High Street, Silverdale, Staffordshire ST5
The chief interest of the church is in its unusual arched brick front and lamella roof construction, here used at quite an early date after its development about 1920 (but renewed after a fire). Although the original cupola has been lost, and the felt roof covering somewhat detracts, the building continues to make an interesting and appealing contribution to the local streetscape.
The first foundation (from Holy Trinity, Newcastle), was the church of the Sacred Heart, Silverdale, which was opened in a former school in Victoria Street in 1889. A resident priest was appointed in 1916. Land for the present church was purchased in 1923 and the church was built in 1924-5. A newspaper account from the time of the opening comments on the ‘non-plus roof … of lamella construction on Gothic lines’, which afforded an unobstructed view of the sanctuary and pulpit. This is quite an early example of such roof construction, patented in Germany in 1921. A popular story is that the roof came from the South African Pavilion at the British Empire Exhibition held at Wembley in 1924, but there is no evidence for this and the form of the roof is different that at the pavilion. Early photographs show some form of sheet cladding to the roof, and a cupola surmounted by a cross towards the west end, now lost, possibly as a result of the serious fire of 1997, after which there was much rebuilding and refurnishing. The church was consecrated on 23 November 2012 and is served from Newcastle.
The most conspicuous feature of the building is the street front, in the form of a brick arch with three courses of brick-on-edge below the copings. The wall face below the arch is faced with red brick with blue brick banding. In the centre of the front is a niche under a pointed arch, containing a statue of the Sacred Heart, which is flanked by two windows with pointed heads. Behind the façade a barrel roof now with felt cladding is brought down on to brick side walls with paired square timber windows under lintels. On the left hand side are the sacristies and a WC (the latter having been built taking up an entrance).
The church is entered via porch projections at the sides. The interior has a welcoming character and is dominated by the lamella-construction roof. This was a popular type of roofing between the wars, being of relatively cheap construction but with a fine visual effect. It presents itself as a series of lozenges on which plain horizontal boards are laid. There is a plain but elegant octagonal stone font which may date from the building of the church. The stone altar, installed for the consecration, is Victorian and said to have come from a church in Liverpool; its three panels have insets of green Connemara marble.
Architect: B. J. Pattison of Newcastle
Original Date: 1925
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed