Wilmer Road, Bradford 9
A good example of a Victorian suburban church, which contributes positively to the street scene and is notable for its devotional carvings by Eric Gill.
The suburb of Manningham developed on the northern edge of Bradford’s centre around the vast Italianate silk mills built by the Lister family in 1873. A school-chapel was built by Canon Scruton in 1878 on Beamsley Street, served from St Patrick’s. St Cuthbert’s became a separate mission in 1882. Fr John Slattery engaged W. H. and J. E. Marten to build a new church and the foundation stone was laid by Bishop Gordon in 1890. The masons were Joseph North. The church and presbytery were built as part of a complex that included schoolrooms to the north of the church. The latter were demolished in 1960 and replaced with the present parish hall, renovated in 1980 by Langtry-Langton architects. The sanctuary was reordered by Langtry-Langton in 1970. Fr Cronin arranged for the lining of the nave roof, the plastering of the sanctuary ceiling and the refitting of the sacristy in 1975.
See the attached list description. This misspells the architect’s name as Martin. The church is notable for the fine collection of Eric Gill devotional sculpture, 1921-24, commissioned by Fr John O’Connor (parish priest 1919-1952 and a close friend of Gill). In addition to the Stations of the Cross, similar to the earlier set in Westminster Cathedral, Gill created the tall bas relief panel of St Anthony of Padua, set in the wall close to the baptistery, and the pair of statues of Our Lady and St Joseph and the infant Jesus which flank the chancel steps (not all referred to in the list description). The Stations were carved after drawings by Desmond Chute, on square panels of fine limestone (Beer) and were originally painted in tempera. Other fittings not mentioned in the list description are the 1930s abstract stained glass windows in the aisles by Leonard Walker and a set of good Gothic-style memorial windows in the apsed sanctuary to the local Fattorini family (dated between 1872 and 1909).
List description (church and presbytery)
Roman catholic church and attached presbytery. 1890-92, with minor later alterations. Designed by W H & J H Martin. Coursed rubble stone with ashlar dressings and Welsh slate roofs with terracotta ridge tiles. Coped gables with kneelers and cross finials. Church has nave and chancel under single roof, Galilee porch with octagonal baptistery to left. Aisles and octagonal apse to chancel. Chamfered plinth. Ritual west front has lean-to Galilee porch with central pointed arched doorway with double plank doors and carved angel imposts. Doorway flanked by single lancets in broader brick pointed arches, to right a gabled buttress and beyond a graduated triple lancet window in a broader pointed brick arch and beyond a further buttress. To left an octagonal baptistery with a 2-light pointed arch window to each face. Above and behind west front has large 4-light window with cusped tracery in broader pointed brick arch. Either side are single octagonal turrets each topped with short stone spires. Aisles have small chamfered lancets. Clerestory has 5 graduated triple lancets in broader pointed brick arches to each side. Octagonal turret with bellcote marks the junction between nave and chancel. Chancel has single 3-light pointed arch window, and apse has 3 very tall lancets.
INTERIOR has coloured marble columns to pointed arch arcades with ornate carved capitals. Chancel arch supported on short corbelled columns. Chancel has 2 blind pointed arches either side of the centre, tall eastern lancets have columned surrounds, triple arched sedilia and carved stone altar. Carved altar rail and octagonal pulpit. Painted and boarded wooden roofs. Original wooden pews. Original painted and stencilled decoration now painted over. Eric Gill designed and carved a set of Stations of the Cross for the father John O’Connor 1920-24, he also carved the statue of the Virgin and Child which stands to the left of the chancel arch. Presbytery to north-west, linked to church by corridor, 2 storey plus basement and attic. Quoins. Street front has off-centre doorway to left reached up flight of 8 stone steps. Pointed arch doorway has single marble columns to either jamb and double panelled and part glazed doors, plus lean-to plain tile porch roof supported on curved wooden brackets. To left 2 storey canted bay window turns the corner and links with the church. Above doorway a cross casement window, and to right a slightly projecting gable with 3-light canted bay window and stone parapet, above a 3-light cross casement and a tiny window in the gable. Rendered right return has central doorway and various irregularly sited cross casement windows.
Listing NGR: SE1451235119
Amended by AHP 17.01.2021
Architect: W. H. & J. E. Marten
Original Date: 1891
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Grade II