Lapwing Grove, Palace Fields, Runcorn, Cheshire, WA7
A small, functional multi-purpose chapel built in 1977 as part of the adjacent primary school during the growth of Runcorn New Town, extended and altered in 2005.
In 1974 the Society of the Divine Saviour (Salvatorians) was entrusted with the care of Palace Fields, an expanding part of Runcorn New Town. A Primary School incorporating the chapel of Our Lady was designed by Weightman & Bullen in 1976, and a presbytery constructed. The design of the school and chapel was later adapted for St Martin, Murdishaw (qv).
A small and functional chapel, integral with the school to which it is attached. The chapel is orientated with the sanctuary to the northwest, but for this description this will be referred to as the liturgical east end. Externally the walls are clad with red brick with a pitched roof to the east and a catslide roof to a vertical glazed wall with a short pitched roof to the west, laid with terracotta tiles; the pitched roof extension was added in 2005. The east elevation comprises two walls at right angles under a projecting roof, and has full-height rectangular windows. Further rectangular windows flank the north and east elevation and the original clerestory glazing has been moved to these elevations; the north elevation also has a fire exit door. The east side of the chapel is connected to the school.
Internally the chapel is small and compact, although it was extended in 2005. It has a pitched suspended ceiling and lofty glazed ‘tower’ above the sanctuary. The west end comprises a double folding screen to the school hall. The walls are plastered and painted and the floor is covered with a modern carpet. The clerestory glazing on the north and south walls, moved from the east wall in 2005, depicts scenes from the Crucifixion in silhouette on yellow and clear glass. The east windows and their coloured glazing were also added in 2005. The sanctuary is placed upon a dais at the east end, and the altar and ambo are new additions of 2005. Seating is provided by a combination of original pine benches and modern movable chairs, designed for the chapel.
The concept of the multi-purpose chapel/hall/school/church, still seen at St Martin’s, Murdishaw (qv), has been diluted. For both weekday and weekend Masses the chapel is used as described above, but for large occasions, the screen can be folded back to provide additional space. Originally there were steps between the chapel and hall, with the hall on a lower level; this has been altered for ease of access.
Architect: Weightman & Bullen
Original Date: 1977
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed