Highgate, Middlesex

St. Joseph's Church, Highgate, Middlesex

This is the second church built on this site in quick succession, the first dating to 1861 was then replaced by this distinctive church of 1888/9 by Albert Vicars. The dome was deliberately intended to mirror that of St. Paul’s Cathedral, 130 feet below it in the City of London and is said to weight 2,000 tons.

The church is, in general, a blend of Romanesque and Byzantine styles with its big copper dome and also its separate bell tower (also topped with a little dome).

Although the exterior was totally remodelled in the 1880s much of the interior fixtures are from the 1861 church including the altar, tabernacle and baldachino. The ceiling is by Nathaniel Westlake and dates to 1891 – it has 250 panels and is considered by many to be his greatest work.

Highgate is, in many ways, best seen when glimpsed above the tree line or from a distance, close up it is more mundane and clunky but it stands in one of outer London’s highest points and is certainly worth a look if you’re in the area.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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