St Paul’s Street, Hyde, Cheshire, SK14
A good example of a mid-nineteenth century urban church designed by Weightman, Hadfield & Goldie, one of several by them in this area. The interior retains good twentieth century fittings by Edmund Kirby and Adrian Gilbert Scott. The significance of the church is enhanced by Kirby’s 1899 east end and by the attached presbytery. Built on a hilltop, the church is a local landmark.
The cotton town of Hyde originally formed part of the extensive Dukinfield mission. However, in 1848 a separate mission was established over a blacksmith’s shop, served by Fr John Quealy from Ashton. The foundation stone for the present church was laid on 20 May 1853, on land given by Robert Ashton of Hyde Print Works, who was a Unitarian. The architects were Weightman, Hadfield & Goldie and the builders Messrs F. Robinson & son. The building cost £1,560 and opened on 21 June 1854. The chancel and Lady Chapel were not built until 1899, by Fr Hennelly, designed by Edmund Kirby, at a total cost of just over £1000. The high altar and reredos were added in 1925 and 1926 by Canon Marrs, both also designed by Kirby. The church was consecrated in 1954, at its centenary. A Lady altar was also installed about this time, designed by Adrian Gilbert Scott. The sanctuary was reordered in 1979 by Canon Turnbull. The adjoining schools, built in 1854, were demolished in 1992.
The church is designed in the Decorated Gothic style, typical of other Hadfield churches. It is constructed of local sandstone with a steeply-pitched Welsh slate roof with west bellcote and coped verges. The plan consists of a four and a half-bay nave with lean-to south aisle, gabled south porch, north aisle with pitched roofs, chancel to the east and gabled north Lady Chapel. The clerestories are lit by trefoil windows and the west end has a large trefoil over a central buttress with statue niche, flanked by lancets (the fibreglass statue of St Paul is late twentieth century). The aisles have pointed two-light or three-light windows with tracery, and stepped buttresses. The 1899 east end has a large trefoil window to the east wall, string courses and groups of cusped lancets to east and west.
Inside, the church has pointed arcades on cylindrical piers and an open roof with arch-braced collar trusses. The pine-fronted west gallery and screen appears to be 1850s; the pipe organ has a pine case and stencilled pipes, probably late nineteenth century. Confessionals are below the gallery. The open-backed pews are pitch pine, on pine floorboards. Walls and arcades are plastered and painted white. The sanctuary, reordered in 1979, retains a 1925 Gothic stone altar in a forward position, oak reredos and 1935 oak communion rails, relocated to the sides. The east window glass is by Hardman (1899); other windows have plain leaded glass. The octagonal painted stone font is at the west end of the south aisle; the baptistery has 1930s oak panelling by Mr D. Renwick, a parishioner. The stone Lady Chapel altar was designed by A. Gilbert Scott, c.1954; a central Madonna and Child flanked by canopied representations of the Annunciation and the Assumption. Oak panelling in the sacristy was made in 1935, also by D. Renwick. The copper war memorial dates from the 1950s.
Update: The church and presbytery were listed Grade II in 2013, following Taking Stock. List description at: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1413253
Architect: Weightman, Hadfield & Goldie; E. Kirby
Original Date: 1854
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Grade II