Building » Higher Folds – St Gabriel the Archangel

Higher Folds – St Gabriel the Archangel

Kensington Drive, Higher Folds

A simple portal-frame building, built as a church-hall and typical of many low-cost buildings built to serve post-war estates. 

Higher Folds estate was developed in the late 1950s to provide housing for the local mining community. Archbishop Godfrey, having acquired a house and land on the estate, sent Fr Joseph Brown to set up a parish. The first small church opened in 1956, followed by a second church-hall which opened on 9 June 1957; this was used as an infants’ school until St Gabriel’s school was constructed on the adjacent site. The 1957 building was refurbished as the church by Fr Murphy.


The church is a simple reinforced concrete portal-frame building of seven bays, with red brick infill panels and clerestory windows. The shallow-pitched roof is covered in mineral felt. The west entrance facing the road has timber doors and flanking screen, leading into a narthex with WCs. To the southwest there is a single-storey flat-roofed extension for the Lady Chapel. A flat-roofed boiler house and plant room are prominent externally at the east end of the building. Internally, two sacristies flank the sanctuary, which retains original liturgical fittings. The nave has bench seating for around 300 people. The narthex is separated from the church by a part-glazed screen, with stained glass installed in 1997.

Heritage Details

Architect: Weightman & Bullen

Original Date: 1957

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed