Woodsend Road South, Flixton, Manchester M416
St Monica is an example of a 1960s church adopting a centralising plan with use of exposed laminated timber beams, which continue to characterise an unusual interior.
Flixton is an ancient settlement thought to have Norman origins which remained rural until the late nineteenth century. The settlement grew in the twentieth century as transport links improved, and the church of St Monica was built in 1969 to serve an expanding population. The church was designed and built by Lanner Ltd. of Wakefield. This firm specialised in prefabricated contemporary designs, other examples including St Hilda, Northenden, Manchester (Diocese of Shrewsbury) of 1968 and Our Lady, Fleet, Hampshire (Diocese of Portsmouth), 1966.
The builders worked in close consultation with the parish priest Rev. T. Lennon and careful attention was paid to the requirements of the new liturgy, with emphasis on good sightlines. The use of laminated timber beams was a characteristic feature of this firm’s designs, and was a system used by other architects about this time, including Manchester’s Oxford Road Station a decade earlier. A later reordering removed the altar rails, while the east wall has been reconfigured slightly, where doors have been removed, probably after the parish hall (Jubilee Room) was appended in 1999. This was built in closely matching style from designs by Hulme Upright Architects.
All orientations given are liturgical. The building is constructed of brick with a tiled roof and the structure is supported by nine laminated timber arches with spans of eighty-four feet. The interior is lined with reconstructed stone, and the beams are exposed, creating a striking effect. The plan is hexagonal with an entrance porch on the west side and large windows in the other sides, except the east. The porch forms a lobby, with doors on each side leading past the baptistery in the angle, which is in its original position and has what is probably the original green marble font. The sanctuary east end has a pair of upright attached timbers to frame a Crucifix and suggest a reredos. The Blessed Sacrament chapel occupies the segment of the hexagon on the north side of the sanctuary, again apparently following the original arrangement. Windows generally have plain glass with narrow bands of coloured glass.
Architect: Lanner Ltd., builders
Original Date: 1969
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed