Building » Salford – St Thomas of Canterbury

Salford – St Thomas of Canterbury

Great Cheetham Street East, Higher Broughton, Salford M7

The church was built at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and is of some architectural quality, with a spacious interior. It retains some good quality furnishings, such as the reredos and stained glass.

Broughton is a suburb of Salford which began as a genteel settlement in the early nineteenth century. Expansion followed as industry encroached, and the area became crowded with cheaper housing. A school chapel was opened in 1879 and the present church was built on the adjacent site in 1900-01, being opened by Bishop Bilsborrow on 24 November 1901. There were reports of the opening in the Catholic and local press and more articles on it in 1933, but the name of the architect is not mentioned in these sources. Similarities with the contemporary nearby church of St Joseph, Ordsall (qv) suggest the involvement of W. Randolph (Lawrence Gregory in Salford Diocesan Archives confirms contemporary accounts in The Harvest Magazine, diocesan newspaper name Randolph as architect). Fr Flavin was put in charge of the mission, and instigated the addition of a reredos for the high altar, stained glass windows and an organ. A photograph of the interior (without seating, possibly at the time of the church’s consecration), is shown at figure 1. This shows a rood at the chancel arch (said to have been brought from the earlier church), the reredos, stained glass in the east window, altar rails and a nave pulpit.

The presbytery was probably built in around 1880 and extended in 1950.  The church was extended to the (liturgical) west when a porch was added in the mid-twentieth century. There was probably a reordering in the 1960s or 1970s, but the most recent work was undertaken in the 1980s, when a screen was inserted to form a narthex, the baptistery moved to the Sacred Heart Chapel and the space converted to a piety stall. New sanctuary furnishings were introduced, and at this or an earlier time the high altar was removed. Screens were also inserted around the Lady Chapel.  

All orientations given are liturgical. The church is of red brick with stone dressings and blue brick diaperwork in the northwest porch. The windows have tracery of broadly Decorated style. There are aisles and a tall clerestory, chancel chapels and south transept. A northwest porch incorporates a carved figure of St Thomas above the doorway. The mid-twentieth century west porch has a mosaic panel above the entrance. There is a small bellcote at the east end of the nave. The church is tall and spacious, with a west gallery and painted stone arcades. A rood beam supports a Crucifix and said to have come from the predecessor church. Stained glass in the east window is of good quality and was installed in 1906. Another good window in the Lady Chapel was installed in 1912.  An ornate carved reredos at the east end has been painted, and modern furnishings are ranged in front of it. The present baptistery has a tub font and painted bas-relief panel showing the Baptism of Christ. The west end of the church was altered when the porch was added, when it seems that the stair to the gallery was replaced. The foundation stone can be seen high in the wall inside the porch.

Heritage Details

Architect: W. Randolph

Original Date: 1901

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed