Barnsley Road, Sheffield, S5 0QF
A stripped modern design rooted in historic forms, the apse and tapering tower serving as a local landmark. The austere character of the exterior is continued inside. Building of the church started at the outset of the Second World War and was completed fifteen years later.
The parish was founded from St Catherine, Burngreave (qv) by Canon John White, to serve the large new Shiregreen housing estate to the north of the city. Mass was said by a priest from St Catherine’s from 1924, initially at the Co-op store in Bellhouse Road. The ten-acre site in Barnsley Road was then acquired and a school built in 1927, also used as a Mass centre. The parish was formally erected in 1930 and the presbytery built in 1935. The church came last, the foundation stone for this being laid by Bishop Poskitt of Leeds on 20 June 1939. With the onset of war, the incomplete church, consisting then of the chancel and nave with north entrance, was opened without formality on the Feast of Corpus Christi, 23 May 1940. The architect was Robert Cawkwell of Hadfield & Cawkwell, and the cost £4,000. The building was completed after the war in 1955-6, when the tower, aisles, organ gallery and Lady Chapel were added, at a cost of £15,000.
Today the church is served from St Thomas More, Margetson Crescent (qv), and at the time of the visit the presbytery was not in use.
The building is an austere design in a stripped modern brick style, described as Lombardic in the Diocesan Almanac and Directory for 1941. On plan it consists of a nave with western gallery and passage aisles, apsidal sanctuary and large Lady Chapel to the south. The apsidal east end faced towards the road and is prominent in the approach. The main entrance is on the north side, at the base of the slightly tapering tower, while the ‘west front’, facing towards the school, is treated in a more utilitarian manner. The wall surfaces are articulated by plain pilaster bands which stop short of a raised parapet which largely conceals the roofs. The main lighting is at clerestory level, with thick concrete mullion and transom windows. The metal windows have leaded subdivisions, rainwater goods are cast iron.
A plain rendered arched opening at the base of the tower leads into a small vestibule, and on into the main space. The nave is wide and light, with the reinforced concrete members of the flat ceiling creating a grid effect. Broad pilasters and piers mark the bay divisions, with flat-topped openings to the narrow circulation aisles. In the western bays is an organ gallery (with a handsome organ) over a screened-off ground floor social area. At the east end the tabernacle is placed on a plinth in the apse, with a hanging crucifix over and stained glass windows of four superimposed square lights on either side. The plain forward altar is placed in front, raised on a timber platform, in front of which are simple steel altar rails, made in Sheffield. There is a good set of carved hardwood Stations of the Cross, given by the O’Leary family and said to be of Italian origin, but no other furnishings of particular note.
Architect: Hadfield & Cawkwell
Original Date: 1940
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed