Albrighton - St Joseph

Bushfield Road, Albrighton, Shropshire WV7

A functional building of the 1970s, not of special architectural or historic interest.

In the years immediately before, during and after World War II Albrighton’s Catholic community worshipped at the RAF Chaplaincy at Cosford.  From 1959 services were held in the village’s public library.  In the early 1960s the Church of England sold a plot of glebe land on Bushfield Road to a Wolverhampton builder named Geoffrey Maclean.   Donating part of the site to the local Catholic community, Maclean then built housing on the remaining ground.  A dual-purpose wooden hall and church was opened in 1964 but this was destroyed by fire on Christmas Eve 1971. The present church was built from designs by Abbey Hanson Rowe of Shrewsbury and built by Macleans (small works). The church was officially opened on 1 November 1974.

The first major improvements to the church were undertaken in 1996 when its south end was extended to allow for the installation of a kitchen and the expansion of the welcome area.   Further alterations in 2007 saw a disabled WC installed in this southern part of the building and a ramp built to permit wheelchair users to gain direct access to the body of the church from the car park.

The church is served from Shifnal (qv).

The church is of utilitarian form.  The walling is of stretcher bond brickwork, the roof pitches laid with artificial slates and the full wall height windows plain glazed with sheet glass.   The internal walls are of bare brick and within the main body of the church the plane of the pitched ceiling is punctuated by the wood of the rafter soffits and the insulation boards between.

Along the spine of the church interior runs a broad panelled downstand.  Structurally and visually this element ties the entrance to the south with the brick built sanctuary bay.   Externally, the impact of this spinal element has been diminished by the fact that the main roof pitches now rise to meet at a central ridge.  The works to roof over the church’s spinal valley were undertaken c.2000; the valley had proved difficult to maintain and there had been problems with water ingress.

The spaces to the south of the body of the church comprise the central welcome area, the small sacristy to the east of it and - in the equivalent space to the west - the disabled WC and children’s / storage area.  To the south of the disabled WC is a long kitchen area and a further WC.

Within  the  body  of  the  church  the  tone  of  the  architecture  is  reflected  in  the simplicity of the fittings. The altar is brick built with a cementitious mensa. The pews are of pine with open cast-iron ends, of Victorian character.

Diocese: Shrewsbury

Architect: Abbey Hanson Rowe

Original Date: 1974

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed