Hollinwood - Holy Rosary

Fir Tree Avenue, Fitton Hill, Oldham OL8

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A modest 1950s church built to serve a post-war estate, arranged conventionally.  The long and simple interior has some noteworthy fittings.  

The first mission in the Fitton Hill, a post-war housing estate, was due to the work of Fr Buckley, an assistant priest at St Patrick‚Äôs Oldham. He arranged for the purchase of land in the Fitton Hill area in 1940, before the new housing was built. Once the estate had begun to be developed, Fr Buckley said Mass in an upper room in Maple Mill. The foundation stone of Holy Rosary was laid by Bishop Marshall on 2 October 1954 and the church was officially opened by Mgr Cunningham in July 1955.  The presbytery was built in about 1970. The first campanile blew down and had to be rebuilt.  In 2009, the parishes of Holy Family and Holy Rosary were merged.

The church is orientated with the sanctuary approximately to the south, and in this description, conventional compass points will be used.


The eight-bay church is constructed with loadbearing walls faced in buff brick, with raking brick buttresses to express the bays.  The nave, sanctuary and sacristies are under one pitched roof with low eaves, laid with concrete tiles.  Rainwater goods are plastic.  The nave is lit by steel horizontal windows at eaves level, the sanctuary by a gabled dormer window from the north and the west end by a tall central window.  The church is arranged with the main entrance to the southwest corner, where a flat canopy connects the building to a brick campanile with a gabled top.  The southeast corner of the church is connected to the presbytery by a link block.

Inside, the low seven-bay nave has fair-faced brick to the walls which are articulated by flush pilasters. The steel roof trusses are expressed as fins below the soffit of the roof, lined with boarded panels. The nave floor is laid with quarry tiles, with hardwood pews.  The east and west walls of the nave are fair-faced brick wall with segmental-headed openings to the sanctuary, Lady Chapel, former west baptistery and inner porch. There is no gallery. The sanctuary has been reordered with a new forward altar and the slate altar platform floor painted. Mural paintings to the east wall shown in Figure 1 have been overpainted, but the central mosaic of the Crucifixion is an original feature, by Mayer Marton of Liverpool. The former baptistery has mid-twentieth century stained glass windows of fairly good quality.

Diocese: Salford

Architect: W. and J. B. Ellis

Original Date: 1955

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed