Zetland Street, Dukinfield, Cheshire, SK16
A good example of a small urban Catholic church built to serve a working community in an industrial town. It is fairly typical of the more modest churches built by the Hadfield practice in the mid-nineteenth century, with less lavish decorative details than some others such as St Joseph’s, Stockport. The church has been well-cared for and retains some attractive, mostly early to mid-twentieth century fittings.
A mission was first established in 1822 in Harrops Yard, off Crickets Lane, Ashton. A Greek revival chapel was built in 1825 on Astley Street by Rev James Fisher, designed by John Palmer of Manchester. A school and presbytery were also built here, but due to mining subsidence, the church was taken down in 1847. St Mary’s and the presbytery were built in 1856, with funds from Mr F. D. Astley and designed by M. E. Hadfield. It was the mother church for a group of Catholic churches in the area including Hyde, Stalybridge and Ashton. St Mary’s School was built in 1872. The interior was reordered in 1975.
The church is designed in the Early English Gothic style. It is constructed of red brick with stone string courses. The steeply-pitched Welsh slate roof has plain eaves, stone coped verges and louvred vents with gablets. The plan consists of a four-bay nave with lean-to north aisle, south aisle with pitched roofs, half-octagonal chancel to the east and gabled northwest baptistery. Windows are plain lancets with stone sills and polychrome brick heads. Pilaster buttresses to aisles. The pointed south doorway has a gabled aedicule and recessed polychrome arches and stone caps to brick pilasters. The double boarded doors have decorative strap hinges. The presbytery north of the church is linked to it by a two-storey brick sacristy, with 1850s polychrome pointed doorway and later-nineteenth century stone mullioned window to the first floor.
Inside, the church has three-bay pointed arcades on cylindrical piers and an open roof with plain tie-beam trusses. The pine-fronted west gallery with pierced trefoils appears to be 1850s (similar to St Paul’s, Hyde); the pipe organ has a Gothic-style case, probably late-nineteenth century and brought from another church. The confessional is through a pointed doorway off the north aisle. The pews are pitch pine, on pine floorboards; aisles are carpeted. Walls and arcades are plastered and painted, with a tongue and groove boarded dado. The sanctuary, reordered in 1975, has a 1950s red sandstone Romanesque style altar in a forward position, stone reredos and an ambo that incorporates oak joinery from the former communion rails. All windows are glazed with plain leaded glass, and date from 1918, replaced following an explosion. The 1906 Stations of the Cross by Mayer & Co., and the tabernacle were given by the Brooks family. The stone Lady Chapel and Sacred Heart altars are in similar style and contemporary to the sanctuary altar, all c.1950. The baptistery was adapted for a meeting room in 2000 and a narthex created by inserting a screen and re-used doors below the gallery.
Architect: Weightman, Hadfield & Goldie
Original Date: 1856
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed