A History of St Luke's Parkstone
A History of St Luke's Parkstone
The parish of St Luke’s Parkstone emerged following a review of local parish boundaries in 1903. Most of the land in the surrounding area was owned by the Wimborne family. Lady Wimborne was a supporter of the more evangelical styles of worship that emerged during the religious revival of early 1900s.
The initial Church was a prefabricated tin hut originally constructed as a chapel for the local Sandecoates School. By 1905 plans were underway for a new Church. Lord Wimborne gave £4,250 to endow the benefice and (by 1914) £8,400 towards a building fund. The foundation stone was laid in 1907. Construction was completed in the spring of 1908 at a cost of £9,000, however building debts prevented full consecration until 1914.
The current Church is described by our Architect, Keith Loveless, as a moderately large town church with walls constructed in a Poole 'Jennings' brick, which are light off white in colour. Stonework surrounds all windows. There are large full height windows to both the West and East ends.
In the 1901 census, the new parish had only 10 houses, the school and 70 people. In the 1921 census, the population of the parish had grown to 1,293. The original tin Church was dismantled and purposed as a Church Hall in the nearby Birchwood Road.
World War one halted major work and by 1918 the Church was still only sparsely decorated. Money was then raised to complete the choir stalls, the low chancel wall, the oak panels, and the organ loft. A special fund, to design and install the East Window of the Church, marked the end of the initial building phase. The fund was supported by ninety-nine parishioners, often in memory of those who died in World War One. The design, based on the Anthem Te Deum Laudamus, was approved in 1926 and £900 raised to fund completion for Easter 1927, just after Lady Wimborne’s death.
A new Church Hall was built in 1966 and pace of change quickened with arrival of Rev John Blyth in 1970. Further development of the Church with the addition of rooms behind the Church took place in 1960s and 1980s. New heating was installed in 1980s and replacing the 1907 chairs in 1990s. The fellowship area at the West end of the Church was created in the mid-1970s.
In 2005, the main North porch of the Church was enclosed by use of glass doors. External ramps were installed to assist entry for those with a reduced mobility. On entering the Church, an open area includes the font and an area for sharing fellowship. Opposite the entrance there are toilets, a kitchen area and an enclosed area which was originally the South porch, this contains the Church's gas fired blown air heating system. In 2007, the Centenary lounge was created in the northwest area immediately east of the main porch. This has been mainly used as a creche area during services, a meeting room and has recently been converted for use as a Prayer room.
In the early days of St Luke’s, Lord Wimborne provided a house which was used as a Vicarage. A Mr Fisher deemed the house unsuitable for his purpose and built his own. The property given by Lord Wimborne reverted to its original owner. When a new vicar was appointed, following Mr Fisher, the Parish needed a Vicarage, and a house was purchased in Birchwood Road at the cost of £3,000. This house remained as the Vicarage until very recently. In December 2022, the Diocese purchased the house at 2 Wellington Road adjacent to the Church, which is now St Luke’s Vicarage.
The Parish Magazine started in 1906 and expanded to be a large publication in the 1930’s and was sold at all the local shops. During the period 1920 – 1950, Easter services regularly had 600 communicants. The Church was actively involved with CPAS and CMS and this continues today.
This content was compiled from various sources including a publication dated July 1921 by R.P.West