Mere Road, Leicester
A modest red brick Italianate building of 1924, one of many in the diocese built by F. J. Bradford KSG, with a handsome vaulted interior of some architectural quality. The church is part of a complex of buildings which includes the church school and the original chapel/school of 1884.
A mission was established in 1882 to cater for the eastern parts of Leicester. A small brick chapel/school was built in 1884 and a tin tabernacle church erected in 1888 on the site of the present presbytery. In 1905 Fr Henry Lindeboom was appointed as parish priest and remained at Sacred Heart for 33 years. Under his auspices funds were raised for the building of a new church with a hall beneath, which was opened in 1924. This was built by F. J. Bradford, who built widely in the diocese in the interwar years, from designs by P. H. Grundy of Fossbrooke, Bedingfield & Grundy (Leicester). Fr Lindeboom also raised funds for the enlargement of the school, which was completed in 1932. In the 1970s a new presbytery was built between the church and the school. The church was reordered in the early 1990s.
The church is a compact high-shouldered building in Italianate style, raised slightly above street level by the hall beneath which was built to take advantage of the sloping site. The exterior is faced with red brick laid in English bond, with metal windows throughout and with roof coverings of red pantiles. The west end fronts directly onto the street and has a small projecting central porch. The centre of this front has an open pediment with broad eaves above a Diocletian window; the centre is flanked by short brick towers with open-arched top stages and pyramidal roofs. The side walls are divided into bays by prominent curved brick buttresses which rest on flat-roofed windowless aisles. Each bay has a broad window with a segmental head. The main roof is of gambrel form.
The interior is a single broad space with a tall round-arched vaulted ceiling, western gallery and narrow passage aisles. The walls are plastered and painted throughout. The aisles are divided from the nave by five-bay arcades of unmoulded round arches set between Corinthian pilasters with a full entablature which are continued up into the roof vault. The clerestorey windows are set into the slope of the vault. The western nave gallery has five open arches beneath, which have been glazed in to form a lobby. The side-lit sanctuary also has a semi-circular vaulted ceiling and the entablatures of the nave arcades are continued round the sanctuary walls to meet in a tall reredos on the east wall with a modern painted figure of Our Lord. The sanctuary has been reordered, the altar brought forward and the original altar rails and pulpit removed. The church retains its original bench seating.
Architect: Fossbrooke, Bedingfield & Grundy (F. J. Bradford builder)
Original Date: 1924
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed