Building » Poole – St Anthony of Padua

Poole – St Anthony of Padua

York Road, Broadstone, Poole, Dorset

A modest post-war church with an interior of quiet simplicity.

Broadstone emerged as a settlement in the nineteenth century, being on the Poole to Blandford turnpike and a stop on the Somerset & Dorset Railway. A Church of England church was provided in 1888 but the population remained small until after the Second World War, when industries moved out from Poole and major new housing estates were built as part of the Poole rehousing scheme, notably the Waterloo Estate. In the early 1950s Fr Ronald Besant said Mass at his sister’s house at 17 Church Road and his parents’ house in Clarendon Road. Subsequently Mass was said in the Athletic Club Hall by Canon James Buckley of Poole parish. The site on York Road was purchased in 1953 for £300. St Anthony’s church was designed to hold 200 people and opened on 13 May 1959. The contract price was £8,449 (excluding furnishing). The architect, Peter Byrne, is described in the parish Silver Jubilee brochure as being ‘a local Poole architect’ but the Catholic Building Review (1959) states that he was of Exmouth, Devon. Byrne also designed St Bernadette’s in Exeter so it seems probable that he had an office in Exmouth.

St Anthony’s became an independent parish in 1966 (a presbytery was built in 1965). The present presbytery was built in 1976, the parish hall in 1979.


St Anthony’s is a simple church under a single pitched roof covering the nave and sanctuary, with flat-roofed projections for sacristies, Lady Chapel, baptistery, entrance etc. The Catholic Building Review described the style as Romanesque, though it is only the consistent use of the semi-circular arch for window heads that is suggestive of Romanesque inspiration. The church is built of red brick from the Swanage brickworks and roofed with Bridgewater double Roman brown tiles. The west front has a tripartite arrangement of round-headed windows. The main entrance is into a small porch on the left, with the doors originally facing west but moved to the north side in 1988. At the same time a new Lady Chapel was built in the gap on the north side between the porch and the sacristy. A balancing projection to the right of the west window originally housed the baptistery but was converted as a confessional or reconciliation room in 1988. Also in 1988 the original Lady Chapel, in a southeast projection, became the baptistery. The windows to the north and south sides of the church are of similar round-arched design, mostly grouped in pairs and with squatter clerestory windows. The sacristy etc has windows of more utilitarian character.

The interior has a quiet simplicity, with no east windows, plain, plastered, round arches to Lady Chapel, baptistery and sanctuary, and a canted ceiling. The form of the sanctuary arch is echoed in a blind recess behind the altar, with round-arched niches to either side. None of the fittings or furnishings is of particular note.

Heritage Details

Architect: Peter A. Byrne

Original Date: 1959

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed