Taylor Street, Middleton, Manchester M24
A red brick and terracotta Gothic Revival church, possibly an early work by Harold Greenhalgh, built shortly before the First World War. The interior, with its stone nave arcades and richly furnished sanctuary, is more impressive than the exterior.
Fr Pierce Griffiths was the first resident priest in Middleton in 1864 and the mission was established in 1867. Fr Goetgeluck, who was priest from that time until 1881, built the presbytery, a school and a small church all on the same compact site. In 1894 Canon Wigman added a new school building and the original school served for the infants. The foundation stone of the present church was laid on 6 August 1910, and the building was opened by Bishop Casartelli on 14 May 1911. The interior ‘was lined with glazed bricks and therefore has saved the parish considerable sums of money, as it does not need any interior decoration’ (Bolton, 200). The architect has not been identified; Harold Greenhalgh is a possibility (The Buildings of England suggests Greenhalgh & Williams, but the partnership was not in existence at that time).
The school buildings have now been demolished and the original character of the area in which they were built has also changed considerably through demolitions and the enlargement of the nearby trunk roads.
The church is built along a sloping site and is in the Gothic style, with walls of hard red brick, dressings and copings of yellow terracotta and roof coverings of Welsh slate. The plan comprises a four-bay nave under a tall pitched roof with pent-roofed aisles, and a lower sanctuary of one bay flanked by flat-roofed sacristies. The west end is a busy composition with the main door reached up steps behind a railed retaining wall. The central entrance has a pointed doorway with decorated moulded surround; above is a tall four-light window with Perpendicular tracery and in the head of the gable is a canopied niche. The shallow-gabled ends of the aisles have canted bay projections with cusped double windows. The nave side elevations are of four main bays divided by pilaster strips, with triple pointed windows to the aisles and straight-headed triple windows to the clerestory. In the gabled east wall of the sanctuary is a large five-light window with Perpendicular tracery.
Internally the building has four-bay nave arcades, with pointed and chamfered stone arches carried on red sandstone cylindrical columns with moulded capitals and bases. The walls are of bare-faced part-glazed red brick with some yellow-brick patterning. The floor is currently covered with carpet tiles. At the west end of the nave is a timber gallery, now glazed in beneath to form a vestibule. Over all is a four-sided boarded ceiling with the principal timbers carried down onto stone corbels. The aisles
have braced lean-to boarded ceilings. Both aisle and clerestory windows are clear glazed. There is a tall pointed stone sanctuary arch with moulded and chamfered responds which is flanked by lower pointed chamfered arches opening into the side chapels. The sanctuary has plain plastered walls (originally covered with painted arabesque ornament) with crested panelling to the lower part and a timber reredos with gilded figures. The large window above is filled with stained glass with figures and canopy work rather in the manner of Kempe. Both the glass and the elaborate marble altar below and marble altar rails (now removed) were apparently installed in 1925 at a cost of £1,229.
Architect: H. Greenhalgh (unconfirmed attribution)
Original Date: 1911
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed