Whalley New Road, Blackburn, Lancs BB1
A modest suburban church of the late 1950s, the original design simplified to save on costs, and subsequently altered. There are some furnishings of note.
The parish was erected in 1924, the congregation worshipping from 1925 in a temporary church next door to Blackburn General Cemetery. Before the war a more convenient site was acquired on Whalley New Road, but the onset of war and post-war stringencies meant that it was not until the mid-1950s that plans for a new church and presbytery were drawn up and approved. The site was wide but not deep, and rose quite steeply towards the back, so the church was built parallel to the road. It was built from designs by Philip B. Beard ARIBA of Wakefield, to seat 440. The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Beck on 26 April 1958, and the church was opened by the bishop in July 1959. Heavy expenditure on the foundations meant that the design had to be modified, and the projecting low tower was not built; instead a screen wall with three bell openings was built (visible in the photograph top left, but removed in recent years). Construction of the presbytery was also delayed, being completed in 1966 to a new design by Walter Stirrup & Son, Blackburn. More recently, a church hall has been built.
The church is not oriented; this description follows liturgical convention, i.e. as if the altar was to the east.
The church is long and thin on plan, and consists of a wide aisleless nave with lean-to south porch at the west end and lean-to sacristies giving off the chancel at the east end; these are raised over an additional space at basement level. A screen wall designed to house three bells was originally placed at the junction of the nave and sanctuary but has been removed in recent years. A former baptistery projection at the west end, giving off the porch, is now a piety shop. The church is built of sand faced buff facing bricks, with a slate roof. The windows and doors have cast stone surrounds, and the windows have been replaced in UPVC. A circular window lights the west end of the nave (now internally obscured by the organ).
Inside, the church is architecturally simple, with white finishes and a shallow pitched roof with ceiling tiles. The liturgical furniture is of white polished marble, and appears to belong to a post-Vatican II reordering. The polished mahogany pews are original to the church. There are modern sculptures of St Joseph with the Christ Child (in the church) and a crucifixion group (mounted on the presbytery wall). Older furnishings of note include the opus sectile and mosaic Stations of the Cross , presumably brought from the old church, and a small nineteenth century pipe organ, provenance unknown.
Architect: Philip B. Beard
Original Date: 1959
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed