Victoria Road, Elland, West Yorkshire
A fairly typical post-war church in a modern idiom with aspects, such as the broad ‘slots’ of glazing reminiscent of the 1950s and the Festival of Britain. Excellent stained glass in the east window.
As with Sowerby Bridge, further up the Calder Valley, the growth of the cotton and woollen mills in the nineteenth century brought Irish immigrants to the area, swelling the Catholic population. By 1896 the priest from Halifax was saying Mass at the Mechanics Hall and in 1907 a school with chapel over was opened in Green Lane, designed by C. E. Fox of Dewsbury (who later designed St Teresa’s church at Queensbury). This building remains as part of St Patrick’s School and served as the parish church until the present church on Victoria Road opened in 1960.
The church has the altar facing north but in this description all references will be to conventional orientation, i.e. as if the church faced east.
St Patrick’s church is built of local stone cut into thin slabs under concrete pantile roofs. It comprises a tall and broad nave and sanctuary in one, with shallow north transept and two-storey ancillary accommodation attached to the east. The gabled entrance front has oversailing eaves and unrelieved brickwork either side of a broad vertical strip of glazing incorporating the entrance which has just a shallow hood so as not to distract from the effect of the vertical slot. Crucifix attached to the window. The plinth steps up over inscription stones, that to the left blank, that to the right a foundation stone dated 1959. The sides of the church have mostly large ‘slots’ of glazing and the east window is a more traditional trio of stepped round-arched windows. Glazed ‘slot’ to the gabled transept.
The interior is spacious, open to the apex of the roof and undivided apart from a broad semi-circular sanctuary arch without mouldings or imposts, the arch rising from low down. West gallery, very much part of the structure, with an internal porch etc below. Contemporary open-backed pews. The carpeted sanctuary is enriched with marble, green veined marble against the east wall, white marble for the freestanding altar table and white and black marble for the tabernacle stand and the Lady Chapel altar in the transept. Two wooden ambos. The sanctuary is enclosed on either side by low side walls with the transept at lower level to one side and the access to the presbytery and parish rooms at a lower level on the other side. The single outstanding feature of the interior is the three-light stained glass east window, Expressionist style in rich colours, reminiscent of the work of the Dublin Earley Studios, or possibly Clokeys of Belfast, following initial sketches by the architect.
Architect: J. H. Langtry-Langton
Original Date: 1959
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed