Southend Road, Wybourn, Sheffield, S2
A pleasing low-key design of the 1950s by R. A. Ronchetti, built to serve an interwar housing estate.
During the interwar period the local authority built about 28,000 houses in the outskirts of Sheffield. One of the new estates was the Wybourn Estate. Catholics here initially attended Mass at St Marie’s, but by 1935 the chapel at the City Road Cemetery was used (and later a school hall). Canon Oswald Dolan initiated a fund for the building of a new school and church, and land was subsequently purchased on Southend Road. The school, named St Oswald’s in honour of Canon Dolan, was built first and opened in 1940; Mass was said in the school chapel. The parish was erected in 1948 but Mass continued at the school until 1955, when the present church was opened by Bishop Heenan of Leeds. It was dedicated to Our Lady Queen of Heaven. The architect of the church (and presbytery) was R. A. Ronchetti LRIBA of Harrogate. The church was designed to seat 375 and the cost of the project was approximately £18,000. In 1985 the dedication was changed to Our Lady Queen of Heaven and St Oswald, reflecting the title of the parish. Today the church is served from St Marie’s Cathedral, and Sisters of Divine Providence occupy the presbytery.
The church is a modest, low-key design by R. A. Ronchetti of Harrogate, built in 1955. The walls are faced with multicoloured sand-faced bricks laid in Flemish bond, with artificial stone dressings to the windows, copings and cross, while the roof is tiled. The plan is rectangular and consists of a narthex with baptistery and gallery over, aisleless nave and lower sanctuary with attached sacristy linking to the contemporary presbytery. At the west end the entrance has a flat projecting hood and with the large three-light window above is set within a moulded brick recess. There are projecting piers at the corner, and the gable is crowned with a stone cross. There are four round-arched windows to the side elevations, while the east gable end is plain.
Inside, a choir gallery with an organ by Jardine & Company Ltd of Manchester (1962) is located over a small narthex and baptistery. The nave is aisleless, with buff-coloured sand-faced brickwork to the walls. It is lit from the sides by round-arched windows. The ceiling is of canted tiles (according to the architect’s account) of Celox in AND/Wedge construction. The flooring of the nave was (originally at least) covered in thermoplastic tiles, but is now carpeted. The entrance to the sanctuary has a segmental brick arch with battered jambs. The sanctuary is raised by one step and the altar by two. The area is partially covered with carpet with sections of the original Terrazzo flooring still visible. The east wall has a central curtain reredos with crucifix and the area is lit by two windows on the north side. The Terrazzo altar rails have been removed and a forward altar introduced in a post-Vatican II reordering.
Architect: R.A. Ronchetti
Original Date: 1955
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed