Goldenhill - St Joseph

High Street, Goldenhill, Stoke-on-Trent ST6

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A 1950s suburban red brick church, built to a limited budget. The interior is unusual with its plain arches and characterful brick-faced piers but overall it is of limited architectural or heritage significance. The nineteenth century statuary in the Lady Chapel is of some interest.

A mission was established here about 1868 by the Rev. Clement Barrie, the first to be founded from Tunstall. A plot of land was purchased and a school-cum-chapel opened in 1871, having cost £550. The mission became independent in 1882, with its own priest. The church was extended the following year. In the 1930s ground was bought for a new church but the work was delayed by the Second World War. The foundation stone for the present church was laid on 8 October 1951 and it opened on 11 June 1953.  It was designed by Cecil Barker of Wood, Goldstraw and Yorath of Tunstall. A Lady Chapel was added in 1965. The church was consecrated on 16 May 1968. Extensive repairs, following mining subsidence, were carried out in 1980 under Wood, Goldstraw & Yorath. 

The church is oriented towards the west so all directions here are liturgical. It is steel-framed and faced with red bricks. It consists of a west tower with a prominent concrete cross set against each belfry opening, and a copper capping, an aisled, clerestoried nave with a continuous sanctuary and two chapels on the south side. All the windows are simple square or rectangular openings and are timber and/or metal framed. The clerestory is more or less continuous from one end of the building to the other. The polycarbonate sheets covering the windows have discoloured and rather disfigure the church.

Despite the fact that the external appearance seems large and quite high, at least at the east end (being built up on sloping ground), the interior is long and low. It has eight wide bays with low, unadorned arches which rise from piers of small red bricks (they no doubt conceal steel stanchions). The ceiling is three-sided and shallow, with deep, plain panels, and has a somewhat oppressive feel to it. The church is light, thanks to the large amount of window space.

The top-lit Lady Chapel has a range of carvings brought from the Lady Chapel in the old church of St Catherine of Siena in the Horsefair, Birmingham (figure 1). The nine scenes depict the life of Our Lady and were carved in Austrian pine in the late nineteenth century. The Stations of the Cross came from Holland.

Diocese: Birmingham

Architect: Wood, Goldstraw and Yorath

Original Date: 1953

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed