Manchester - St Alphonsus

Ayres Road, Old Trafford, Manchester M16

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A good late Gothic Revival design of hall church character, by architects better known for their Byzantine and Early Christian church designs. The interior is dignified and well proportioned, with processional aisles, an open timber roof, and good glass in the west window. However, several major fittings were lost in post-Vatican II reordering. 

The part of Old Trafford known as Brooks Bar is a largely residential area with housing and churches mainly of late nineteenth and early twentieth century date. A school-chapel was built in 1903-4 to designs by Oswald Hill on land given by Sir Humphrey de Trafford. The presbytery, which incorporates a cross in the mouldings over the doorway, could be of similar date by the same architect. A new church was built in 1936 and the school chapel retained as a parish hall, in which use it remains.  A drawing in the Diocesan Archive

Archive photographs show a rood with Crucifix hanging from the sanctuary arch, which has been removed at some point. The sanctuary has also been reordered, with loss of the altar rails and high altar. A forward altar of marble was substituted.  At this or another time the northwest baptistery was turned into a chapel, and glazed partitions introduced, keeping the original ironwork gates.

Photographs in the Diocesan Archive dated 2004 show that the area above the reredos, which has a Crucifix attached to the wall, has been covered with gold mosaic since that time. 

shows the building in what appears to be a proposal sketch signed E. Bower Norris, who was in partnership with F. Maurice Reynolds from the mid-1930s until 1946.

All orientations given are liturgical. The church is of brick laid in Flemish bond with stone dressings and windows with tracery of Decorated type.  The west end has a central entrance surmounted by a statue of St Alphonsus and above it a large three-light traceried window. The building has shallow transepts and narrow processional aisles. Inside there is a narthex pierced by three arched openings with a west gallery above. On the north side of the narthex, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel was formerly the baptistery and retains stained glass with a baptismal scene.  A font with clustered columns, now in the chancel, may be the original.  There is an open timber roof and arcades are of stone, or possibly of concrete faced in stone, with transverse arches to the aisles, which are of equal height (giving the effect of a hall church). Side chapels have ironwork screens towards the sanctuary; their altars and reredoses have been painted, but are probably original. Stained glass is generally sparing and includes a good window depicting the Virgin and Child at the west end. 

Diocese: Salford

Architect: Norris & Reynolds

Original Date: 1936

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed