Building » Sutton Coldfield (Boldmere) – St Nicholas

Sutton Coldfield (Boldmere) – St Nicholas

Jockey Road, Boldmere, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham B73

An economical post-war brick church in a simplified Romanesque style with an unassuming exterior and a more impressive interior of hall church character.

The building of the first Catholic chapel in the hamlet of Boldmere near Sutton Coldfield was linked to the foundation of the new Catholic college at Oscott. Land was purchased in 1839 and a small chapel and two cottages erected in 1840. According to the parish history, these were designed by A. W. Pugin, but they are not so attributed in any of the major published sources on Pugin. For the next thirty years the chapel was served by clergy from Oscott College. From 1883 it was served by the German Benedictines at Erdington Abbey.

When the Benedictines returned to Germany in 1922, Boldmere was established as a separate parish. A temporary church/hall was built in 1929 to cater for the rapidly increasing population of the area and in 1951 a licence was obtained for building a new church, prompted by a substantial donation from a local farmer named Robert Plant. The architects were Victor S. Peel of Temple Street, Birmingham and T. Morris (builders Messrs Collins and Godfrey). The foundation stone was laid by Archbishop Masterson on 5 July 1952 and the building completed in 1953. According to the diocesan directory (1952), ‘the complete plan has been restricted by Government licence, and a shortened nave with a temporary porch will have to suffice for some years to come’. A substantial porch was added in 1958.  A school was built next to the church in 1968 and a presbytery in 1970. The sanctuary of the church was reordered in 1978.  A parish room was built onto the east end of the church in 2003.

Both the 1840 chapel and the 1929 church/hall have been demolished, the former in 1961. The presbytery was built in 1970 (architects Pinkheard & Partners, Oxford) and a parish room was added at the back of the church in 2003.


The church is in a simplified Romanesque style. The plan comprises a nave with tall passage aisles, a western vestibule, southeast and northeast side chapels and a short sanctuary. The external walls are faced with buff-coloured bricks laid in Flemish bond with red brick dressings; the roofs are covered in tiles. The main west gable wall is framed by broad pilasters with long arched niches and has triple stepped windows under a stepped round arch. In front of the west wall is a substantial flat-roofed porch, a slightly later addition, with a central doorway under a round-headed stepped arch and lower side sections each with two windows. The nave side walls each have three pairs of tall round-headed windows and side chapels under lean-to roofs. The east end of the church is now enclosed by the single-storey parish room.

The interior of the nave has plastered walls and five bay arcades of round arches dying into tall square piers which also support the wide round arches of the nave roof and narrow arches over the aisles. Round-headed arches open into the small side chapels.  The chancel arch is also round-headed and the sanctuary beyond is two bays deep with a blind stepped arch in the east wall. The windows are clear glazed. The marble sanctuary fittings date from 1989. The altar and reredos in the southeast chapel (a war memorial dedicated to The English Martyrs) date from 1956 and were designed by Philip Lindsey Clark of London. A bell from the 1840 chapel hangs in the entrance vestibule and two statues from the chapel are preserved in the parish room.

Heritage Details

Architect: Victor S. Peel and T. Morris

Original Date: 1953

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed