Building » Sheffield (Hillsborough) – Sacred Heart

Sheffield (Hillsborough) – Sacred Heart

Forbes Road, Hillsborough, Sheffield, S6

A striking, monumental interwar design by C. M. Hadfield in modern Romanesque style, with Art Deco massing. High quality furnishings include mosaics by Eric Newton and sculptures by Philip Lindsey Clark.

During the post-Reformation period, Catholic Mass was said in a private chapel at Bingles House (later Revell Grange) in the Rivelin valley, the home of the recusant Revell family. By 1860 the growing number of Catholics in Hillsborough were served by priests from St Vincent, Sheffield (qv); Mass was said at Owlerton Barracks until the beginning of the twentieth century, when civilians were no longer able to attend the barracks chapel.  Sacred Heart primary school opened in 1903, and Mass was said here as a temporary measure, the priest living in renting premises on Langsett Road. In 1920 the parish of Sacred Heart was erected, and the Rev. Robert Dunford appointed parish priest. He built a temporary church, which opened in February 1921 and cost £3,000. Shortly afterwards, he purchased a property to serve as a presbytery and a site on Forbes Road on which to build a permanent church. C. M. Hadfield of Hadfield & Cawkwell was commissioned to design this, and the foundation stone was laid on 7 July 1935 by Bishop Cowgill of Leeds. The church was opened by the Archbishop of Liverpool, Richard Downey on 25 March 1936. It was built to accommodate 500 people and cost £13,000 (of which £10,000 was donated by Mrs Wake, a widow). The builders were W.G. Robson Ltd.

The church was dedicated on 7 March 1947. In July 1953 it was presented with a new Portland stone font and screen for the baptistery. To commemorate the silver jubilee of the church, Fr Farrell commissioned Eric Newton of the Oppenheimer workshop, Manchester to add mosaics in the side chapels; Newton had previously created the mosaics for the high altar reredos.

Post-Vatican II reordering in 1966 involved the placing of a temporary oak altar in the centre of the sanctuary, retaining the high altar in its original position. In the late twentieth century a new forward altar was created, cutting the original high altar down and using its stone and green marble in a new forward altar and tabernacle stand.

Problems of rainwater ingress led to a decision in 1983 to build a pitched roof over the original flat roof, using polystyrene blocks covered with roofing felt. In 2012, a Garden of Remembrance was constructed on previously unused space to the liturgical north of the church.


The list entry (below) provides a thorough account of the building, and repetition is unnecessary. However, there are some omissions, including:

  • Sculptural work by Philip Lindsey Clark includes the Portland stone tympanum to the western entrance, with the story of Lourdes and including depictions of the architect C. M. Hadfield and Canon Dunford, builder of the church. Internally, Clark provided the Stations of the Cross and statues of St Theresa, Our Lady of Lourdes and St Joseph all in Portland stone.
  • Windows are filled with hand-made amber tinted glass.
  • There are polished stone floors to the nave, aisles and transepts, and marble to sanctuary.
  • The original bell was supplied by John Taylor of Loughborough and an additional smaller bell was provided by the same company in 1943.
  • The organ in the choir gallery is of 1936 (case by Albert Keates of Sheffield).

List description


Roman Catholic church. 1936. Designed by CM Hadfield. Red brick with brown brick and ashlar dressings and plain tile roof. Romanesque Revival style. PLAN: nave with apse, side chapels, transepts, vestries, nave with clerestory and aisles, west tower, porches. EXTERIOR: plinth, coped parapets. Windows are mainly metal framed casements. Chancel has 5 incised string courses. On either side, 3 windows, and below them, windowless square side chapels. Windowless apse. Square ended transepts have each a large round window, and to west, a single window. South transept has to west a square projection with 3 flat-headed windows, containing confessionals. North transept has a single storey vestry, 2 x 3 windows. Clerestory has 11 windows on each side, arranged 1:3:3:3:1. Aisles are windowless. South side has off-centre canted baptistry, also windowless. West tower, 3 stages, has corner pilasters forming panelled sides, stepped cheeks to north and south, and deep parapet. Ground stage has central round-arched west doorway with projecting brick surround and ashlar central pier with relief carving, flanked by double board doors. Relief carving in tympanum by Lindsey Clarke. Above the door, 2 windows. Second stage has 2 flat-headed windows to north and south. Bell stage has 3 round-arched louvred openings to east and west, and 2 similar openings to north and south. Flanking the tower, single square porches with round-arched openings to west and in either side, with corresponding inner doorways. North and south openings have brick balustrades. To north, a single storey corridor linked to the Presbytery (not included).

INTERIOR: nave and chancel have continuous cross beam ceiling. Sanctuary has large mosaic panel by Eric Newton, with a recessed tabernacle. Chancel has a round-arched recess on each side into the side chapels. Side chapels have segmental east ends with sculptured figures, and panelled ceilings with rooflights. Transepts have to east round arches to the side chapels, and above them, mosaic panels by Eric Newton, 1961. South end has a figure niche, north end a round-arched recess with double doors to the vestries. Nave has 5 bay round-arched arcades to narrow side passages, which have blind arcades. At the west end, projecting single bays with round-arched doorways. South-east side has panelled double doors with blank overlight, to confessionals. North side has baptistry entrance with wrought-iron screen and overthrow. West end has 3 round arches, the larger central one with double doors and overlight, the flanking ones with single doors. Above, a gallery with round-arched wooden balustrade. Entrance lobby has doors on 3 sides, and cast-iron spiral stair to gallery. Fittings include octagonal stone font with panelled octagonal wooden canopy topped with a spire supported by volutes, 1953. Teak benches and plain octagonal panelled pulpit and lectern. No memorials.

(150 Years of Architectural Drawing: Hadfield, Cawkwell, Davidson: Sheffield: 1984-; Church Golden Jubilee Booklet: Sheffield: 1986-).

Listing NGR: SK3339089492

Heritage Details

Architect: Hadfield & Cawkwell

Original Date: 1936

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II