Building » Rochdale – Sacred Heart

Rochdale – Sacred Heart

Kingsway, Rochdale OL16

The church was economically built in the mid-1950s and is typical of that period in the use of tall portal frames for the main structure, in timber rather than the more usual concrete. While it is both functional and attractive internally, the exterior has lost some of its architectural presence by the removal of the campanile.

At a meeting of the newly-formed Milnrow & Newhey Catholic Association in February 1937 it was decided to use a room at Milnrow Reform Club as a chapel of ease.  The first Mass was celebrated in April 1937. In 1948 Bank House in Milnrow Road became a temporary church for the newly-established parish.

In 1956 the foundation stone of the present church was laid by Bishop Beck and the church was opened in September 1957. The architects were Arthur Farebrother & Partners of Manchester. A presbytery was built at the same time, the combined cost being £50,000.  As originally built, the church had a northwest campanile, but this was demolished in 1988.

The interior was reordered in 1995, when the high altar was reduced in size and brought forward, together with removal of the three steps on which the high altar had been raised and removal of the altar rails and side altars. At the same time some coloured glass by Lightfoots of Manchester was put into the windows.  In 1996 a new parish centre was built as a western extension to the church.  It was designed by Joseph Burke of Greenhalgh & Williams of Bolton. In the same year the church was redecorated and carpeted, the organ renovated and the choir gallery tiered. Coloured glass was installed in the narthex. New statues were introduced in 1997, and the church was dedicated in October of that year.


The church is built with timber portal frames, walls faced externally with red brick and a shallow-pitched roof covered originally in felt but re-covered in 1991 in Decra steel tiles. The side walls of the nave are divided by pilaster strips into five bays on each side, with tall metal-framed windows in each bay and a modern porch in the western bay of the north side. The east wall is blind. Attached to the west end of the church is a lower later building housing the parish centre, with pitched tiled roofs and a large canted bay in the centre of its west front.

The interior is tall and spare. The elegant tapering timber portal frames have side spurs which form narrow passage aisles on either side of the main space. The walls are faced with grey brick, the shallow-pitched ceiling is boarded. The windows are mostly clear-glazed with coloured borders.  Originally the westernmost bay was occupied by an organ gallery, which still exists but has been subsumed into the new parish centre, which extends into the body of the church. The sanctuary extends the full width of the church in the two eastern bays, with the altar set considerably forward from the blind brick east wall. Most of the original sanctuary fittings were simplified and re-positioned in the 1995 re-ordering. The nave benches are original.

Heritage Details

Architect: Arthur Farebrother & Partners

Original Date: 1957

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed