Bury New Road, Whitefield, Manchester M45
The Manchester architects Reynolds & Scott designed a large number of well detailed churches with simple, vaguely Romanesque, exteriors and interiors enhanced by the play of round arches. St Bernadette’s, built in the mid 1950s, is typical of their work.
Whitefield is an old hamlet which developed during the nineteenth century as a dormitory town of Manchester. St Bernadette’s parish was erected in 1952. The foundation stone of a new church designed by Reynolds & Scott was laid in 1955 and the building opened in 1956. A large presbytery by the same architects was added in 1958 and new parish hall designed by L. L. Bellotti in 1961. The parish was combined with that of St Michael’s Whitefield in July 2009.
The church occupies a site which slopes up from front to rear. The building is in a stripped modern version of the Romanesque style and is conventionally orientated. It comprises nave and tall aisles under a single shallow-pitched roof which is continued over the short sanctuary. There are shallow transeptal projections at the east and west end of the nave; those to the south have side entrances. The walls are faced with brown brick with a red brick plinth, the copings are of artificial stone, the roof is covered with Welsh slate. The west front has a central entrance up steps with mosaic decoration in the arched tympanum. On either side are pairs of small windows with a pair of taller windows above. The nave side walls rising to the eaves of the roof are of four bays with tall single lancet windows.
The interior is astylar. The walls are plain plastered throughout. The nave has a west gallery with a vestibule beneath with the former baptistery at one end and the gallery stairs at the other. The nave has a segmental plaster ceiling and side arcades with tall round-headed openings. The passage aisles have transverse arches between each bay with a barrel vault over. The lancet windows have leaded lights with coloured borders and emblems of the Passion. The last bay of the nave is widened and carried up as a small transept, with a chapel on the north side. The sanctuary itself is one bay deep, divided from the nave by a wide arched opening and with an arched recess on the east wall framing the altar.
Original Date: 1955
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed