Building » Oldbury – St Francis Xavier

Oldbury – St Francis Xavier

Simpson Street, Oldbury, Sandwell B69

A brick-built church of the mid-1960s, of modern construction. It is built to a traditional longitudinal plan, but was designed from the outset with a forward altar, to allow Mass to be said with the priest facing the people. The nave was never completed to the original plan.

A school building with a Gothic Revival upper church was built on Pinfold Street, Oldbury in 1865, served from St Michael, West Bromwich. The present church was built a hundred years later, after the old building had become structurally unsafe, and was blessed on 15 August 1965. It was intended to be built in two phases, the first of which encompassed the east (ritual) end (sacristies, sanctuary, side chapel and part of the nave), providing seats for about 160 people. The church was designed from the outset with a forward altar, to allow Mass to be said with the priest facing the people, in line with the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, then concluding. The second phase was never undertaken, so that the west wall is a ‘temporary’ one of brick and clad externally with steel and asbestos sheeting. Instead, a smaller west end addition was built in 2001, housing a porch, meeting room and WCs.

The church was consecrated by Archbishop Longley on 23 September 2012.


The church is of modern construction, but built to a traditional longitudinal plan. It is faced in brown brick with a low-pitched, copper-covered main roof. Over the sanctuary sits a slender metal spirelet. The nave and sanctuary are in one volume and there is a flat-roofed aisle on the north side. There is a chapel at the northeast and a large square porch at the west end, under a concrete tile roof. Most of the fenestration consists of narrow rectangular lancets, although on either side of the sanctuary are large, high-level seven-light windows with a shallow projection or gable over.

The interior is characterised by its height and lightness.  The walls are all plastered and painted in light colours. Over the sanctuary heavy concrete beams form a star pattern, while there is pale coloured glass in the side windows. A suspended canopy hangs over the altar. The aisle has three wide bays under lintels (two bays to the nave, one to the sanctuary). There are no fittings or furnishings which need particular mention.

Heritage Details

Architect: Louis Hayes of S. N. Cooke & Partners

Original Date: 1965

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed