Building » Manor, Sheffield – St Theresa of the Child Jesus

Manor, Sheffield – St Theresa of the Child Jesus

Prince of Wales Road, Manor, Sheffield, S2

During the 1920s Sheffield Corporation initiated a number of housing programmes, including the Manor estate on the southeast side of the city. This was developed on 470 acres purchased from the Duke of Norfolk in 1919. The estate lay close to the parishes of St Marie, St Wilfrid, St Charles and St Joseph. Canon Dolan founded a new parish dedicated to St Theresa, said to be the first such dedication in the north of England. In 1925, Mass was said in an old army hut and from 1927 in a local council school, an interim arrangement pending the construction of a permanent church and school to serve the estate. Canon Dolan secured funding and land was purchased from the council for £2,000 to firstly construct the school. This opened in October 1929, and Mass was said in the school hall until under the Rev. George Grogan a separate temporary church was built, opening in 1938.

World War II and its aftermath brought a halt to church building, and the construction of a permanent church had to wait until 1958, under the Rev. Denis McGillicuddy. The  church is an early design by John Rochford, built by Messrs D. O’Neill & Son. It is a large building, seating 700, in modern Byzantine style, with sculptural work by Philip Lindsey Clark and his son Michael Clark. The foundation stone was blessed by Bishop Dwyer on 29 June 1958, who returned to open and bless the completed church on 6 July 1960. The final cost was £50,000, including fittings and furnishings. The temporary church of 1938 became the parish hall.

The church was consecrated by Bishop Wheeler of Leeds on 3 October 1967.

The church is in a modern Byzantine style and was built to the designs of John Rochford in 1958-60. It is built to a traditional longitudinal plan, with a wide aisled nave with confessionals and side chapels, apsidal sanctuary and west tower containing a porch, choir gallery and organ. It has a reinforced concrete frame, externally clad with brick and stone, with artificial stone dressings and copper and felt covered roofs.

The principal entrance is within a central stone-clad cylindrical tower, with a statue of St Theresa above the doorway by Philip Lindsey Clark, and clerestory windows above. Flanking either side of the tower are a pair of large two-light windows and smaller single-light windows. The north and south sides of the brick-clad nave each have seven concrete segmental-vaulted bays with a tall lancet window, and a tripartite window to the sanctuary. The low aisles are faced in stone and replicate the transverse vaulting of the nave. A circular baptistery with a copper domed roof projects to the southwest, and the parish hall is located to the north. The apsidal sanctuary is extended above roof level in the form of a circular tower incorporating twelve panels with low-relief carvings of the Apostles, with a domed copper roof above. The carvings are by Alan Rochford, brother of the architect, and his wife Sylvia, both lecturers at Nuneaton College of Art (information from Anthony Tranmer, pers. comm.) 

The interior is a large volume, making use of modern materials including reinforced concrete. The seven-bay nave has a segmental-headed arcade on cylindrical piers. The nave ceiling has transverse segmental vaulting, finished in plaster with concrete expressed beams. The low brick aisles, also vaulted, contain built-in confessionals and store rooms. The circular baptistery projects to the southwest and is now used for storage; it has a radiating circular pattern on the ceiling. The floor finishes vary from brown and white tiling in the north aisle, blue and white tiling in the south aisle, black and white tiling with a star motif to the central nave alley and a plain tiles under the pews. The west choir gallery has a plain balustrade and a pipe organ by J. W. Walker and Son, dating from 1960. Above it, the circular cantilevered stair up to the tower is dramatically exposed. At the east end, a semi-circular arch leads to the tall domed and apsidal sanctuary, which is lit by clerestory windows. The chapel of St Theresa (north) and Sacred Heart chapel (south) are separated from the sanctuary by wrought iron screens. The sanctuary is raised by four steps with a further step to the stone tabernacle stand; its floor is carpeted. The stone altar has been brought forward. A statue of Christ the King by Michael Clark is placed in front of a curtained reredos, with a canopy above. Other furnishings of note include the Stations of the Cross, consisting of square panels in low relief by Philip Lindsey Clark (photo bottom right at top of the report), and wooden statues of the Virgin and Child, St Theresa, the Sacred Heart and St Joseph (figure 2), carved by Philip Lindsey Clark and painted by Michael Clark.

Heritage Details

Architect: John Rochford

Original Date: 1960

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed