Building » Padiham – St Philip the Apostle

Padiham – St Philip the Apostle

Slade Lane, Padiham, Burnley, Lancs BB12

A conventional post-war design by a local surveyor, with some unusual details.

St Philip’s was founded from St John the Baptist, Padiham (qv), in 1953. It was intended to serve the Northtown area of Padiham and the rural communities of Read, Simonstone, and Higham. The land for the new church was given by Edmund Arthur Le Gendre Starkie of Huntroyde. The foundation stone was laid by Canon McEnery on 25 June 1955 and the completed church was opened on 18 December 1955 by the Rt Revd J. Cunningham, Vicar General of Salford Diocese (later Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle). The overall cost was £30,000 and the church was designed by William Robert Cameron Houston FRICS of Padiham. Houston also designed the adjacent presbytery. An organ by Laycock & Bannister of Crosshills was installed.

By 1957, the walls were spreading outwards under the weight of the roof. In order to stabilise the building, buttresses were erected on both sides at a cost of £2,500. By 1966, further structural problems had appeared, as Houston’s successor practice, Houston & Forbes, prepared drawings of the buttress sections showing the amount of movement. The consulting engineers, Sanderson Watts & Partners, were involved in further remedial work.

In 1980, Bishop Holland opened the parish hall, which had cost £58,000. The church was consecrated on 9 October 1993. In 2008, the parish of St Philip merged with the of St John the Baptist, Padiham, and is also served from there.

The church was built in 1955, probably using a steel frame faced in brick, laid in English garden wall bond. The plan is cruciform with a semi-circular apse. The west elevation has a semi-circular porch with three openings and a flat roof with circular glass bricks. Above it are two oblong windows flanking a fibreglass crucifix in a shallow niche. The north and south walls have four steel-frame buttresses clad in brick.

The six-bay interior has a segmentally-curved ceiling on transverse arches on tapering pillars. The narthex below the gallery with the large pipe organ has a glazed timber screen to the nave. The brickwork of the walls and pillars is left unpainted. Four bays to the west have metal-framed windows of three oblong lights. At the northeast is the sacristy. The Lady Chapel opposite is separated from the nave by a glass and timber screen filling two brick arches (originally open). It is also used as the weekday chapel. Its three windows have small Marian emblems in coloured glass. The furnishings are of timber. At the west of the Lady Chapel is a confessional.

On either side of the chancel arch are statues of the Sacred Heart (placed on part of the former pulpit) and the Virgin Mary. The domed apse has circular glass bricks in a radiating pattern. The sanctuary furnishings are modern and of timber. The foundation stone is on the north side of the apse. The church still has the original benches, whose fretwork detail matched the original pulpit and altar rails (removed). The Stations are modern carved reliefs. The nave windows have small ecclesiastical symbols.

Heritage Details

Architect: W. R. C. Houston

Original Date: 1955

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed