St Joseph’s Road, Handsworth, Sheffield, S13
A substantial stone church in Perpendicular Gothic style built from designs by the notable Sheffield architects M. E Hadfield & Son, the west end sensitively completed in the 1950s by the successor practice of Hadfield, Cawkwell & Davidson. The church forms a good group with the contemporary presbytery and school, all built through the gift of the fifteenth Duke of Norfolk. Together the buildings and burial ground constitute a major presence in the local townscape.
From 1867, Catholics in the vicinity of Woodhouse worshipped at the Woodhouse New Station, then at a mission house near Woodhouse Hall on Stubbin Lane (now Stradbroke Road). In 1870 a temporary wooden church designed under the direction of M. E. Hadfield and dedicated to St John of Beverley was opened. This served until a gift of the Duke of Norfolk allowed for the building of a permanent, purpose-built church, presbytery and school. The foundation stone for the church was laid on 27 August 1879 by Bishop Cornthwaite of Beverley, who performed the opening on 7 June 1881. The architects for the church, which is in Perpendicular Gothic style, were M.E Hadfield & Son and the builder was Martin Dowling of Harriet Street, Sheffield.
The church was adorned and enriched over time, including a new high altar and reredos in 1949. In 1956-57 the western bay of the nave, the south porch, baptistery and choir gallery were added, from designs by Hadfield, Cawkwell & Davidson. A new Lady altar was designed in Birmingham at the Hardman Studios. The church reopened on 19 March 1957, when Bishop Heenan preached.
In a post-Vatican II reordering in 1973 the rood, altar rails and pulpit were removed, the sanctuary redesigned and the altar moved forward. The font has been moved from the baptistery to the north aisle. The church was dedicated on 7 June 1981 and in 2004 a faculty was granted for the conversion of the baptistery to a WC.
See list entry, below, where the church is described fairly fully. The following can be added (details from Evinson):
The church is built of fine red sandstone, from the Duke of Norfolk’s quarries at Bole Hill; the roof is covered with Broseley tiles
The Stations of the Cross, large high-relief tableaux, are by E. de Fernelmont, and were given by the family of the first mission priest, Fr Adrian van Roosmalen
The font, now relocated to the north aisle, is of 1924
The screen separating the chancel and the Lady Chapel is of 1929
The marble altar (brought forward), stone reredos (with figures of St Thomas More and St John Fisher) and the stained glass in the sanctuary are of 1949
The Lady Chapel window is by Hardman, 1950
Two terracotta murals of St John Fisher on the north wall, by Philippa Threlfall, 1964, came from St John Fisher Secondary School in the mid-1980s.
Architect: M.E. Hadfield & Son;
Original Date: 1881
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: II