Howards Lane, Eccleston, St Helens WA10
A functional design by a prolific post-war practice.
The Eccleston area was a centre of recusancy, with a Catholic chapel in the old Eccleston Hall (rebuilt in the 1820s). The first public Catholic chapel in the Eccleston area was Our Lady Help of Christians at Portico (1789-90), and in 1793 Mrs Eccleston (the widow of John Eccleston of Eccleston Hall), gave a piece of land for a Catholic chapel in what is now St Mary’s church at St Helens (qv).
From the 1930s onwards Eccleston was gradually absorbed within the westward suburban sprawl of St Helens. A new parish was formed in 1961, and the present church completed in 1969 at a cost of £70,000. This is reported to be the first church dedicated to St Julie Billiart (1751-1816), founder of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, who was canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1969.
St Julie’s is a simple rectangular building with a shallow-pitched roof covered with tiles over the main body of the church and low flat-roofed aisle projections on either side. The facing material is red brick laid in stretcher bond. The central section of the west wall is filled with a large concrete window rising into the roof-gable; the window is set directly above the entrance vestibule. To either side are two low windows with gabled heads. The side walls each have four triplets of long concrete lancet windows and on the liturgical north side a large five-light concrete window in the eastern bay lights the sanctuary. Inside the building the concrete frame is exposed with aisles behind the principal uprights. The walls above the aisles are completely filled with windows. Elsewhere the walls are of bare brick. The floor is carpeted. The high altar is set against a tall plastered panel in the east wall, with in front of this a later forward altar on a low dais, with benches to either side.
Architect: L. A. G. Prichard
Original Date: 1969
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed