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The original church on this site was opened in 1869 and at that time was the Pro-Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Westminster. Therefore, until the building of Westminster Cathedral (completed 1903), Our Lady of Victories (OLOV) was the foremost Catholic church in England. Sadly, on the night of 13th September 1941 during the Blitz, the church was devastated by four incendiary bombs landing on the roof. In 1952 the architect Adrian Gilbert Scott won the commission to create a modern and contemporary church for South Kensington on the old site of the church, His design, completed in 1957, looked to austerity as the underlying driving force to its aesthetics and thinking.

Adrian Gilbert Scott was an interesting character in the history of the architecture of the first half of the twentieth century. He never really embraced the Modern Movement but developed a personal ‘modernistic’ style, often based on the use of the parabolic arch. He was unpopular with the critics; his church of St Mary and Joseph at Poplar, for example, was heavily criticised by the influential Ian Nairn soon after it was built for its ‘sprawling lumpish mass’, and its style later was described by Gavin Stamp as ‘Jazz-Modern Byzantine’.

When Scott’s plans for OLOV were revealed in 1954 a group of parishioners campaigned against the design, and the Royal Fine Art Commission became involved. In the end the architect Goodhart-Rendel was called in to replace Scott’s proposed parabolic arches with Gothic. A perspective drawing of Scott’s original design (below centre) exists and shows a strikingly different effect to that built.

However, the church has stood the test of time and Scots forward-thinking approach and modernistic style gained Our Lady of Victories Grade II listed status on 13 May 2016, This wonderful news for the church totally changed the vetting process that was required within the Diocese in order to gain approval for our modern interpretation of the Sanctuary.