Christ Church Cockfosters was consecrated on 9th April 1839 by Bishop Blomfield. The founder was Robert Cooper Lee Bevan, a wealthy member of the family who founded Barclays Bank, and the architect was Henry Edward Kendall. The church building was built to serve the inhabitants of the village of Cockfosters and the surrounding area and was a fairly simple structure with a nave and small tower and steeple. The first vicar was Rev Gilbert Wiggins. In 1887 the clock and bell were installed to mark the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria.
By the end of the 19th century, the building was found to be too small so, in 1898, it was extended by adding a chancel on the west end and a side aisle to the north. The interior of the church was therefore turned round to face west which, unusually, is the way it still faces today. The design of this extension was by Sir Arthur Blomfield, son of Bishop Blomfield who had consecrated the church. Most of the stained glass windows, by Shrigley and Hunt of London, were added at this time.
Soon after this, a “daughter church” in Hadley Wood was founded and the current St Paul’s Hadley Wood building was opened in 1911 and the minister was a curate of Christ Church Cockfosters. This could be considered our first “Church Plant”. St Paul’s became independent from Christ Church in the year 2000 and continues to serve the community at Hadley Wood today.
By the 1920s there was a pressing need for a church hall in Cockfosters so plans were developed for “Church House”, which was formally opened by the Bishop of London, Dr Winnington-Ingram on 26th April 1932. This was, by the standards of the day, a truly magnificent church hall.
In 1952, the current organ was installed in memory of Prebendary Bertram Hopson, who had been vicar for nearly 39 years until his death in office in 1951. By the 1970s, the original Victorian vicarage was becoming uneconomic to maintain so part of the vicarage garden was leased to enable Christ Church Lodge (warden assisted flatlets) to be built. The proceeds were used to build a new, modern vicarage.
At the start of the 21st century, Christ Church had a vision for a second “Church Plant” and so, in January 2007, fifty church members were sent out and formed Grace Church Highlands, which has steadily grown in number and is based in Highlands School and serves the community in and around the new Highland Village estate in Grange Park. It was the first church plant in London Diocese to become a “Bishop’s Mission Order”, functioning and sharing the gospel in another parish by mutual agreement.
At around the same time, it was felt that substantial improvements were needed to Church House which, by now, had become very dated so a major extension and refurbishment project was undertaken including the creation of a community cafe and purpose-designed facilities for gospel ministry, and the new “Christ Church House” was formally opened by the Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres, on 10th July 2011.
The most recent development in the church building was the removal of the pews and replacement by chairs in May 2010. This enables much more flexible use of the space in the church building. It is hoped to carry out further improvements to the church building at some time in future in order to provide more space and better facilities.