Birstall - St Patrick

Low Lane, Birstall, Batley, West Yorkshire

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A typical  church of the late 1960s, the exterior given interest by  the variety of wall-planes and coloured facing materials.

By the end of the 19th century there were some twenty mills in Birstall producing cloth and shoddy and the population of the area was growing steadily. Birstall was a Mass centre from 1876. The first parish priest was appointed in 1905 and the foundation stone of a new church, school and presbytery building was laid in May 1908.   The architects for the work were Edward Simpson & Son of Bradford.   The church was in a stripped-down version of the Gothic style, faced with stone. The sloping site allowed school rooms to be constructed below the nave of the church. The presbytery was attached to the northeast corner of the building, fronting Low Lane, producing a faintly expressionist composition.

The 1908 building continued in use until 1969, when it was replaced by a new church with presbytery attached on a nearby site. The new building was designed by Messrs Chambers & Blythe of Shipley in a modern style, but several of the fittings from the old church were incorporated into the new building.  The old church was retained in use as the church hall.

A substantial church in the modern style of the late 1960s, semi-octagonal on plan. The main walls are faced in red brick laid in stretcher bond, with a stone-faced forebuilding.  The principal front to Low Lane has a tall central upstand of red and grey brick flanked by long canted walls with simple rectangular window openings and a down sloping roofline. The centre of the front is filled with a flat-roofed stone-faced forebuilding containing the main entrance and linked by an open covered way on the south side to the contemporary presbytery, which has facings of grey brick and stone.

The interior has not been inspected but published views shows it to be an open unobstructed space with simple plastered walls and bench seating.   Some fittings from the earlier church, including some stained glass and an altar frontal, were re- used in the Blessed Sacrament chapel of the new church.

Diocese: Leeds

Architect: Chambers & Blythe of Shipley (earlier church by Edward Simpson)

Original Date: 1970

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed