Building » Shaw – St Joseph

Shaw – St Joseph

Oldham Road, Shaw, Oldham OL2 8SZ

A modest design of the 1980s, replacing and incorporating furnishings from the predecessor church of 1896. The most notable new furnishings are the windows by Dom Charles Norris of Buckfast Abbey. 

A mission was founded at Shaw in 1874, served from St Mary’s Oldham.  Mass was initially said in a building used by fustian cutters, but this was replaced by a new school and church built in 1896. The red brick building fronted the road and provided a first floor church, with the school on the ground floor.  Photographs in the Diocesan Archives show a richly furnished church interior. The stone presbytery was built in 1890.

A scheme for a new church and parish centre was proposed in 1971, designed by T. Keith McCann Associates but not built.  The old church was demolished in 1984 after the present church was built by Fr Scanlan, from designs by Peter Woodcock of Ramsbottom.  The contractor was Naylor & Walkden of Adlington. New artworks and furnishings were provided by Dom. Charles Norris of Buckfast Abbey and Eddie Blackwell of Didsbury, while some fittings from the Victorian church were re-used, including stained glass, pews and the Stations of the Cross. The octagonal font was re-sited in the presbytery garden. The new church was dedicated on 8 June 1987.

A parish centre was built adjacent to the church in 2002.


The low, rectangular building is faced in a red brick with a shallow-pitched pyramidal roof, laid with concrete tiles. The church is orientated with the sanctuary to the west; in this description, liturgical compass points are used.  The entrance at the west end is within a projecting gabled porch facing the car park, with re-set late nineteenth coloured glass windows.  The nave is lit from the sides and west by re-set nineteenth century windows with leaded and coloured glass. The sanctuary is expressed by a gabled clerestory window projecting above the east roof pitch, and lit from the side by large dalle de verre windows designed by Dom Charles Norris of Buckfast Abbey. Sacristies are arranged behind the sanctuary at the east end.

Inside, the small narthex has a shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes. The wide nave has plain plastered walls, acoustic tiles to the roof soffit and carpet to the floor. There are recesses to north and south for statues of St Francis and St Joseph; these and the pine benches were re-used from the late-nineteenth century church. The sanctuary has late-twentieth century marble liturgical fittings, and three dalle de verre stained glass windows by Dom Charles Norris. The design of the altar is based on one at Lourdes. The wooden Stations of the Cross are from the earlier church, and there is a brass First World War memorial.

Heritage Details

Architect: Peter Woodcock

Original Date: 1984

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed