St Rochdale - Gabriel and the Angels

Smalley Street, Castleton, Rochdale OL11

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A simple early twentieth century structure originally built as a cinema and adapted as a church in the early 1950s.  The building is of some historic interest, not least for its early use, but is of little architectural significance.

The parish originated in a mission from St John Rochdale which was established in 1879.  A school/chapel was built in 1884 near the Manchester Road (figure 1). An attached presbytery followed in 1894.  By the late 1940s the old accommodation was becoming inadequate and in 1951 the former Princess Cinema in Smalley Street was acquired for use as a replacement church.  A new presbytery was built alongside it in 1953. In 1978 a narthex was added to the church, from designs by Greenhalgh & Williams. 

The church is a very simple building, rectangular on plan with a pitched roof overall.  The walls are faced with red brick laid in Flemish bond, the roof is covered with Welsh slate.  The east end elevation to Smalley Street has a round-headed central window with rectangular sash windows on each side.  The side elevation to Milne Street has four segment-headed window openings with metal windows.  The west end elevation has a modern brick narthex placed off centre.

Internally the original cinema function of the building is clear from the raked floor of the main space, although the seating is timber benches which are clearly ecclesiastical in character. The walls are plain plastered, the windows clear glazed and the ceiling is plain boarded below the braced collars of the timber roof.  A recess for the sanctuary has been formed in the centre of the east wall, in the location of the original cinema screen.  Behind the modern altar on the east wall is a crucifix with a canopy.

Diocese: Salford

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1900

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed