Manchester - St Anthony of Padua

Eleventh Street, Trafford Park, Manchester M17

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Although largely rebuilt, the church is a potent reminder of the past and of Catholic heritage in Trafford Park, where it survives in a small group of buildings formerly part of a workers’ settlement. Some of the furnishings and stained glass may have originated at Trafford Hall or with the de Trafford family. The church closed for regular worship in 2009. 

Trafford Park was part of the estate of the Catholic de Trafford family, sold in 1897 as the area became industrialised with the advent of the Manchester Ship Canal.  It was bought and developed as an industrial estate, the first of its type in the world.  The huge works and warehouses established there included the British Westinghouse Electric Co., which built a village for its workers on streets laid out in a grid with numbers instead of names.  Five hundred houses had been built by 1903. This area became the focus of a Catholic mission, started when James William Thomson hired rooms on Eleventh Street. In 1903 a corrugated iron church or ‘tin tabernacle’ opened for worship.  A school was built opposite, but plans to replace the church with a more substantial structure were never realised.

Industrial decline set in during the 1960s and there have been successive schemes for regeneration of Trafford Park from the late twentieth century.  The housing in the immediate area was largely demolished and as a result the area lost its population, leaving a partial street grid, a row of shops and a former pub, known as The Village. The school closed and the parish was adapted to serve as an industrial chaplaincy. The church was partially rebuilt and extensively refurbished in 1994 when a new steel frame was introduced, the corrugated iron cladding replaced, and a new roof of artificial slates provided.  The Centre for Church and Industry which had started in 1979 moved into the school building in 1982. The church was closed for regular worship in 2009 but is still used occasionally. 

All orientations given are liturgical. The structure of the church dates largely from the 1994 rebuilding, which is the date of the steel frame, corrugated iron cladding and roof tiles. The building consists essentially of a nave with west entrance and bellcote over, chancel, and small southeast sacristy.

The internal furnishings include a timber reredos, forward altar and lectern. There is also bench seating and all the furnishings are said to come from elsewhere, by tradition including items from the de Trafford residence, which was not demolished until 1939. Stained glass in the west windows seems to be of mid- or later twentieth century date. Some apparently older glass on the southeast side includes a window showing St Anne and St Francis of better quality and possibly late nineteenth or early twentieth century date, and a pair in the sanctuary, now faded, with nativity scenes and praying donors, possibly representing the de Traffords, kneeling below. The latter seem to be the most likely candidates for having originated in Trafford Hall.

Diocese: Salford

Architect: None

Original Date: 1903

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed