Pilch Lane, Knotty Ash, Liverpool 14
A fine post-war church, built at the time of the Second Vatican Council and designed to meet the emerging new liturgical requirements. Its openwork concrete campanile is a local landmark. Weightman & Bullen were the most prolific Catholic architects in the Liverpool archdiocese at this time and their design for St Margaret Mary is a refinement of their earlier church of St Ambrose, Speke.
The parish was erected in 1932. The first priest was the Rev. James McKenna, and the original church was a simple brick barn-like structure. This was replaced by the present much larger church, built in 1962-4 from designs by Weightman & Bullen. The church was reordered in 1993, when the original communion rails were removed.
The church is square in plan, with a tall openwork concrete campanile placed centrally in front and rising from between two low flat-roofed entrance vestibules with the baptistery between them. The body of the church is faced externally in brick with continuous triangular-headed clerestorey windows on all four sides under fan-patterned copper roof cladding. At the rear of the flat-roofed building rises an octagonal lantern with a folded copper roof.
The interior is a single open square space, designed to maximise visibility and participation, with the concrete framing and brick and stone infill of the walls exposed and lines of slender cylindrical mosaic-clad columns on either side. The lowish, flat acoustic ceiling is pierced by a rectangular opening for the lantern which throws a dramatic light onto the altar. Of the furnishings, the most notable is the engraved glass in the narthex by Stephen Foster, on the theme of Baptism.
Entry amended by AHP 9.1.2021
Architect: Weightman & Bullen
Original Date: 1962
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed