Oakthorpe Drive, Kingshurst, Birmingham B37
An economical but well-detailed church of the mid-1960s, designed to meet the emerging liturgical requirements of the Second Vatican Council and notable for its atmospheric use of top lighting. The external character of the building has been compromised by unsympathetic alterations and additions.
The parish was formed from Castle Bromwich and Shard End (qqv) in 1960, and at first Mass was celebrated in the nearby school. The present church was designed in 1965 by Rush, Granelli & Partners, and completed by Remo and Mary Granelli. It was designed with the emerging new liturgical requirements in mind, to seat 400, with room for forty more in the Lady Chapel, which could when needed be opened onto the main space. Work started in December 1965, the foundation stone was laid on 20 August 1966 and the church was blessed by Archbishop Dwyer on 8 December 1966. The cost was £37,000.
In 1981 the parish was merged with that of St John the Evangelist, Kingshurst (qv), and a stained glass window was installed to mark the event. A decision has recently (2014) been taken to deconsecrate the main space of the church, in order to allow it to be used by the adjoining school. It is intended that the Lady Chapel should be retained as a place of worship.
A low, single storey, flat-roofed building, with the main worship space square on plan, and a Lady Chapel, narthex and curve-walled former baptistery giving off. The building is clad with golden brown facing bricks. Windows are rectilinear, with deep embrasures. All three main spaces are lit in part from above, by tall conical towers externally clad in copper (those to the Lady Chapel and former baptistery renewed in felt).
An inscribed foundation stone marks the threshold from the narthex to the main worship space. Throughout, the internal walls are clad as outside with golden brown brick, with warm brown ceramic floor tiles. The ceilings and the internal faces of the conical towers are clad with red boarded cedar, all adding to the intimate effect. The altars in the main space and the Lady Chapel are cast in white concrete, with Cornish granite aggregate. The other main feature of note is a stained glass window of 1981, commemorating the merger with the parish of St John the Evangelist. The benches appear to be the original ones. The large baptistery is now used as a social area.
Architect: Rush, Granelli & Partners/Remo & Granelli
Original Date: 1966
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed