Home > Calcutta (Kolkata), Calcutta Heritage, General > St. Stephen’s Church, Kidderpore, Kolkata

St. Stephen’s Church, Kidderpore, Kolkata

St. Stephen’s Church, Kidderpore, Kolkata

Church with a Rocket like Steeple

Also see: My compilation of Calcutta (Kolkata) Churches

The St. Stephen’s Church, located on the Diamond Harbour Road, and next to the St. Thomas School, it is best observed from the bridge over Adi Ganga (Tolly Nala) in Kiddrpore.

St. Stephen's Church, D H Road, Kidderpore, Kolkata

St. Stephen’s Church, D H Road, Kidderpore, Kolkata

With its unique rocket like steeple the St. Stephen’s Church attracts the attention of even the casual passerby. Strangely the steeple was not meant to be designed like a rocket, in fact it was designed as a ship’s lantern.

Interiors of the St. Stephen's Church, Kidderpore, Kolkata

Interiors of the St. Stephen’s Church, Kidderpore, Kolkata

With the Kidderpore ports just a stone throw away no wonder the church had a steeple shaped as a ships lantern and the area was one thronged with seafaring people from all over the world.

Stained Glass, St. Stephen's Church, Kolkata

Stained Glass, St. Stephen’s Church, Kolkata

The official address of St. Stephen Church is 3 Diamond Harbour Road and is approached through a chaotic maze of the Kidderpore Bazar.

Housed in a small compound, it serves as a oasis of peace in one of Kolkata’s most chaotic areas.

The foundation stone of this Anglican church was laid on 6 January 1844 by the Governor-General along with the Venerable Archdeacon and Rev. Thomas.

St. Stephen’s Church was opened to public in 1846 and it is believed that church had been the place of worship for the Governor General, when he stayed in Belvedere, which is now the National Library.

In 1848, it was established as a Chaplaincy and in 1870 it became a Parish Church. So Anglican in origin the Parish Church, still holds on too its roots

Anglican traditions are still intact in its service. The service is in English with the boys and girls from the St. Thomas’ School attending it.

The interiors are simple but elegant with a huge but intricate stained glass at the altar. On both sides of the altar are two closets, which may have been meant for nuns.

Decorative elements inside the St. Stephen's Church, Kidderpore, with the narble pulpit at the centre

Decorative elements inside the St. Stephen’s Church, Kidderpore, with the narble pulpit at the centre

On the left of the altar is a small pipe organ. which plays to this day. On the right side is a magnificent marble pulpit. The walls adorn an interesting mix of old and new plaques.

A lady plays the Pipe Organ, St. Stephen's Church, Kolkata

A lady plays the Pipe Organ, St. Stephen’s Church, Kolkata

Most of the older plaques are dedicated to seamen, who died at sea or even drowned in the Hooghly.

It contains the memorial plaque of Edgar Belhouse, 3rd officer of the ship Khyber, who was drowned in the Hooghly on 11th May, 1890. The cross above his memorial is wrapped by an anchor and chain.

It also contains the plaque of James Henry Johnston who died at sea, near Cape of Good Hope, on 5 May 1851.

Another plaque contains series of f names of seamen, with their designations, who died at sea and the plaques was put up in their memory by their fellow surviving sea mates.

Memorial Plaques of seamen, St. Stephen's Church, Kidderpore, Kolkata (click to enlarge)

Memorial Plaques of seamen, St. Stephen’s Church, Kidderpore, Kolkata (click to enlarge)

After independence the church went through a bad phase and it fell into disuse in the 1960s. One of the wooden beams in the ceiling collapsed and the roof started leaking. Things took a positive turn in 2013 with the congregants starting to secure funds via social media campaign.

 

Today the St. Stephen’s Church and its compound is well restored and Sunday Mass is attended by a descent sized gathering.

  1. August 15, 2016 at 3:01 AM

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    • August 15, 2016 at 9:09 AM

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