Hoylake Road, Moreton, Wallasey, Wirral CH46
The Sacred Heart church was an ambitious project built for a growing township in the immediate post-war period. The design by Reynolds & Scott is typically robust in a stripped Gothic style rather than their usual Romanesque. The west tower is the dominant feature, in which decorative embellishment is concentrated, but the presbytery is given almost equal prominence to the church when seen from the roadside.
In the early twentieth century Moreton was a favoured holiday place for its sea and clean air, and summer camps were established on the seashore where Mass was said each Sunday in the months of June, July and August. In time the resident population expanded, and from 1921 Mass was said all the year round in a cafe by the shore. In 1923 a new church, designed by Bishop Singleton, was built at a cost of £1,200, and in 1934 a school was added. After the Second World War, a major programme of house building was carried out, involving relocation from Seacombe, which swiftly increased the Catholic population to over 2,000. The old church being too small, Mass was said in the hall of the school. In 1949 a site at Moreton Cross was acquired for a new and larger church, designed by Reynolds & Scott, which opened in June 1957. A major re-ordering of the church was carried out in 2007 by David Ireland of Hulme Upright.
The church was built in 1956-57 to the design of Reynolds & Scott of Manchester. It has a dominant west tower fronting Hoylake Road, with a five-bay nave, side aisles, a sanctuary, two chapels, a baptistery, and several sacristies. It is built of pale brown brick with dressings of Hollington stone and a green Westmorland slate roof. The base of the tower forms a narthex, which is screened from the nave by a carved oak screen. Above the narthex is a choir gallery. The style is stripped Gothic, with the decorative emphasis placed on the dominant west tower.
The interior is plastered with a brick plinth, and the open timber roof is supported on brick arches spanning the nave. The floor of the nave, aisles and sacristies is paved in green and buff terrazzo tiles, and the sanctuary and chapels in mosaic by L. Oppenheimer. The carved oak reredos and other joinery was the work of Scott Morton of Edinburgh. The statues of St Anthony and St Teresa of Lisieux were carved by Ferdinand Stuflesser, and the Stations of the Cross are of opus sectile, made by Hardmans.
The recent and sympathetic re-ordering by David Ireland involved a reduction in the length of the sanctuary, with a new east wall constructed west of the original high altar. The reredos was moved forward, but the altar was left in its original position, in what has now been turned into a sacristy. The new high altar is constructed of marble in a style that matches the original pulpit and font. New art installed at the time of the re-ordering includes a processional cross by David John and four stained glass windows by Linda Walton of Design Lights.
Original Date: 1957
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed