Building » Lancaster – St Bernadette

Lancaster – St Bernadette

Bowerham Road, Lancaster LA1 4HT

An attractive stone built post-war church, built in a low-key but unmistakably modern style shortly before Vatican II. It is notable above all for the quality of its original and later fittings and furnishings.

The church is a daughter church of the Cathedral, built in 1956-8 in response to suburban expansion of the city and replacing a converted stone barn which had previously been used for worship. The architect was Tom Mellor of Mellor, Waterhouse and Brook.


Stone built, with a wide and open internal plan. Copper roof with steel frame and suspended wooden slats; horizontal window strips at eaves level and vertical window strips at the east and west ends on the south side. Originally there was a freestanding concrete campanile on the south side, but this was demolished for safety reasons in 1990. The base has been reused to support a Crucifix. The building is particularly notable for the quality of its fittings and furnishings. A reordering of 1990 by Austin Winkley saw the removal of the original large high altar and its replacement with a freestanding altar with a Westmorland slate top, incorporating stone from side chapel altars (designed by David John). However the original reredos was retained (by John Piper, depicting Christ in a mandorla supported by two angels – based on the Romanesque tympanum at St Etienne, Cahors). At the same time new parish rooms, WCs etc were created at the liturgical west end. The Stations of the Cross and crucifix are by Peter Watts. The mosaic around the (relocated) font belongs to the 1990 reordering and is by Emma Biggs and Tessa Hunkin, (Mosaic Workshop). Side chapel with stained glass window by Patrick Reyntiens (Christ in Emmaus).

Heritage Details

Architect: Mellor, Waterhouse and Brook

Original Date: 1958

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed