Manchester Road, Walkden, Worsley, Manchester M28
A striking but nonetheless mainstream design of the early 1960s (i.e. before the Second Vatican Council) with longitudinal plan, reinforced concrete frame and off-centre bell tower. The church has a calm, dignified and well-lit interior.
Walkden grew from village origins during the nineteenth century as a result of local coalmining and textile production. Twentieth century housing necessitated the establishment of a new Catholic parish, and after the Second World War a large house was acquired to serve as a presbytery, where Mass was said from 1952. A temporary building was later erected and existing buildings on the site adapted for church use. Two of them remain in parish use.
The present church was built in 1961-2, from designs by J. C. Prestwich & Sons. Post-Vatican II reordering involved removal of the altar rails and the introduction of a forward altar. The canopy over the altar and eastern crucifix were retained. Stained glass was introduced to the north end of the narthex in 2005, and chairs in the sanctuary were obtained and modified in recent years.
All orientations given are liturgical. The building has a reinforced concrete portal frame and is clad in brown brick laid in stretcher bond with a little green slate hanging at the west end and a copper-clad roof. There is a tall, slender, square-plan northwest campanile tower with slit belfry openings and a low porch leading to a narthex beneath a west gallery. The north side of the east end is lit by a full-height glazed screen in muted colours and geometrical designs in concrete. Nave windows are strictly speaking clerestory windows, in the form of three-light vertical strips, positioned over low processional aisles. There is a sparing scheme of coloured glass with panels showing figures and sacred symbols. A spacious narthex is lit at one end by a window with abstract glazing by Pendle Stained glass, installed in 2005. The main space is well-lit with a spacious feel. There is a former baptistery in one bay of the south aisle, now a chapel, with the original decorative screen and gates with baptismal symbols and coloured glass in the outer wall. The simple sanctuary furnishings appear to have been replaced, probably during a reordering which involved removal of the altar rails. There is a forward altar and oak chairs from Mount St Bernard Abbey. A crucifix attached to the east wall and canopy over are original.
Architect: J. C. Prestwich & Sons
Original Date: 1962
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed