Building » Cadishead – Sacred Heart

Cadishead – Sacred Heart

Lords Street, Cadishead, Salford M44

A little-altered example of a mid-twentieth century church, and probably the first commission to be completed by Desmond Williams’s own practice. The use of bold geometrical forms combined with more traditional motifs, such as the pointed windows, is typical of the date. 

Cadishead grew up along the Manchester to Liverpool Road and expanded as the area became industrialised with the advent of the railway and of the Manchester Ship Canal.  The spread of post-war housing estates prompted the building of the church in the area. Designs were prepared by Arthur Farebrother & Partners in 1960 but the building, finished to the same design, is credited to Desmond Williams & Associates in the Catholic Building Review. Williams had been with the Farebrother firm, where he was responsible for the design of St Mary, Langho (qv), which has many similarities with this design. Sacred Heart was completed after he had started his own practice, and was opened by Bishop Beck in April 1962.


All orientations given are liturgical. The building is constructed of loadbearing brick walls with reinforced concrete portal frames and a pantile roof.  It consists of a western entrance block with a narthex beneath a gallery fronting a slightly taller nave and sanctuary. A giant near-parabolic arch dominates the west end, with inset glazing and panelling. On the south side there is a projecting former baptistery towards the west end, confessionals, and a Lady Chapel towards the east end.  A projecting porch on the north side balances the baptistery, opposite.  The east end of the church is windowless, and there is a small cupola with a slender copper spire marking the division between nave and sanctuary. Windows are generally lancets with pointed heads.

Inside, the narthex has stairs leading up to the gallery on one side. The portal frame is exposed, and there is a brick arch to the sanctuary echoing that of the west end. The Lady Chapel is very simply appointed, with a hardwood altar. The baptistery has ironwork gates, but the font has been removed and replaced with another font in the body of the church. Most other furnishings appear to be original, including, unusually, altar rails with mosaic work and wrought-iron gates, a large marble pulpit and a reredos with latticework, a Crucifix and high canopy, all as shown in photographs published in 1962. The marble altar with a carved lamb in front is also original, but it has been brought forward as part of a sensitive reordering, leaving the original floor surfaces and steps intact.   Bench seating and a tiled floor with cross motifs also match archive photographs. All the terrazzo and block flooring was supplied by Granwood-Stonewood of Derbyshire.

Heritage Details

Architect: Desmond Williams & Associates

Original Date: 1962

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed