Wilbraham Road, Fallowfield, Manchester M14
A modest, but simple and dignified interwar design by E. Bower Norris and F.M. Reynolds, local architects of some note.
Fallowfield is a suburb on the south side of Manchester. The Wilbraham Road area developed as a largely middle class settlement in the later nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century. The area started to became built up in the early twentieth-century, augmented by large council estates, mostly built after the Second World War. The Catholic mission was started in 1926 to cater for the great increase in population, and a ‘tin tabernacle’ was put up on Yew Tree Road in the same year. The present site was obtained by Fr Mortimer Daly in 1937 and the present church erected in the following year, from designs by Norris & Reynolds. It was opened by Fr Daly in December 1938.
A reordering of 1998 involved the substitution of new furnishings and panelling in timber.
The social club beside the church originated as a temporary building which was rebuilt incrementally, largely by voluntary labour, between 1969 and 1971.
All orientations given are liturgical. The church is of brick, with some soldier courses and contrasting colour to give definition and texture. The roof structure is of steel beams. It is a simple rectangular structure with a gabled west entrance block and a central entrance surmounted by a pedimented window of Renaissance derivation. There is a statue of Christ above this, not shown on the architects’ drawing and the gable has a cross finial. The window openings generally have flat heads; the original metal windows were replaced in timber in 1990. An entrance on the south side with a canopy is an addition of unknown, probably late twentieth-century date. Confessionals are attached on the north side.
Inside, there is a narthex with a west gallery with organ over it. The nave is simply appointed, with a cambered ceiling. The sanctuary has a timber floor, panelling and furnishings of the 1998 reordering. The east wall is panelled as part of the same scheme, and there are flanking niches with statues of the Virgin and the Sacred Heart. Other statuary includes a Pietà in the narthex. Bench seating appears to be original and Stations of the Cross take the form
The church, club and presbytery stand on a plot of land between Hart Road and Wilbraham Road in a largely residential area. The presbytery faces on to Wilbraham Road, which is a busy thoroughfare, and the church and club face on to Hart Road. There is a large car park between the buildings.
Architect: E. Bower Norris & F.M. Reynolds
Original Date: 1938
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed