Building » Hollinwood – Holy Family

Hollinwood – Holy Family

Roman Road, Limeside, Oldham OL8 3BY

A typical example of a post-war church built to serve a growing residential suburb; it retains some attractive ‘Festival of Britain’ features and fittings.

Holy Family was built as an offshoot from Corpus Christi, Hollinwood (qv) to serve the new Limeside housing estate. A site for the new church was bought from Oldham Corporation, initiated by Canon Peter Taylor. The church was built to seat 360, with room for fifty people in the Lady Chapel. The architect was Geoffrey Williams of Greenhalgh & Williams, the builder Whitworth, Whittaker & Co Ltd of Oldham, and the cost £27, 140. Bishop Beck blessed the foundation stone on 7 December 1957, and the church was formally opened in 1958. In 2009, the parishes of Holy Family and Holy Rosary (qv) were united as one parish.


The church is orientated with the sanctuary roughly to the north, but in this description, conventional liturgical compass points will be used.

The church is constructed with loadbearing walls faced in brown and buff bricks and steel roof trusses. The shallow-pitched roof was originally clad in copper but is now felted, flat roof areas are concrete. Rainwater goods are cast iron and windows are framed in hardwood.  The aisleless church has a five-bay nave lit by high level punched windows in rendered panels. The tripartite west end has a central full-height central panel of buff brick with a plain cross and abstract pattern of projecting bricks. The narthex is lit by triple lights beneath a zigzag concrete canopy and a recessed window to the right. The principal entrance leads into a flat-roofed lobby on the south side of the narthex; a reinforced concrete canopy shelters hardwood doors facing west. At the south end of the lobby is a piety shop, formerly the baptistery and on a lower level.  The two-bay sanctuary is side-lit with a blind east gable end. The Lady Chapel is within a flat-roofed block on the south side of the nave, with confessionals and kitchen along its south side and flat-roofed parish hall to the east, adapted from the original sacristies in the late twentieth century.

Inside, the tall nave has plain plastered walls above fair-faced brick to the lower two metres. The steel roof trusses are expressed as fins below the soffit of the roof which is lined with acoustic panels, painted green. The nave floor is laid with terrazzo, with hardwood pews.  The narthex has a glazed timber screen with hardwood front to the gallery above; the open-tread gallery stairs are reinforced concrete with steel balustrade.  The wrought iron screen to the former baptistery has star motifs. The sanctuary has been reordered and the floor laid with carpet with a new marble forward altar, but it retains the original octagonal timber canopy and Crucifix to the east wall.  The Lady Chapel is top-lit with circular rooflights and has late twentieth century oak liturgical fittings.

Heritage Details

Architect: Greenhalgh & Williams

Original Date: 1958

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed