Dinnington - St Joseph

Swinston Hill Road, Dinnington, Sheffield, S25

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An early twentieth century red brick church in Lombard Romanesque style, built for a mining community and significantly enlarged in the 1950s. The church makes a positive contribution to the local streetscape.  

The population of Dinnington expanded around the turn of the twentieth century, with the sinking of shafts for the colliery in 1902. New housing estates were built, along with recreational facilities including the Miners’ Welfare Institute and recreation ground. In 1909 a Mass centre was opened, served from Oldcotes and Maltby. Mass was said in Tin Town, the first area of mining housing, in one of the Nissen huts. In 1912, the Rev. Henry Angenent was appointed as first priest to the mission, and led plans for a permanent church. The present church was built to the designs of H. Blenkinsop and F. Scatchardand opened in 1915, when the parish was founded. It was blessed by Bishop Cowgill of Leeds in 1917.

After the Second World War housing expansion continued and to accommodate the growing Catholic congregation the church was extended to the west in 1956. Historic photographs suggest that the sanctuary was also reordered and simplified at this time. 

Following a fire in 1981 St Joseph’s was again reordered. By 1989, a single-storey extension had been built to the north to provide parish rooms and ancillary facilities. More recently stained glass was installed at the west end and on the south side of the nave.

For the purposes of this report liturgical orientation will be used i.e. the sanctuary is referred to as the east end.

The original church was built to the designs of H. Blenkinsop & F. Scatchard in 1915, and considerably enlarged to the west in 1956 (architect not established). It is faced in red brick laid in English bond, with red terracotta details in the early work and a Welsh slate roof. The plan consists of a nave and sanctuary under one roof with sacristy and confessionals. The original work is in Lombard Romanesque style, the post-war work forming a plainer counterpoint.

The gabled west end is dominated by a single window in a wide Tudor-arched opening. To its north is a brick addition of 1989, with slate-hung gable. The south side of the nave is of three bays defined by recessed brick panels, each with a semi-circular headed window, followed by a two-bay projection under a catslide roof containing confessionals, with shorter single-light windows in recessed panels. The north side has three rectangular single-light windows, and three pairs with segmental brick heads. The two-bay sanctuary belongs to the original work, with richer terracotta and brick details, including a Lombard frieze, moulded cornice and semi-circular headed Romanesque-style windows with billet and roll mouldings and responds in terracotta. The east gable end has a moulded terracotta rose window and below this a horizontal band with seven blind quatrefoils above a blind arcade.

Inside, the nave walls are plastered and plainly painted, the flooring is carpeted and the bay divisions of the nave are marked by the concrete frame. The most prominent feature is a wide semi-circular arch with plastered solid spandrels marking the third bay division. Beyond this, to the south side a pair of arched openings lead to the confessionals. A semi-circular sanctuary arch frames the barrel-vaulted ceiling of the sanctuary, all dating from 1915. The arch is flanked by matching niches containing statues of Our Lady and St Joseph, with a frieze and cornice to the wall. The sanctuary is raised by three steps and the tabernacle stand is up two further steps. The main feature of the east wall is the decorative rose window. The forward altar and pews are modern, of pine. The Stations of the Cross are in high relief. The font is placed centrally at the west end, behind which the large window has a cross and the dove of the Holy Spirit in a roundel over a fishy, watery scene.  

Diocese: Hallam

Architect: H. Blenkinsop & F. Scatchard (1915 work)

Original Date: 1915

Conservation Area: No

Modifications: 1956

Listed Grade: Not listed