Aintree - Holy Rosary

Altway, Aintree Village, Old Roan, Liverpool 10

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Fairly standard, but not uncharacterful, church of the 1950s, of reinforced concrete construction and T-shaped in plan. The semi- detached  cobbled baptistery  with  its  concrete  tripod/fleche  lends  the exterior  some  quirky  interest,  and  the  contrasting  volumes  of  the interior are attractive.

The parish was established in 1947. The foundation stone for the present building was laid by Archbishop Godfrey on 15 October 1955 and the church opened in the following year. The architects were Edmund Kirby & Son of Liverpool.

The church is T-shaped on plan, with a low, wide nave with narrow passage aisles, and a double height sanctuary space.   The reinforced concrete frame is faced with multi-stock bricks laid in English garden wall bond (3:1), under shallow-pitched roofs clad in felt. There is a projecting porch with a curved roof, its front faced in red sandstone, and surmounted by a statue of the Virgin and Child. To the north of this, a low link to a circular baptistery, its tapering walls faced in flint cobbles, and surmounted by an openwork reinforced concrete tripod/fleche from which hangs a single bell.

On the flank elevations, the bay divisions of the nave are expressed externally by slightly recessed concrete verticals. There is continuous glazing in hardwood frames under the box eaves, and on the south side concrete projections in the three central bays, an external expression of internal niches. On the north side, low flat-roofed buildings housing confessionals etc. The east end is a double height space with a gently curving roof. Its north wall is faced with concrete panels, otherwise the facing material is brick. Mainly blank east wall; windows on the west and south sides.

Inside  the  porch  is  a  tablet  recording  the  laying  of  the  foundation  stone  by Archbishop Godfrey. This leads into the broad and low nave, with narrow passage aisles on either side. Tapering reinforced concrete piers and ribs mark the five bays. A passageway off to the right (north) leads to the baptistery, now used as a repository and containing no features of particular note. The continuous clerestory glazing in the aisles has a mixture of clear and pale coloured glass. Below this on the south side, three recesses containing statues. The roof over the nave is a shallow reinforced concrete structure with a lattice pattern of ribs.

The sanctuary area offers  a dramatic contrast in scale,  and  has  a shallow  barrel vaulted ceiling with square concrete panels, running in a north-south direction, encompassing a side chapel on the north side.  Against the east wall there is a long crimson dossal and suspended timber canopy with carved and painted soffit (IHS monogram etc), marking the site of the former high altar. The present forward altar is of stone and fairly small, and belongs to a later re-ordering (as does the similarly- detailed  ambo  and  the  relocated  font,  which  has  an  octagonal  top  with  incised carving, and a tapering base).

The organ (by Lewis and Co. of London) is placed in the southwest corner of the nave. Plain seating. No other furnishings of particular note.

Diocese: Liverpool

Architect: E. Kirby & Sons

Original Date: 1955

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed