Sutton Baptist Church
The Baptists' first meeting room in Sutton was in the Carshalton Road, around 1862.
This was used as their chapel until first a schoolroom-cum-chapel, later used as a Lecture Hall, and then a large church was built in 1883, on the corner of Hill Road and the High Street, at a total cost of £8,550. The Baptist Church was a prominent feature of the High Street, with its square 80 ft. tower of undressed flints, until it too was superseded by the present much larger brick building now standing in Cheam Road, built in 1934 and officially opened in 1935. The old church was demolished when the site was bought by Ernest Shinner in 1934 to enlarge his department store, which was in the High Street next to the church, and until the new church was finished, Sutton Public Hall was hired for worship.
The new Baptist Church in Cheam Road was designed by the architect Nugent Cachemaille-Day (1896-1976) mainly using traditional materials, such as brick and tile, in a style influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement. Although Cachemaille-Day had worked with Louis de Soissons on the designs for Welwyn Garden City, his principal works were all ecclesiastical. His most famous building is St. Saviours Church, Eltham, which Cachemaille-Day admitted was based on the imposing thirteenth century red-brick cathedral in Albi, France.
Built by Messrs. Pitchers Ltd., of Holloway, the church only took a little over six months to build, commencing in January 1934, and opening in September the same year, and its design caused a sensation not only locally, but in church and architectural circles nationwide.
Sutton Baptist Church is one of the best examples of a contemporary brick building in the Borough. The bold design has imposing proportions with long walls and concave sweeps in the modern style, which became popular in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. The sole decorative features on the plain red brick fade are panels of roof tiles laid end-on. The windows are also in simple clean lines, in a simplified Gothic style.
The interior is equally dramatic, with much exposed brickwork and pure lime plaster as the only decoration. The sweeping pointed arches are highlighted by the directions in which the bricks are laid, and its clean simplicity is in tune with the ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement as well as the later modern architectural movements where form follows function.
Before building commenced, the Church Meeting resolved: "That the total overall cost of the enterprise should not exceed the amount secured by the sale of the existing site and buildings." This in fact was accomplished, as the final balance in hand at the end of the building project was £30 19s 7d.