was consecrated on 22nd September 1982 by the sixth Bishop of Portsmouth, the Right Reverend Anthony Emery. The Parish Priest at the time was Fr Nicholas France (now Monsignor Nicholas France MBE). The church has changed little since then, apart from the addition of the various paintings along the north and south arcades of the church which are the work of local artist Robert Senior.

The Sanctuary as it looks today...