Ashcroft Road, Stopsley, Luton, Bedfordshire
A post-war structure built as a dual-purpose church and hall, later adapted and extended. After the plainness of the outside, the internal parabolic coffered ceiling is a surprise.
A mission was established at Stopsley in 1946; there were around 300 Catholics, and at first Mass was said in the village hall. In the absence of a Catholic school, at the end of the 1940s permission was received from the local authority to build a hall where children could receive instruction. The hall, built in 1950, doubled up as a church. There is no information in the diocesan archive about the building.
The parish was erected in 1953. In 1963 the seating capacity was doubled by an extension providing new aisles, gallery and porch. The church was consecrated in 2008.
This small brick church was originally designed as a church hall and externally it retains that simple character, with a plain gable-ended frontage with raised parapet and long, slender tripartite window flanked by two smaller windows. The small original small was replaced in 1963 with a full-width one, with two double doors.
Inside, the church consists of a porch with gallery over, nave, aisles, sanctuary and sacristy. The rectangular nave is plastered and painted, its most unexpected feature being the tall, parabolic-vaulted coffered ceiling. The aisles date from 1963, separated from the nave by plain circular columns, with a horizontal clerestory above. The windows have been replaced in uPVCu. The gallery is contemporary with the aisles. The pews, on a carpeted floor, are of plain, varnished wood. There is a confessional at the west end of the south aisle. The small pipe organ was bought in 2008, apparently from the Royal Albert Hall. The altar is on a raised timber dais, with the original flat canopy above it.
Architect: Not established
Original Date: 1950
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed