Building » Oldham – St Michael

Oldham – St Michael

Warren Lane, Abbeyhills, Oldham OL8

A typical example of the many economically-designed and built churches-cum-parish halls built on housing estates in the post-war years. The added brick porch has not enhanced the already modest architectural character of the building.

The first church on this site was a ‘tin hut’ chapel built as a mission from St Anne’s Oldham, to serve the new post-war housing estate at Abbeyhills.  The present church was built by Fr Campbell, designed as a combined hall and church. Bishop Beck formally opened the new church on 2 February 1957. Fr Diarmuid O’Leary was the priest for forty-one years, and introduced the re-set stained glass set into illuminated boxes in the sanctuary.


The church is conventionally orientated with the sanctuary roughly to the east.  The plan consists of a five-bay nave with sanctuary under a separate roof, and a late twentieth century glazed brick gabled porch to the west, leading into a narthex. The sacristy and Lady Chapel are in flat-roofed projections to the north of the sanctuary, with a flat-roofed link to the presbytery on the south side. The church is faced in a buff brick, with mineral tiles to the pitched roof and a copper-clad fleche. Flat roofed areas are covered in mineral felt. The nave is lit by steel windows to side walls and flat-roofed dormers at roof level. The tripartite west window is recessed in a central panel above the entrance. The sanctuary has a blind east wall and is lit from the sides by rectangular clerestory windows

Inside, the originally external door is now within the added porch; it has a segmental head and double boarded doors.  The deep narthex provides a central lobby area with tiled floor, with gallery above. The nave has an oak boarded floor, plain plastered walls and acoustic panels to the soffit of the roof, which is carried on concrete portal frame trusses, painted white.  Seating is hardwood benches. A folding screen divides the nave from the sanctuary, allowing the nave to be used for other parish events. The sanctuary fittings are post-Vatican II and timber, including a forward altar on a carpeted platform and an oak sanctuary rail. On the east wall are five illuminated boxes containing late nineteenth century stained glass panels, brought here in 1988 and 1992 by Fr O’Leary (provenance not established). The Lady Chapel to the north was originally the baptistery, now with plain fittings.

Heritage Details

Architect: Arthur Farebrother & Partners

Original Date: 1957

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed