Lenton Boulevard, Nottingham NG7
A modest Gothic church of 1929 considerably enlarged and extended in the 1960s. The most notable features of the church are the font, said to have come from the local Cluniac priory, the hammerbeam-style roof, remarkably old-fashioned for its date, and the campanile, which is a local landmark.
In 1882 a Catholic mission for the Radford district was established in Salisbury Street. A school opened in 1897 but closed in 1913, when the old school building was fitted up as a church (the Stations of the Cross from Oberammergau which are still in the church were in place by this time). In 1927 a plot of land on Lenton Boulevard was purchased and in July 1929 the foundation stone of the present church was laid by Bishop Dunn. The architect was Joseph T. Lynch (Harwood) and the church was opened on 25 January 1930. Among its principal furnishings was a pre-Reformation font from the Cluniac Priory at Lenton.
In 1965 work started on a major expansion of the church, under the direction of Reynolds & Scott, Architects of Manchester and Nottingham. This was in three phases, starting with the building of a hall to the rear of the church, continuing with extensions to the presbytery and ending with the alteration and enlargement of the church to provide sacristies, choir gallery, sanctuary, baptistery, tower and general renovations. The tender figure for all three phases was £31,781, and work was completed by 1967 (builders Messrs Sweeney & Palmer).
The church is orientated from west to east, but this description follows conventional liturgical orientation, i.e. as if the altar faced east.
The 1929 church was in a simple Gothic style, built with coarse grey bricks. The side walls of the nave incorporate some of this structure, but much altered and overlaid by the 1960s work. However, the west front survives intact and has a gabled porch with flanking narthex/baptistery and a circular traceried window in the main gable. According to Canon Dolan (pers. comm.) the old west front was retained because if it had been taken down the parish would have been required to rebuild on a new building line further back, thus reducing the size of the church. In all other respects, the character of the 1960s church dominates. This work involved the demolition of the old sanctuary and its replacement with an extended nave and larger sanctuary, with a higher ridge line than the original five bays of the nave. However, the nave was also raised in height. Externally, the nave and chancel are clad in rendered panels with the original 1929 brick buttresses in the nave exposed. Between these are high-level windows with pointed heads. At the junction of the nave and sanctuary on the north side is the tall square campanile, of four stages, with the present main entrance to the church in its lower stages. From here access is gained to the church and to the facilities in the presbytery, as extended by Reynolds & Scott. The roof coverings of the church are of slate; the presbytery and hall have flat roofs.
Inside, the visitor is immediately struck by the hammerbeam-type roof over the original nave, a decidedly old-fashioned design for its time. The wide proportions of the aisleless nave, the large high-level side windows with clear glazing and the white painted plaster walls give a feeling of light. There is a raised organ gallery on the south side of the eastern bays of the nave, with a Lady Chapel below. The sanctuary is also well lit, with tall side panel windows, and a stained glass window following the lines of the eaves of the east wall. It has a pitched roof, its underside faced in timber boarding.
The most notable of the church furnishings is the font, in a baptistery space giving off the south side of the nave. This venerable and curious antiquity is said to have come from the local Cluniac Priory, as recorded in an inscription on its modern base. The baptistery has a sunken floor, metal gates, and high-level coloured glass strip glazing. Other furnishings of note are the colourful and vivid Stations of the Cross, said to have come from Oberammergau, and the oak pews, which appear to have been reused from the 1929 church. The sanctuary arrangements are modern, although the crucifix on the east wall may be a survivor from the original church.
Architect: Joseph T. Lynch
Original Date: 1929
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed