How St. Edmund came to Northwood Hills
It is a little curious - why is the parish called St. Edmund the King, Northwood Hills, when most of the parish lies between Pinner Green and Hatch End. Moreover, why is it the Parish of St. Edmund the King, when his full title is St. Edmund, King and Martyr? Actually, the answer is quite simple; it was an administrative error when the parish was formed - but it would probably take an Act of Parliament to put it right!
Never mind - the important thing is that the parish does exist. It was created as the Mission district of Pinner Green, in 1934, but at that time still part of the parish of St. John the Baptist, Pinner. The first service was held at St. Edmund’s on 1st September 1935 - in the open air! But only three short months later, the Church building was completed and dedicated, on 14th December. That building is now the Church Hall - it was intended to be a temporary building, but it’s still going strong!
The parish was formed from parts of neighbouring parishes - St. John’s, St. Anselm, Hatch End, and St. Lawrence, Eastcote, but it was not until 1952 that it became a parish in its own right, with its own Vicar. The parish is bounded by Uxbridge Road and the Metropolitan line in the south, Woodhall Drive in the east, the Hertfordshire boundary in the north, and Potter Street and Hill in the west.
In keeping with the parish’s origin, mission has always a priority at St. Edmund’s. Before seeking a permanent Church here, in 1959-60 the people of St. Edmund’s raised the money to build the church and school of St. Edmund the King in Lesotho, South Africa.
The parish has had seven Vicars since 1952. The longest-serving of those six has been Fr. Reg Ames, who came to the parish in 1961, and who was the driving force behind the building of the ‘new’ Church. This Church took a little longer to build than three months - work started in July 1963, and the consecration, by the Bishop of London, took place on 10th October 1964. Fr. Ames stayed a while longer - until July 1992, in fact, but the Church that he built is here to stay. Not that the ‘old’ church has disappeared - apart from the Hall, what was the original chancel is now the Lady Chapel, in which the altar is the 1935 original.
Whilst the exterior of St. Edmund’s may not seem very grand, everyone who enters St. Edmund’s for the first time is pleasantly surprised by what they find inside - a wonderfully spacious, light and airy Church, yet with an atmosphere of calm, peace and reverence. Its design is perfectly suited to the worship of God - its furniture and decoration have a harmony and proportion that enhances that atmosphere. There is a splendid set of stained-glass windows, all designed and built by the same man (Michael Farrar-Bell) over a 22 year period. The building achieves the impossible, a fusion of modern design with traditional values - it is quite simply a beautiful place to worship, praise, and give thanks.