Pakington Street, Bradford, West Yorkshire
A good mainstream Gothic Revival church of the late Victorian period by a noted local architect and with an overlay of distinctive and high quality 1930s alterations.
St Joseph’s School, Grafton Street was opened in 1868 and the school chapel was used for saying Mass. St Joseph’s became a parish in 1881 and the permanent parish church, designed by Edward Simpson (prolific Roman Catholic architect of Bradford), was opened on 14 September 1887. Consecration (when the debt was cleared) took place forty years later on 14 September 1937. The cost of the church was reported in The Bradford Observer of 15 September 1887 as ‘about £7,000’. Internal alterations were made in the 1930s by J. H. Langtry-Langton and his son Peter Langtry-Langton altered the church in 1964.
The list description (below) is broadly accurate. It fails to mention the presbytery which is attached and a part of the composition of the group probably designed and erected together. There is a typing error in the references to mandala which should read mandorla for the almond-shaped windows. The description of the reredos also seems confused. It consists of five statues under canopies. Above is a later canopy or baldacchino. The three side chapels (Sacred Heart and St Patrick to the left of the sanctuary and the former Lady Chapel to the right of the sanctuary, behind the organ) had striking and characteristic marble altars, reredos and communion rails designed by Jack Langtry-Langton in the 1930s. The Lady Chapel was converted into a meeting room in the 1970s with the insertion of a false ceiling and removal of Langtry-Langton’s altar etc. The marble facing is in store. It is intended to reconvert the meeting room into a Lady Chapel but sadly it is not considered feasible to reinstate the altar. The main double communion rails to the sanctuary are also part of the Langtry-Langton phase of work. The designs, whilst entirely appropriate, do have a stylistic hint of 1930s art deco or moderne design. Late Victorian stained glass in the main windows at either end, unattributed. The substantial marble font with inlay reliefs has been moved from the original baptistery into the nave.
Roman Catholic Church. 1885-87, designed by Edward Simpson, altered c. 1935-37 and extended 1964 by J H Langtry-Langton. Coursed stone with ashlar dressings and slate roofs. Gothic Revival style. Nave and chancel under a single roof, aisles and double transepts. West front has single storey lean-to porch added 1964 with triangular headed central doorway flanked by single 3-light mullion windows. West gable has broad central lancet window with cusped lower tracery and flanking shafts topped with carved figure under canopies, which stand either side of a central crucifixion. Flanking lower and narrower lancet also have cusped tracery. The north aisle ends, to west, in a half-octagonal baptistery, which has a gable to each face over a circular window each with six tracery cusps, and below two square openings each containing a quatrefoil. South aisle ends in original porch, which would have formed the base of a tower, with pointed arched entrance doorway. Nave has 3 pairs of
clerestory windows on either side, and no aisle windows below. Each window is made up of two plain lancets and a linking quatrefoil. Double transepts also have similar 2- light windows with lower tracery and a linking upper mandala or vesica. Chancel has 3 lancet windows to north and 2 to the south. East end has large central pointed arched window with 2-lights and a linking mandala.
INTERIOR has tall and broad chancel arch. Nave has two double chamfered and pointed arched arcades supported on octagonal piers to south and a similar 3 arched arcade to north. Shallow and low western arch to porch. Transepts have tall double-arched arcades. Fine quality decorative timber roofs to nave, chancel and aisles. Large painted ‘stations of the cross’ adorn the upper sections of the aisle walls. Original organ, wooden pews and carved stone reredos with 5 figures under a later carved wooden canopy. Floors, communion rail, and choir stalls all replaced 1937 to mark the building’s Golden Jubilee. Figures of saints under canopies. The three side chapels have marble altars added 1937. This fine quality Gothic Revival style Victorian church survives well, with very interesting and high quality later alterations and additions.
Architect: Edward Simpson (altered by J. H. Langtry-Langton)
Original Date: 1885
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: II