Griffith’s Drive, Ashmore Park, Wolverhampton WV11
A modern brick church of 1991 arranged on standard post-Vatican II lines. The exterior is unexceptional but the interior reveals an interesting plan of some architectural imagination.
With the post-war development of the Ashmore Park Estate, a site for a church was purchased from Wednesfield Urban District Council in 1955. At first Mass was celebrated in the Gwyn Morgan Hall on Lichfield Road, which opened on 2 December 1959, serving as a dual-purpose church-cum-social centre. A new school was opened in September 1961 and the presbytery completed in 1967. Proposals for a new church were shelved and a new social centre built instead, opening in December 1976. Shortly after, discussions were opened up with Stone & Co. (Bristol) Ltd for a design and build contract (something the firm had undertaken at a number of sites in the Diocese of Clifton). They were awarded the work but appear to have changed their name to Stone Design Build by the time the church was built. The groundworks were begun in 1990, the foundation stone laid in March 1991 and the church opened in November 1991. The consecration took place on 1 December 2000. An extension linking the church to the presbytery was created in 1998 by Fellows & Sons (Builders), Wednesbury.
The church is faced with red brick and the body of the building forms a single space appropriate for post-Vatican II worship. Its ground plan is slightly irregular but can perhaps be described as a roughly a square set upon a square, hence small triangular projections that protrude beyond the main walls. The worship space is a broad uninterrupted area spanned by massive beams: some are of timber, others may be reinforced concrete. The main lighting is into the sanctuary where the glass contains depictions of people in traditional local occupations at the time when the Ashmore Park Estate was built – mining, chain-making, metal pressing etc., and also prisoners, since there used to be a prison within the parish. The pews are laid out in a fan-shaped arrangement focusing on the sanctuary.
Architect: Stone Design Build of Bristol
Original Date: 1991
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed