Building » St Helens – St Mary Immaculate

St Helens – St Mary Immaculate

Blackbrook Road, St Helens WA11

A modest-sized stone Gothic design by a well-established firm of Catholic church architects. The site has a long history of Catholicism and an association with the Orrell family, who are commemorated in the church.

A Catholic mission was established in 1674 and the first chapel built in 1752. The present church was built in 1844-5 from designs by Weightman & Hadfield. It stands on land which formerly belonged to the Orrells, a Catholic colliery-owning family, whose red brick house, known as Blackbrook House, still stands a short way from the church. In the mid-nineteenth century the house became a convent for the Sisters of Mercy, who built the Blackbrook House Industrial School attached to the former mansion. The school building was built in 1903-4 from designs by Pugin & Pugin.


Tall simple interior; the nave has four windows on the liturgical north side, three on the south, all of three lights with reticulated tracery. West gallery rebuilt or re-fronted in a plain modern style with an organ by Ardingtons of Preston in a painted Gothic case. Tall timber roof with trusses brought down onto timber wall shafts with angel corbels. The rafters are boarded over. Tall pointed moulded arch on attached columns opens to sanctuary.  On the south side twin pointed arches open to the Orrell Chapel with a large commemorative brass. Beyond is a triple sedilia with a piscina. On the north side an Easter sepulchre. Elaborate five-light traceried east window with stained  glass, perhaps  by  Hardman, with more glass in the Orrell chapel. White and coloured marble reredos of 1931 by Pugin & Pugin (The Buildings of England).  The church was reordered by the Pozzoni partnership in 1993 and given a nave altar. The interior is carpeted throughout.

List description


Catholic Church. 1844-5. By Weightman and Hadfield. Stone with slate roof. 4-bay nave with later narthex, chancel, north vestry and south Orrell chapel (Ritual west is actual north). Nave has 3-light windows with Geometrical tracery between weathered buttresses. North side has small gabled projection at west end with 2-light window. Narthex has straight-headed windows of 2 pointed lights, and Tudor-arched north entrance. Bell cote at east gable end of nave. Chancel and chapel have moulded plinth. Chancel has angle buttresses and 5-light east window with Curvilinear tracery; niche above has nodding-ogee canopy and statue of Virgin and Child. Chapel has 3-light window. Vestry has 2 gabled bays. Interior not inspected.

Heritage Details

Architect: Weightman & Hadfield

Original Date: 1844

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II