Leigh Avenue, Marple, Stockport, SK6
A dual-purpose church and hall built on a post-war housing estate. The simple design provides a flexible, simple interior but the external appearance is somewhat forbidding due to the blind elevations.
Before the building of the present church, Marple Catholics went to Mass at St Mary’s, Marple Bridge. From 1967, Fr James Gaskell developed the parish and was the first parish priest; Sunday Mass was said at the Old Folks’ Association Hall, Memorial Park and during the week in his house at 50 Turnpike Lane. After the presbytery and church hall opened in 1972, the latter became the church. The total cost of building and landscaping came to £47,000.
The church building is a simple rectangular structure aligned with the entrance in the east elevation facing the road. The sanctuary is located on the west side of the building, but for this description, this will be referred to as the liturgical east end, with other elevations adjusted accordingly. The building is faced in a red brick with blind east, north and south walls; the west elevation has glazing and glazed doors in a timber frame, lighting the narthex. Attached to the liturgical southwest corner of the narthex is a parish room with hipped tiled roof. Rainwater goods are plastic. The interior is lit by roof lanterns on the flat roof.
The plain rectangular interior seats a total of 300 people, and the hall can be separated from the sanctuary by closing a folding screen. The interior walls are fair-faced brick, the hardwood block floor is partly laid with carpet and varnished timber boarding lines the flat ceiling. Chairs provide flexible seating. The narthex has a linoleum tiled floor. The sanctuary has a carpeted floor and is top-lit by pyramidal glazed roof lanterns. The simple oak altar is on a plain platform, with a wooden crucifix on the wall behind. Some of the pine liturgical fittings are of late nineteenth or twentieth century date, brought here from another church. The resin relief of the Stations of the Cross on the north wall was made by John Blakeley in memory of Fr Gaskell, who died in 1975.
Architect: Northern Plan Group, Manchester
Original Date: 1972
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed