Masterson Street, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent ST4
A plain early design by Sandy & Norris, with a pleasing interior.
A Mass centre was opened in a school-cum-chapel in Havelock Street (now Masterson Street) which was built in 1885 and doubled in size in 1896. The architect for this was A. E. Purdie, who at that time was working for the Dominicans on extensions to Our Lady and St Peter, Stoke (qv), from which the priest was provided. The mission continued to be served from Stoke until 1922, when a new parish was formed.
The foundation stone of the present church was laid in May 1923. It opened in 1924 (consecrated 24 September that year) and is an early design by the prolific Catholic church architect, E. Bower Norris of Sandy & Norris of Stafford. The church was designed to accommodate 650 people, and cost £4,000. In 1926 a carved oak high altar and reredos, with oak panelling at the sides, was erected after a special collection among the congregation, and Stations of the Cross were also installed.
The present east wall dates from alterations around 1970 when the sanctuary was shortened to create the presbytery and its garden. The present decorations at the east end internally were carried out c.2001.
Outwardly this is a plain building, reflecting the need for economy. Contemporary accounts describe the style as ‘Lombard Romanesque’, but this is perhaps fanciful. The discoloured polycarbonate sheets do not add to the external appearance. The structure is steel-framed with dark red and blue brick facings (lighter red brick in the later east wall). The two-light aisle windows are simple, with one pair per bay. The clerestory has larger windows, each of four lights with rendered walling between. The windows are wooden framed throughout. There is a continuous pantile roof over the nave and felted lean-to roofs over the aisles.
The interior is more appealing than the exterior. It is of seven bays, one-and-a-half of which are taken up by the sanctuary. The walls are rendered and painted a light cream (redecoration planned at the time of the visit). The stanchions, supporting the lintels to the aisles, are cased in with wood, square in section. The west bay is taken up by a narthex at ground level with a gallery for seating above. The interior is covered with a shallow segmental ceiling (painted light blue) over the nave and sanctuary with flat ceilings to the aisles). No fixtures or fittings require special mention although it may be said that the decoration of about 2001 in the sanctuary (light blue east wall with large gold fleur-de-lys and IHS motifs) adds an attractive focus for worshippers.
Architect: Sandy & Norris
Original Date: 1924
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed