Our Lady Star Of The Sea / by Sasha Ward

The facade of the church from the outside                                                   Looking up at the star from inside

Our Lady Star of the Sea and St Winefride" is an inviting title for a church in the fabulously named Amlwch, most northerly of all Welsh towns (it's on Anglesey). Built from 1932-37 of concrete, recently repaired but still slightly leaking, it was designed by Giuseppe Rinvolucri, an Italian engineer who married a local girl after coming to Britain as a prisoner of war during World War I.

The shape of the building, between main road and cliff, is supposedly like an upturned ship. The restoration render is black, pierced with strips of glass. A deep star surrounded by a blue mosaic circle is the only decoration on the facade which becomes interesting in itself (however true) if you read the comment below about the construction of the church.

" I think it is worthy of mention how the whole mass of imitation stone frontage was done by one plasterer long gone called Llew (Inja Rock), whose pretty unique style of work is still to be seen elsewhere around town today. He once showed me how it was done, all with a little teaspoon. What patience and what a proven good job to stand the trial of time of 40-plus years without a great deal, if any, remedial work. A sound memorial to a good working man." Robert Jones of Beaumaris from BBC North West Wales 2010

The interior is another one that makes you gasp. More pierced stars and three bands filled with white glass blocks that accentuate the shape of the roof. The only colour is blue paint on the bands and on the reveals of the stars. No clutter above shoulder height - even the lights don't look too bad. The design on the cast glass blocks - repeated and reflected irregular quadrilaterals - is what places this interior firmly in the 1930s. Apparently if the church is lit at night, three beams of light are sent from the glass strips into the sky - I'd love to see even a photo of that phenomenon.