Meir - St Augustine of Canterbury

Sandon Road, Meir, Stoke-on-Trent ST3

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A large 1950s brick church in the stripped Romanesque style that was very popular for Catholic churches up until the Second Vatican Council. It was designed by Sandy & Norris of Stafford, who built widely in the diocese.

In 1934 the priest at Longton bought a late nineteenth century house called Highfields in Sandon Road, Meir, with the land attached, and a resident priest was appointed. The house became the presbytery and a church, dedicated to St Augustine of Canterbury, was opened at Christmas 1934 in a converted stable building. After a new school was built nearby in 1937, its hall was used as a church until 1949, when the church returned to the converted stables, by then extended with a Nissen hut.

The foundation stone of the present church, designed by E. Bower Norris of Sandy & Norris of Stafford, was laid on 27 May 1957 and it opened in an unfinished state later that year. The west end and sacristies were completed in 1959. A reordering took place about 1996 when the fine marble high altar was brought forward.

The church is built in buff brick under a Roman tile roof and was built in 1957-9 to a longitudinal plan in a stripped Romanesque style. It consists of a nave and sanctuary under one continuous roof, with passage aisles with flat roofs behind parapets (externally the sanctuary is three-sided, but square-ended within). The aisle windows are tall single lights under round heads; shorter ones to the clerestory (now blocked). The western tower and flanking flat roof structures were built slightly later in the second construction phase. The triple window over the west door is deeply recessed, giving a highly modelled appearance to the tower. This rises to a shallow gable surmounted by a cross.

The five-bay nave opens into the passage aisles through tall, plain, round-arches which rise from bare red brick square piers. The walls are plastered and painted a light cream. The sanctuary consists of one bay with a short recess in its far wall. The ceiling is a continuous one over both parts and has deeply recessed square panelling.

The pulpit is a plain but elegant piece, semi-circular and using polished green marble. The setting for the high altar is also very pleasing; behind is a tall, quasi-Art Deco reredos with a panelled canopy above.

Diocese: Birmingham

Architect: Sandy & Norris

Original Date: 1959

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed