Great Barr - Holy Name of Jesus

Cross Lane, Great Barr, Birmingham B43

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A brick church of 1938, built from designs by E. Bower Norris to serve the expanding area of Great Barr. It is stylistically fairly simple but the west end fronting the main road has interesting Art Deco features which give the church some presence in the suburban townscape. The aisles, added in 1957, are in keeping with the original design. The interior is generally plain in character and contains no furnishings of special note.

Mass was said from April 1925 in a large barn or stable behind the Scott Arms which served as its club room; this was made available by brewers Mitchells & Butler at a nominal rent of 1s. per year. With the arrival of the Rev. James Bromley in 1935 a temporary wooden church was built, opening on 12 December that year. Plans were set in motion to build a permanent church to accommodate 350 people. The foundation stone for this was laid on 11 June 1938. Building proceeded rapidly and the opening took place six months later on 19 December. The architect was E. Bower Norris of Sandy & Norris of Stafford, and the builders were Deakin & Boardman of Walsall. 

The aisles were added in 1957 and the side chapels in the 1960s. The architect for these additions has not been established, but it seems likely that Sandy & Norris were employed. Consecration took place on 7 September 1965. Since 1979 the church has been in the care of the Sacred Heart Fathers and the Brothers of Betharram.

The church is built of light brown brick and originally consisted of a rectangular nave, a sanctuary with a rounded apse and a northwest tower, not much higher than the nave. The main roof is of low pitch and is covered with concrete tiles. To this building have been added flat-roofed aisles. The west end fronting on to the main road has interesting touches, very typical of the 1930s and with hints of Art Deco, e.g. in the two raised brick strips running up the tower and the triple brick projections either side of the rectangular west window. The nave has five bays of paired rectangular windows which were shortened to become clerestory windows when the aisles were added in 1957. There are two pairs of rectangular windows either side of the sanctuary, which terminates in a windowless semi-circular apse.

Inside, a narthex runs across the west end and the nave has five bays with slender, square, reinforced concrete piers separating it from the aisles. The nave is covered by a flat ceiling which appears to have reinforced concrete beams dividing the bays. The foundation stone is located in the northeast part of the sanctuary. There are no fittings or furnishings of special note.

Diocese: Birmingham

Architect: Sandy & Norris (1938)

Original Date: 1938

Conservation Area: No

Modifications: 1957

Listed Grade: Not listed