Chestnut Grove, Wavertree, Liverpool 15
A substantial and well-designed church by J. & B. Sinnott. While the tower and spire were never built as originally intended, the exterior of the church is well detailed and contributes to the character of the Wavertree Conservation Area. The interior is well-proportioned and contains a number of significant original furnishings. The adjoining parish centre predates the church and is also of interest, although altered.
The church of Our Lady of Good Help was built in 1885-7 to house a congregation that had been meeting in the former Wavertree Town Hall on Chestnut Grove. When the church was erected on the adjoining site, the Town Hall became the presbytery. Shortly afterwards, the sacristies were added (by Weightman & Hadfield, according to the Archdiocese Directory).
The church was designed by J. & B. Sinnott and erected in 1885-7. It is built of coursed rock-faced buff sandstone, with red sandstone dressings. There is a nave with aisles, a polygonal apse, two chapels, and a large southwest porch, which was intended to form the base for a tower and steeple (as shown on an engraved drawing kept at the church). The style is thirteenth century Gothic with intersecting tracery, buttresses, and a patterned slate roof. The west gable wall has a large multi-light Geometric window, set above a recessed entrance. The sacristies are in a similar style, and extend to the street edge at the southeast corner of the site.
The interior is tall and narrow, lit by a clerestorey set above a five-bay arcade with quatrefoil piers and foliate capitals. The roof of the nave has a pointed arched timber roof, and the apse roof is vaulted. At the west end is an organ loft above a timber porch. The interior was reordered in the late 1980s, when the sanctuary fittings were removed and a nave altar introduced. This is made up of fragments from the original high altar. The marble pulpit survives in its original position at the north side of the chancel arch, and there is a fine white marble statue of the Virgin and Child on the south side. The windows of the apse are filled with stained glass depicting devotional scenes. The northeast chapel has an elaborate marble and alabaster altar with carved angels. The pews are late nineteenth century, possibly original.
The parish centre is a symmetrical brick and stone building of five bays designed in the Italianate style. It dates from the mid-nineteenth century, and is said to have been built as the original Wavertree Town Hall. The central entrance has been crudely replaced with a window, and the interior retains few of its original fittings.
Architect: J. & B. Sinnott
Original Date: 1885
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed