Southchurch Drive, Clifton, Nottingham NG11
Large angular church, Gothic in spirit if not in detail, built by Reynolds & Scott in the mid 1960s to serve a new housing estate. The church was one of the first in the Diocese to be conceived and designed with the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in mind. It is notable for its large and complete sanctuary and for a fine set of Stations of the Cross. The tapering concrete campanile is a local landmark.
The large church was built on a corner site, work starting in November 1963 and finished at the end of 1965. This was a new parish, erected to meet the needs of a new housing estate, and the presbytery was built at the same time as the church. The first parish priest was Fr McGuinness, later Bishop of Nottingham. The church was opened by Bishop Ellis. It was built from designs by Reynolds & Scott of Manchester and Nottingham, at an estimated cost of £77,582, excluding furnishings (CBR 1965,156), and accommodated 596 worshippers. Owing to the ground conditions, the church was built on a reinforced concrete slab.
The church was one of the first in the Diocese to have been designed and built with the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in mind.
The church is in the modern Gothic style favoured by Reynolds & Scott. It is built on a cruciform plan, with a broad aisleless nave of five bays, wide transepts of two bays and a short chancel of one bay. At the west end a short low baptistery gives off the south side, linking to a precast concrete campanile. A side chapel gives off the north side of the nave. The structure consists of precast concrete frames expressed internally with diagonal precast concrete beams supporting the roof. The exterior is finished with facing brick and the roofs in copper (Copper Stripstile, according to CBR 1963, 174). The terminal walls of the nave, chancel and transepts are canted. The main entrance is marked by a slightly angled projecting canopy supported on posts, and above this is a large hexagonal window incorporating a cross motif. Tall rectangular windows to the remaining walls with staggered glazing pattern, all renewed in UPVC. The concrete bell tower is tapering in form, 90 ft high, and a local landmark.
Inside, the church is large and rather echoing and cavernous in character. It is notable for the size of the sanctuary, which retains its original marble and terrazzo furnishings. The altar is placed on the centre line of the transepts, with a separate tabernacle stand behind. There is a western gallery accommodating an organ. The aisles and the sacristy are finished in terrazzo with composition blocks under the benches. The church was originally heated by an underfloor electrical system, but this has now been replaced with a hot air system.
Apart from the sanctuary furnishings, original or early features of note include:
• the fine Stations of the Cross (photo bottom left), which appear to be the work of the Dublin stained glass firm of Earley and Co.
• The original gates and tapering front with wooden cover in the baptistery
• Colourful stained glass depicting scenes from Genesis and Eucharistic themes in the west window, signed ‘Stephen Walsh Studios, 1965’ (photo bottom right).
Original Date: 1963
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed