Establishing st Alban's

Building

STORY

The Church of St Alban the Martyr, Balmoral – a place of considerable historic heritage significance “St Alban’s has inherent qualities that are represented physically and exist intangibly through the built fabric, history, social and historical associations, site and context. Accordingly, St Alban’s Church, Balmoral is considered to demonstrate overall considerable historic heritage significance.”

Quote from St Alban’s Conservation Plan

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Extract view of St Alban’s Church c.1890 looking north from Mt Roskill Road.  (James D. Richardson, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 4-3832)

1884 - 1886

The church of St Alban the Martyr was the first church to be established on Dominion Rd, then named Mt Roskill Rd.

Originally a daughter church of Holy Sepulchre parish, it was planned in October 1884, with fundraising for the expected cost of 500 pounds well underway soon after. Suitable land had been donated by Mr James Paice, a local farmer with large land holdings.

Extract view of St Alban's Church c. 1980 looking north from Mt Roskill Road (later Dominion Road). 

1886

The design of the project was put into the hands of architect Mr A P Wilson. Progress was very rapid indeed. The cornerstone was laid on 5 Dec, the building being named St Alban’s, one of 65 churches worldwide, affiliated to the eleventh century abbey of St Alban in England. The building was completed just two months later in time
to be opened during General Synod on 13 February 1886 by Bishop Harper. At the same time, a schoolroom was built behind the church, being doubled in size in 1901, with further enlargement in 1923.

In March, however, the Church Gazette reported that the architect’s plan had not been “carried out in its entirety” but that the simple rectangular building was intended as the nave of a much larger church, the chancel and transepts to be added later” – in the Gothic style of the time.

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Showing the interior of St Alban’s Church, c.1900, looking east down aisle towards the altar prior to the first brick addition. (James D. Richardson, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 4-6326)

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Bishop Neligan conducting a ceremony to lay the foundation stone in August 1905.  (E. D. Dutton, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19050810-10-4)

1890

In 1890, St Alban’s was moved out of St Sepulchre’s orbit to become a partner in the United Parishes of St Barnabas and St Alban’s.  There followed a period of rapid change in clergy and an uncertain financial situation.

1904

The appointment of the Rev H B Wingfield to St Alban’s in December 1904, began a major period of development with the addition of a chancel designed by Rev Wingfield himself. 

In 1890, St Alban’s was moved out of St Sepulchre’s orbit to become a partner in the United Parishes of St Barnabas and St Alban’s.  There followed a period of rapid change in clergy and an uncertain financial situation.

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Construction of the brick chancel and apse addition in 1905. (James D. Richardson, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 4-3833)

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Looking southwest towards St Alban’s Church in 1912-1919. (G. Hardy, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 1578-8)

1908

Early in 1908, negotiations were begun to acquire the organ from St Mary’s in Parnell, Auckland, and this was subsequently installed just before Christmas followed by a Dedication Service.

1909-1912

In 1909, with Rev Henry Barnard Wingfield as vicar, St Alban’s became a separate parish and discussions began to finish the church in permanent materials – a move which did not eventuate.  The wooden part of the church was moved 7.25 metres to the west and a brick nave and side chapels built, being dedicated on 28 May 1912.

With the addition of the tower, built as a war memorial, the building achieved its current appearance – a unique, yet architecturally and liturgically cohesive composition that knits the various elements together.

The existing view
The existing view

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Looking west towards church in November 1928.
Looking west towards church in November 1928.

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Looking east in church nave in November 1928.
Looking east in church nave in November 1928.

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Further detail can be found in St Alban’s Conservation Plan and the Centenary booklet.

A sharp eye will notice that the Officiating Ministers’ Board begins with Rev Wingfield in 1909, some 23 years after St Alban’s was opened. Many came before Rev Wingfield, some in the capacity of Assistants, some being commissioned from St Barnabas and Holy Sepulchre with joint responsibilities. Their names need to be acknowledged here as formative in the building and continuance of the parish