Bradford - Immaculate Conception

Leeds Road, Idle, Bradford, West Yorkshire

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A simple building with a calm devotional atmosphere inside but of no great architectural or townscape importance.

In 1932 Mass was said in Idle at the Cooperative Hall. The Thorpe Edge housing estate was developed during the 1950s and Dale House and adjoining land at the junction of Apperley Lane and Leeds Road was purchased by the Catholic Church. Immaculate Conception became a parish in 1955 and Dale House was used as church and presbytery. Work began on the present church, designed by R. A. Ronchetti, in 1959 and the church was opened on 1 July 1960. The contractor is understood to have been Messrs P. Kiernan of Leeds and the original budget of £16,000 was exceeded by about £4,000. There was seating for 278 plus 22 in the choir gallery. The sanctuary was altered around 1979.

Idle was a small village north of Bradford which expanded in the Victorian period, with a railway station and cotton mills. In the second half of the 20th century Idle was engulfed by suburban development and it is now part of the wider suburbs of Bradford. Church and presbytery occupy a large plot of land at the junction of Leeds Road and Apperley Road and with The George pub opposite there is still a hint of the former village, although the historic village centre was further west. The church has a large tarmac car park and is surrounded by grassed areas and mature trees. A stone wall encloses the churchyard on two sides, partly a retaining wall as the land rises away from the road.

The church has the altar facing roughly southwest but in this section all references will be to conventional orientation, i.e. as if the altar faced east.

The church comprises a nave and sanctuary and a narrower western narthex, all under one pitched roof with coped gables at either end. The sacristy forms part of a link corridor to the attached single-storey presbytery. Coursed rock-faced sandstone walls and a natural slate roof. Windows are all single lancets with segment-arched heads. The narthex is narrower than the nave allowing just enough space for a single lancet west window to either side and a piece of walling rising to a parapet. The narthex has smaller windows and one taller window on the south side lighting the gallery staircase. The west front has a flight of steps up to a plain entrance with Classical moulded architrave. There is a foundation stone in the wall to the left and an attractive statue of the Virgin and Child on a corbel above. Triplet of higher level windows and a cross on the gable.

The interior is dominated by the cranked beams of the laminated timber portal frame, open to the apex. No architectural division between the nave and sanctuary, but the roof of the latter is painted blue rather than the red of the nave. The east wall has a moulded frame, triangular headed, which relates to the area of the altar platform. Crucifix set into the apex. Painted icons on either side, made at Walsingham in 2005. The altar is plain with engaged columns at the corners with cushion capitals. Wooden plinth against the east wall for the tabernacle and candlesticks.

Heavy tapering octagonal stone font to the left of the sanctuary. Open-backed pews of the time of the church. The entrance from the narthex projects slightly, supporting a gallery above under a plain Gothic arch. The light fittings appear to be of around 1960.

Diocese: Leeds

Architect: A. Ronchetti

Original Date: 1960

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed