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St Oswald Church

Coventry, United Kingdom
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Basil Spence was commissioned in 1954 by the local Anglican diocese to design three low-cost parish churches to serve the new residential suburbs around Coventry: St Oswald's, Tile Hill; St John the Divine, Willenhall; and St Chad's, Bell Green. Each church is individually detailed but all are characterized by a freestanding campanile.

One of three suburban churches was driven by Spence's promise to provide a 'simple, direct, topical and traditional solution' for local congregations. Costs were reduced by using the same construction firm and material as those employed for nearby housing. Funding came from the War Damages Commission in compensation for one destroyed inner-city church. The basilican form of St Oswald was derived from that of the Cathedral (then under construction), with a concrete portal frame giving dignity and rhythm to the rugged interior. Like its sister churches, St. Oswald has extensive glazing, a patterned ceiling, lettering by Ralph Beyer, and robust chancel furniture. An applique hanging was made by Gerald Holtom for the altar wall and a beaten copper sculpture by Carrol Sims for the east gable. A low-slung hall at right angles (rebuilt in 2000) and openwork concrete tower define the boundary of a garden enclosure.