Fenella Avenue, Willaston, Isle of Man
An extensive programme of house building following the Second World War took place on the edges of Douglas. The Willaston estate on the northern outskirts dates from this period. In 1953 Monsignor Turner purchased a site on the estate for a church, and plans for a church, hall, club room and presbytery were entrusted to S.F. O’Hanlon. The project was phased, with the hall being built first, so that it could double as both hall and temporary church, with a folding screen placed across the sanctuary to permit dual use. The presbytery followed, and was opened in 1954. The church was to have been built on land behind the presbytery, but the plan was abandoned, and the hall has continued to serve as the church, with the club room being used as the parish centre. The presbytery has been leased, and the remaining land sold for private housing.
The church is built of Ruabon rustic brick with a Westmorland slate roof. It has the external appearance of a parish hall or community centre. Inside, there is a narthex with a small choir gallery above, and a rectangular worship space, with the sanctuary occupying the original raised stage at the (ritual) east end.
In 1996 the sanctuary was truncated to form a children’s’ area at the rear, and the floor level of the original stage was lowered. Stairs to either side lead up to the parish rooms. The pews are from the demolished church of Sacred Heart, Pulrose, and the Stations of the Cross were designed and made by E. Carrard of Liverpool. The sanctuary furnishings are recent.
Architect: F. O’Hanlon
Original Date: 1954
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed