Belgrave Street, Radcliffe, Manchester M26
A simple modern (2009) church and parish centre designed by an architectural practice with longstanding links to the diocese.
The Radcliffe Mission was established in 1861 and at first was served from both Ramsbottom and Bury. The first resident priest was appointed in 1865. In the early years the Catholic congregation worshipped in a disused Methodist chapel, but a new church and school were built in 1876 at the junction of School Street and Victoria Street. In 1893 a new plot of land was purchased at the corner of Spring Lane and Seed Street and in 1894 a red brick church was erected, apparently to the designs of a Mr Jackson of Manchester. It was at this time that the dedication of the church and parish was changed from St Mary to St Mary and St Philip Neri.
By the beginning of the twenty-first century this building was in poor condition and not well suited to the congregation’s needs. It was decided to build a new church on a site in Belgrave Road which was owned by the diocese and already partly occupied by the Catholic primary school. Planning permission for the building, which combines a church and a parish centre, was obtained in 2007 and the new building opened in May 2009.
The new church is a low building with a simple rectangular plan and a wide spreading shallow-pitched roof covered with artificial slate. At the (liturgical) west end the church is joined to the parish centre with a common entrance for both. On the church side walls large full-height windows alternate with broad red brick piers carried above the eaves. The east wall is blind with a canted central section rising above the roofline.
The interior is a pleasing space, simply finished with opaque glazing to the large windows, plain plastered walls and lower ceiling slopes, with a boarding along the ceiling spine. The simple sanctuary space is enclosed by timber rails and all the other fittings are also of modern timber.
Architect: Greenhalgh & Williams of Bolton
Original Date: 2009
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed