The Reredos – read by Stephen Day

“In 1918 the reredos behind the alter, which had been a gift of Charles Collis, was replaced by a glass and marble representation of the crucifixion, ‘In memory of Mrs William Fiddian’, wife of the vicar’s warden.

This was made by the firm of James Powell and Sons, also know as Whitefriars Glass, who were English glassmakers., lead-lighters and stained-glass window manufacturers. As Whitefriars Glass, the company existed from the 17th Century, but became well known as a result of the 19th century Gothic Revival and the demand for stained-glass windows. The firm’s name was changed to Powell and Sons (Whitefriars) Limited in 1919, and the growth in business demanded new premises. In 1923 the new factory was opened in Wealdstone.

The memorials were made using a technique known as Opus Sectile, popularised in the ancient and medieval Roman world where materials were cut and inlaid into walls and floors to make a picture or pattern. Common materials used were marble, mother-of-pearl and glass.

Here the materials were cut into thin pieces, polished, and trimmed further according to a chosen pattern. In fact, these plaques are made of glass mosaics from opaque vitreous sheets where the pigment was cut and then fired at a temperature high enough to fix the pigment, but not to melt the substrate, with the glass pieces then being fitted together on a bed of slate.

The company’s records stated it included ‘The Crucifixion, angels’ and it came at a cost of £239. The previous reredos was stored at the west end of the church until it was disposed of by Faculty some years later.”

The congregation were obviously very pleased with their new reredos because the same company was commissioned to create the War Memorial plaques in the tower.”