Farmfield Drive, Beechwood, Prenton, Birkenhead, Wirral, Cheshire CH43
A small post-war church which forms an integral element of the local Catholic primary school. Whilst the interior is welcoming and attractive, the building is of limited architectural or historic interest.
The parish was created in 1978 to serve a large overspill housing area on the eastern edge of Birkenhead, now known as Beechwood. Undated plans in the diocesan archive show a scheme for a combined school, community hall, church and presbytery contained within a square single-storey building, designed by Weightman & Bullen. The scheme for the church as built is different, but can be attributed stylistically to the same architects. The school was built first, the church and presbytery were completed in late 1980, and a community room was added in 1982 in the space left between the church, presbytery and school hall.
St Paul’s is now run in conjunction with Our Lady (and Holy Cross), with a single priest.
The church is a small single-storey building clad in red brick with flat roofs of differing heights and tall parapets. Narrow full-height windows punctuate the areas of brickwork and are emphasised by buttresses and cuts in the parapet line. The entrance is marked by a timber-clad bell tower and a vertical fin of brickwork bearing a crucifix.
The worship area is an attractive L-shaped space with two blocks of seating focussed on the sanctuary which is set at an angle. The roof over the sanctuary is raised so as to provide a band of clerestory glazing that casts light onto the altar and tabernacle. Panels of late-nineteenth century stained glass from another church have been incorporated within some of the vertical windows. Simple timber sanctuary furnishings and benches remain in use. Beside the porch is a children’s space with a fully glazed opening to the nave.
Architect: Weightman & Bullen
Original Date: 1980
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed