Sutcliffe Avenue, Longsight, Manchester M12
A modest design by E. Bower Norris & F. M. Reynolds. It contains furnishings from other churches in the area, including a good stained glass panel showing St Patrick.
Longsight is a suburb on the southeast side of Manchester which developed along the main A6 London Road. It expanded greatly from the late nineteenth century. In 1915 Fr C. Chronnell was asked to start a new parish between St Joseph’s Longsight and St Mary’s Levenshulme. Initially Mass was said at the Co-operative hall on Mayfield Road. Land was acquired on Sutcliffe Avenue, but in the event a church dedicated to St Robert was built on Hamilton Road in Longsight and opened in 1929 (architect H. Yearsley). It was later decided that the land on Sutcliffe Avenue should be the site of St Richard’s, built as a chapel-of-ease to St Robert’s (and also a possible future school hall) to cope with the increase in population. The foundation stone of the new church was laid in June 1936 and the church was opened by Bishop Henshaw in December 1936. St Richard’s became an independent parish in 1947.
The parish hall and school were probably built at this time. St Robert’s church was rebuilt in 1964 (architects Mather & Nutter) but closed in 2004, when some items were taken to St Richard’s. A mosque was built on the site. In 1971 furnishings were acquired for Richard’s from St Brigid, Bradford (qv) when the nineteenth-century church there was demolished.
In 1995-6 major repairs and alterations were undertaken. The sanctuary was in poor condition and was remodelled. Panelling was inserted and a new altar made by a parishioner from offcuts of benches. A glazed inner porch was created at the same time, and various other works undertaken, including plastering and redecoration of the interior. The church was dedicated by Bishop Kelly in April 1996.
All orientations given are liturgical. The church is a rectangular building of brick with a steel truss roof. The entrance is at the west end with an empty niche above it and a cross on the gable. The windows are flat-headed, the lintels picked out in red brick. The form of the building and the windows are reminiscent of St Kentigern, Fallowfield (qv) built a year or two later from designs by Norris & Reynolds. Inside, a glazed lobby was inserted in 1996. The nave is simply appointed. Doors towards the east end open to a ramped entrance on the south side, and to sacristies and a link to the presbytery on the north side. The sanctuary is carpeted and raised by one step. Furnishings are of timber and include an altar made from reclaimed furnishings in 1996 and a font with a plaque recording that it was given by St Robert’s church in 1947. There is an organ in the northwest corner which was acquired some years ago from a local Methodist church. The glazing includes windows with simple geometrical patterns from St Brigid’s Bradford, and a panel showing St Patrick said to come from St Robert’s, but not original to that building. This glass is slightly faded but it is high quality late nineteenth or early twentieth century work in the manner of Kempe.
Architect: E. Bower Norris & F. M. Reynolds
Original Date: 1936
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed