The earliest stained glass within the church was given in 1906. A full description of the stained glass of St Andrew's, some of it extremely striking, has recently been prepared by Nigel McMurray. The most lovely is undoubtedly the great War Memorial window in the north transept, to the fallen in the First World War, by the Scottish artist, Douglas Strachan, dedicated in 1922; six other windows in the church are by this artist.
Among the stained glass lights a most touching gift is the tiny window in the porch showing the Lamb of God and the river of Life (from the Book of Revelation) from the parents of Roderick Macleod, the first minister, a testimony to their pride and love. It marks his induction into the ministry of St Andrew's again described in the Frognal Magazine of February 1903:
Welcome to Rev. Roderick Macleod: It is a matter of much gratification to us as a congregation that we have our own Minister amongst us at last, and our hope is that God may spare him to go in and out amongst us for many, many years, the helper and the trusted friend of all. We believe that he will find us a loyal, true and willing people, and we trust that in helping us he may himself be helped and strengthened.
THE STAINED GLASS OF ST. ANDREW'S
Nigel McMurray with Isabel Hariades
A stained glass window consists of pieces of glass coloured throughout their mass, often with painted lines burnt in, all joined together with grooved leads. Stained glass did not exist before Christian times and remains an essentially Christian art form. Its main feature is that it relies on light passing through it rather than upon it, and so the windows have different appearances during the different seasons, and even at different times of the day. They were – and remain – a means of communicating visually the Bible stories and Christian truth. However, the designers and glaziers saw stained glass as much more than a new art form. To them it was a physical manifestation of God as Light and, specifically, of Jesus being the Light of the World. The church building became envisaged more and more as a house of colours; a place filled with light for the greater glory of God. And the very Scriptures themselves were, when presented in stained glass, actually being transmitted into the church.
As with many other Protestant churches, St. Andrew's was not constructed to receive stained glass. Windows were inserted later into the structure by various donors over a period of years. Consequently there is no overall iconographical programme or theme as is generally found in Roman Catholic cathedrals and churches. This lack of iconographical programme is compounded by a subsequent lack of control over design and colour schemes. Nevertheless, only one window (20) does not have a scriptural theme.
The Biblical sequence of the windows is as follows:
The Old Testament — Abraham and Isaac (5; detail). David and Goliath (5; detail). The first fruits of the land (3). Praise the Lord (4).
The New Testament — The Nativity (17 and 22). The baptism of Jesus (22). Fishers of men (16). Andrew the Apostle (13; details). The woman of Samaria (7). Jesus and Martha (6). Come unto me (12). The Sower (2). The Good Samaritan (11). Blessing the children (11 and 13; detail). Blind Bartimeus (21). Palm Sunday (13; detail). The Last Judgement (8 to 10). The Revelation of John (14 and 18).
We should not study these windows as simply an attractive form of ornamentation. They are vibrant illustrations of the Glory of God and the Gospel of Christ.
J Dudley Forsyth: He was active primarily in the 1920s. His studio was in Finchley Road near to St. Andrew's Church and he was a manufacturer of stained glass rather than a designer. His glass was used in some windows in Westminster Abbey and the Baltic Exchange.
William Morris of Westminster (1874-1944): A traditional artist who is not to be confused with the more famous socialist and craftsman of the same name. Active in London and the Home Counties.
Henry James Salisbury (1864-1916): Salisbury was a Methodist from Harpenden who had studios in Knightsbridge and St. Albans. A deeply committed Christian, his work was traditional and he concentrated entirely on the depiction of scriptural events. His work was primarily, but not exclusively, for Methodist churches and institutions including Wesley's Chapel, the Leys School in Cambridge, Kingswood School in Bath and the former Westminster College. His more famous brother, Frank O. Salisbury, was apprenticed to him and became Master of the Glaziers Company, though he is remembered primarily for his portraiture and vast canvases of ceremonial events.
Douglas Strachan (1875-1950): Strachan was born in Aberdeen and, after being a political cartoonist for the Manchester Chronicle, he became a portrait painter in London. He then found his true medium to be stained glass and he never returned to painting. His significance is in the originality, imagination and flowing colours of his designs which do not allow him to be identified with any specific style of art. He was fascinated by the depiction of apocalyptic events. His career blossomed after his contributing 'The Evolution of the Peace Ideal' to the Palace of Peace at The Hague. His most significant work was in designing the windows and sculptures for the Scottish National War Memorial in Edinburgh. Latterly he moved to Pittendriech at Lasswade in Midlothian which was his home, workshop and studio.
Margaret Chilton (1875-1963): Miss Chilton was born in Bristol; and was mainly based there until about 1918. She attended the Royal College of Art in London in the early 1900s, studying stained glass under Christopher Whall (1849-1924), the most influential stained glass artist of the Arts & Crafts Movement. Chilton moved to Glasgow in about 1918, where she taught at the School of Art, and then moved to Edinburgh in the early 1920s, setting up a studio in partnership with her former Glasgow student Marjorie Kemp (1886-1975). They collaborated on numerous stained glass windows throughout Scotland and England and some overseas. There is an important series of Margaret Chilton's windows in St Andrew's (CofE) church in Leytonstone, and one in St Mary's RC church in Cadogan St, Chelsea. Our two windows were made in their Edinburgh studio.
Only one artist of St. Andrew's windows remains to be identified.