Soutmead, Bristol - St Vincent de Paul

Glencoyne Square, Southmead, Bristol BS10

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A plain post-war design, occupying a prominent position in the top corner in the open space of Glencoyne Square and lent townscape value by an elegant bell tower. 

The development of the Southmead estate after the Second World War necessitated a new Mass centre. In 1953 a prominent site in Glencoyne Square was acquired for £900 from the City Corporation. Designs were prepared by Kenneth Nealon ARIBA FRICS and the church was blessed and dedicated by Bishop Rudderham on Low Sunday, 17 April 1955. The builders were C. H. Pearce & Sons. A presbytery was also designed by Nealon but not immediately built, and until 1963 the church was served from Filton. It then became a separate parish, but today is again served from Filton.

The church faces north, but this description assumes conventional liturgical orientation, i.e. as if the altar was to the east.

A small church of 1954-5 in modern basilican style, faced in Fletton brick laid in Flemish bond, with cast stone dressings, Roman pantile roofs to the nave and slates to the aisles. On plan it consists of an aisled nave and sanctuary, with a tower and baptistery at the west end. The brickwork of the curved wall of the baptistery is in header bond. The windows have projecting concrete surrounds, the windows themselves replaced in uPVC. The church exterior is plain, relieved only by the curved wall of the baptistery and by the elegant bell tower, from the large balconied belfry of which hangs an Angelus bell. The flat-roofed porch is supported by two pairs of brick piers, which appear to be later replacements (replacing concrete columns, as provided by the architect at Lawrence Weston, q.v.). The tower, nave gable ends and baptistery roof each have a metal cross, and the stair enclosure to the nave gallery has a shallow niche containing a statue of St Vincent de Paul and a boy.  

The church is entered via a narthex, with stair to the gallery and former baptistery (now sacristy) to the respective north and south sides. Inside the church, the walls are plastered and painted, and the nave is separated from the narrow circulation aisles by polygonal concrete pillars. The gently curved ceiling is faced with square wooden panels. At the time of the visit the original stone altar was being cut down to serve as a forward altar, and the font renovated to take its place in a new position in the church. An original canopy still hangs from the sanctuary ceiling. The nave appears to retain its original seating.

Diocese: Clifton

Architect: Kenneth Nealon

Original Date: 1955

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed