Southport - St Joseph

York Road, Birkdale, Southport PR8

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A small church by E.W. Pugin with strongly modelled features, good detailing and a good interior. The building has charm and character imparted by the proportions and skilful use of contrasting materials, in particular the blue brick banding, and in the strong modelling of the west front.   The vertical emphasis given by the buttresses here is a typical E.W. Pugin motif. Church and presbytery form a good group.

The list description (below) is accurate in most respects, but does not describe the interior. Attention should also be drawn to the south aisle, which is an addition of 1875 in Perpendicular style.

The interior has a west gallery of pitch pine supported by sturdy beams with braces. The organ pipes are arranged to frame the west wheel window.   Richly moulded corbels support an arch-braced roof. Chancel arch with detached demi-shafts springing from angel corbels. The shafts have richly foliated caps. Similarly foliated corbels  in  the  chancel  support  stone  ribs.  The  east  window  is  framed  by  a semicircular arch springing from attached shafts with foliated caps. Elements of the stonework  have  been  discreetly  gilded.  Plain  reredos  with  cornice  and  traceried central canopy, simple forward altar. Stained glass in the east window only, probably third quarter of the 19th century, probably by Hardman.  A painted rood hangs from the chancel arch. The south aisle has an arcade of octagonal shafts of red sandstone of Perpendicular character. Elaborate carved stone altar and reredos at the east end of the aisle incorporates shafts of coloured stone, a central carved stone canopy and an icon of the Virgin and Child.

LIST DESCRIPTION:

Roman Catholic church. 1865-7, slightly altered. By Edward Welby Pugin. Red brick in English garden wall bond with blue brick bands, sandstone dressings, steeply- pitched slate roof with west bellcote.

STYLE: early English.

PLAN: nave with chancel, south aisle and west narthex.

EXTERIOR: the 6-bay nave has buttresses and one narrow lancet in each bay. The west gable has buttresses projected at ground floor level to form the sides of a lean-to narthex which has a 2-centred arched west doorway approached by 3 steps and flanked by small rectangular windows, the doorway with elaborately-moulded surround, a hoodmould and a steeply-pitched gable breaking the parapet, and the windows deeply-recessed with sloped sills and hoodmoulds. Large wheel-window above the narthex, and an elaborate bellcote of 2 very steeply-pitched stages surmounted by a finial. The chancel has a traceried circular east window, 3 lancets and a chequered frieze.

Diocese: Liverpool

Architect: E. W. Pugin

Original Date: 1865

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II