Photographs by John Salmon, and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use the images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit John Salmon and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. Click on the images to enlarge them.

The West End

Looking west from the sanctuary, St John the Baptist, Holland Road in Kensington, London, by James Brooks (1825-1901), with additions by J. S. Adkins. Built from 1872 onwards, the Grade I listed parish church has a large and beautiful wheel window at the west end, designed by Percy Bacon Brothers, which is the most prominent feature from this viewpoint.

A closer view of the west end.

The Baptistery

Originally intended to be the central west porch, but closed in by James Brooks's assistant, John Standen Adkins (probably his single biggest contribution to the church's interior design), the baptistery dates from 1910 (see "Brief History"). It contains the huge square font designed by Brooks himself, and dating to 1892. This was moved here from its earlier position in the north aisle. According to the listing text, it is of "grey Devon marble with quatrefoil relief panels depicting Baptism, Confirmation, Penance and Holy Communion." The most striking feature from the central aisle is the high pinnacled wooden canopy, also square, with its statue of St John the Baptist at the top. This, like the other baptistery figures, was by John Edward Taylerson (see Sheppard). Carved from both stone and wood, screen these figures are admirably executed, but may take away from the effect of austere grandeur which Brooks had in mind.

Related Material


"Brief History of St John the Baptist." The Church of England. Web. 25 May 2015.

"List Entry" (for St John the Baptist, Holland Road). Historic England. Web. 25 May 2015.

Sheppard, F. H. W., ed. "The Holland Estate: Since 1874." Survey of London: Volume 37, Northern Kensington. London, 1973: pp. 126-150. British History Online. Web. 25 May 2015.

Last modified 9 November 2015