Building » Manchester (Blackley) – St John Bosco

Manchester (Blackley) – St John Bosco

Charlestown Road, Blackley, Manchester M9 7BD

The church is typical of those in the area designed by Greenhalgh & Williams during the 1950s. This example is more successful than many of the others with a striking and simple interior and unfussy Italianate style exterior. 

Blackley consisted of small settlements until Manchester Corporation began building council housing in the early twentieth century. The parish was erected in 1940 in response to expansion in the area. The former Fourways Cinema was used to celebrate Mass until a church/church hall was formed in a temporary building designed as a sports pavilion. The present church and presbytery were built in 1958-9 from designs by Greenhalgh & Williams, with the earlier building retained as a parish hall.  The cost was £64,000. Bishop Beck laid the foundation stone on 30 August 1958 and the completed church was opened on 26 January 1960.

The sanctuary was reordered in 1965, moving the altar but keeping the original Crucifix on the east wall. The church was consecrated in 1974. The stained glass of the sanctuary was installed in 1977.


All orientations given are liturgical. The church is typical of those designed during the 1950s and 60s by Greenhalgh & Williams, consisting of a steel-frame faced in pale brick.  There is a nave with integral aisles, low north former baptistery and chapels and northwest tower. The style is broadly speaking Italianate, the tower with a hipped roof and lancet bell-openings.  There is a statue of St John Bosco over the entrance in the north face of the tower. The interior is simple and striking, with low processional aisles with circular top-lights, unmoulded semi-circular arcades, a simple chancel arch and continuous clerestory. The sanctuary is lit on both sides by full-height windows with an ambitious scheme of glass on the theme of the Evangelists, probably by Charles Lightfoot who did the glass in the baptistery (now a chapel) depicting the Baptism of Christ. The design was used again at the Immaculate Conception Failsworth (qv).  A window in the narthex by Design Lights was installed in 2003.

Heritage Details

Architect: Greenhalgh & Williams

Original Date: 1959

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed