Building » Derby (Alvaston) – English Martyrs

Derby (Alvaston) – English Martyrs

Hollis Street, Alvaston, Derby DE24

A fairly large mid-twentieth century church in the stripped Romanesque- Byzantine style favoured by its architects, Reynolds & Scott. The building has good qualities of massing but it was not completed to the original design and some alterations detract from the original composition. The vaulted interior and simple unmoulded arches are well-handled and impart a sense of space and dignity. The recent apse and pulpit paintings are of high quality and the recent war memorial is also a notable artefact.

A plot of land was obtained in 1906 and a church was built by 1909. Partial, undated plans signed by C.A. Edeson are held in the diocesan archives. The present church was built in 1951-2 by Reynolds & Scott, contractors Ford & Weston. The projected tower was not completed because of cost and the tower space was closed off by Thorpe Associates in 1986 to save heating costs. The church has been reordered on at least two occasions, the first probably in the 1960s or 70s with the usual sanctuary rearrangements and repositioning of the altar, the second during the 1980s when the pulpit and sanctuary rails were replaced. The presbytery, attached at the northwest end of the building, was added in 1971 and a new parish hall provided in 2004-5. The west end of the church was modified at around the same time, when a large pedimented window in a red brick surround was introduced.


The building is of buff brick with a red brick base. It is executed in a stripped Byzantine style with the base of a crossing tower fitted with a shallow-pitched pyramidal roof. Windows are generally stepped in groups of three. A carved stone war memorial by the mason Mark Stafford is fixed to the exterior south wall towards the west end. It was unveiled in 2010 (UK Inventory of War Memorials ref 60903).

There is a narrow narthex and a west gallery, narrow processional aisles and a vaulted crossing where short transepts are lit by circular windows. The sanctuary is flanked by chapels, of the Sacred Heart (south) and a Lady Chapel (north). The sanctuary has good quality mosaic floors, said to be the work of Italian craftsmen, and the apse is painted with a dramatic tableau on the theme of English Martyrs by Lesly [sic] Holliday, 2008-9. Furnishings are generally simple, and a pulpit is painted with figures of the Evangelists also by Holliday.

Heritage Details

Architect: Reynolds & Scott

Original Date: 1952

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed