A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 7, the City of Birmingham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1964.
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Missions and Churches founded since 1786
Christ the King, Kingstanding: Warren Farm Road. The mission was established in 1932; the church, a rectangular weather-boarded hall, was opened in 1934. (fn. 1)
Corpus Christi, Stechford: Lyttleton Road. The mission was established in 1919 and mass was said in the presbytery until a temporary church was opened. (fn. 2) The permanent church, opened in 1929, (fn. 3) is a roughcast building consisting of a chancel and an aisled and clerestoried nave.
ENGLISH MARTYRS, Sparkhill: Evelyn Road. The mission was established in 1908 at 524, Stratford Road. A school was used as a chapel from 1911 (fn. 4) until 1923, when a new church was opened; it was consecrated in 1946. (fn. 5) The building is of dark red brick with stone dressings and consists of an apsidal chancel, an aisled and clerestoried nave and a southwest bell-tower of Romanesque design. The decoration of the interior, where much use is made of mosaic and coloured marbles, is Byzantine in feeling. A presbytery adjoins the church on the south side.
[Hall Green]. From 1840 to 1848 mass was apparently celebrated at Hall Green by priests from Solihull. (fn. 6)
HOLY FAMILY, Small Heath: Coventry Road. The mission was founded in 1901 from St. Anne's and mass was said in a workshop in Green Lane until 1903 when a chapel in the upper floor of a new school was opened. (fn. 7) The permanent church, opened in 1928, (fn. 8) is of dark red brick with stone dressings and is roofed with green slate. It is built in the form of a Greek cross, part of the western arm being occupied by a porch and gallery; the central space is lit by round-headed clerestory windows.
ORATORY CHURCH OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, Hagley Road. The mission was served by the Oratory priests. (fn. 9) The first church was opened in 1853 by the Oratorians, who had moved to Edgbaston from Alcester Street in 1852; it was enlarged in 1858 and 1861. (fn. 10) The present church was built as a memorial to Cardinal Newman, the nave and aisles being opened in 1906 and the church completed in 1909 (fn. 11) (consecrated 1920). (fn. 12) It forms part of a large group of buildings which include the Oratory School and the rooms where Newman spent his last years. The church is faced with limestone and was designed in the Italian Renaissance style by E. Doran Webb. (fn. 13) The west front, approached from a courtyard, has three entrances leading into a brickvaulted narthex which contains a bust of Newman. The nave is roofed with a barrel vault pierced by large dormer windows, and is divided from the narrow passage aisles by Corinthian colonnades of marble, each having seven bays. The dome above the crossing is faced with copper externally. The south transept contains an elaborate organ loft and the north transept a large altarpiece. The apsidal chancel is roofed by a semi-dome lined with mosaic; the high altar is of marble with a gilt canopy. There are subsidiary altars in the aisles and transepts and in a later chapel to the east of the north transept. The church is richly decorated and furnished throughout, much use being made of Renaissance ornament, gilding and coloured marbles.
OUR LADY OF FATIMA, Maypole: Bells Lane. The mission was established in 1951 and served from St. Dunstan's, King's Heath, q.v. (fn. 14) The church is a small rectangular brick building.
OUR LADY OF FATIMA, Quinton: Higgins Lane. The mission was established in 1952 and served from Warley (Worcs.). (fn. 15) The church, which consists of nave and chancel, is a simple brick structure with circular and round-headed windows.
OUR LADY HELP OF CHRISTIANS, Stechford: Lea Hall. The mission was established in 1951 (fn. 16) and in 1961 mass was being said in the hall of Archbishop Williams' Roman Catholic Secondary School.
OUR LADY OF LOURDES, Yardley Wood: Trittiford Road. The mission was established in 1931; the church, a brick school hall, was opened in 1935. From 1951 priests from here also celebrated mass at Glenavon Road, Warstock, Yardley Wood. (fn. 17)
OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY AND ST. TERESA OF Saltley: Parkfield Road. The mission was established in 1914 (fn. 18) and mass was said in Highfield Road Council School until a temporary church was opened in 1921. (fn. 19) The permanent church, opened in 1923 and consecrated in 1934, (fn. 20) is a large redbrick building with stone dressings, roofed with green slate. It is Romanesque in style, the gableends and the large central tower being decorated with Lombardic arcading. The building is cruciform, containing a clerestoried nave, passage aisles, transepts, and a shallow chancel with an apsidal recess in its east wall.
OUR LADY AND ST. BRIGID, Northfield: Frankley Beeches Road. The mission was established in Steel Road in 1918. (fn. 21) The permanent church, opened in 1936, is of light red brick and consists of a clerestoried nave divided from passage aisles by unmoulded round-headed openings, a chancel, and a south chapel. At the south-west corner a square bell-tower is combined with a porch. In 1954 mass was also celebrated at Rubery County School. (fn. 22)
OUR LADY AND ST. ROSE, Weoley Castle: Gregory Avenue. The mission was established in 1933. (fn. 23) From 1936 to 1960 mass was said in the school hall. (fn. 24) In 1959 a large new church was begun on an adjacent site to the design of Adrian Gilbert Scott. (fn. 25) This is of light red brick and consists of a wide nave with horizontal clerestory windows, passage aisles, a square-ended chancel, a south chapel, and a series of low rooms enclosing the chancel. A deeplyrecessed elliptical archway in the west tower forms an external porch. In 1954 mass was also celebrated at Adams Hill School, Bartley Green. (fn. 26)
SACRED HEART AND HOLY SOULS, Acock's Green: 1151, Warwick Road. Mass was said to be celebrated occasionally at Acock's Green in the early 19th century. (fn. 27) The mission was established in 1905, when a convent was founded at Wilton House with a presbytery next door. Mass was said in a greenhouse until a chapel was opened in 1907 in the upper floor of a new school. (fn. 28) The permanent church was opened in 1940 and consecrated in 1945. (fn. 29) This is a Gothic building of grey brick with stone dressings having an aisleless nave of seven bays, a north transept and a narrow chancel with a semi-octagonal east end. There are three recessed confessionals on the south side of the nave and two similar recesses on the north side, each surmounted by a tall Gothic window under a gabled roof.
SACRED HEART AND ST. MARGARET MARY, Aston: Witton Road. The mission was established and an iron church, dedicated to the Sacred Heart and St. Thomas of Canterbury, was opened in 1897. (fn. 30) The iron church was moved from the site of the present church to Prestbury Road c. 1915. (fn. 31) A permanent church (dedicated to the Sacred Heart and St. Margaret Mary) (fn. 32) was opened in 1922 and consecrated in 1933. (fn. 33) It was designed by G. B. Cox, and externally is Italian Romanesque in style and of brindled brick with stone dressings. There is a lofty north-west tower of five stages, the upper four of deep red brick. The tympanum above the west door contains a Crucifixion in mosaic. The interior is Byzantine in feeling, the aisled nave having arcades supported on short granite columns with cushion capitals. A semi-dome at the east end of the chancel contains mosaic figures.
ST. ANNE, Alcester Street. The mission was founded by the Oratorians in 1849. (fn. 34) After they had moved to Edgbaston in 1852 they served the Alcester Street mission for a short while. (fn. 35) Their house there was used by the Sisters of Mercy for some years, and in 1859 the mission priest was also chaplain of the convent. (fn. 36) A new church was opened in 1884 (consecrated 1936) and the old one, which had originally been a distillery, was then used as a school. (fn. 37) Since 1938 the mission has been conducted by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. (fn. 38) St. John, Balsall Heath, q.v., was served from here from 1896 to 1903. The church of St. Anne, designed by A. Vicars (fn. 39) in the Early English style, is of red brick with bands of darker brick and stone dressings. A square north-west tower has an octagonal belfry stage surmounted by a short stone spire. The nave is separated from wide aisles by Gothic arcades and is lit by lancet windows in the clerestory and aisles; there is a rose window at the east end of the chancel.
St. Augustine (of Canterbury), Handsworth: Avenue Road. A school chapel in Albert Road was opened in 1905 and served from St. Francis. It was moved to Oxhill Road in 1908. There was a resident priest from 1913. (fn. 40) The new church, opened in 1939, (fn. 41) is of textured brick with a pantile roof and is in a modern Romanesque style. A tall bell-tower at the north-west corner carries a life-sized figure of St. Augustine. The aisled nave is well lit by roundheaded windows at clerestory level; there are two transeptal chapels at the east end.
ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA, Horse Fair. The mission was established in 1868. (fn. 42) A room over a stable in Bristol Street was used as a chapel for a few months and after 1869 the upper room of the school in Windmill Street was used; the nave and aisles of the permanent church were opened in 1875. (fn. 43) This is a Gothic Revival building of red brick with stone dressings designed by Dunn and Hansan. (fn. 44) The nave of five bays is separated from wide aisles by red sandstone arcades and the rest of the interior is of yellow brick. The chancel, ambulatory, and south chapel were added in 1893 to designs by Cossins and Peacock. (fn. 45) The north-west tower with an octagonal belfry and a squat stone spire dates from 1909. (fn. 46)
ST. CHAD'S CATHEDRAL, Bath Street. The mission was established in 1806 when a room in Water Street was opened as a chapel. A new chapel, apparently at first called St. Austin's, was opened in Shadwell Street in 1808. It had a choir from the start and an organ from 1820. The chapel was demolished in 1839 and a new school was thenceforward used as a chapel until the cathedral was opened in 1841. (fn. 47) In 1856 John Hardman, the choirmaster, endowed the choir, which was famous as one of the earliest in the country to use the Gregorian chant. (fn. 48) The cathedral church of St. Chad, designed by A. W. N. Pugin, is early Decorated in style and is built of red brick with stone dressings. The symmetrical west front consists of a gable-end flanked by towers with slender slate-covered spires; one of the towers was not completed until 1856. (fn. 49) Internally attenuated stone piers with clustered shafts and foliated capitals support a steep open roof covering the nave and aisles in one span. There are no transepts, but beyond a high transverse arch the roof is hipped laterally to give the effect of a crossing. A richly decorated rood screen occupies part of this space and against the north wall is a large monument to Thomas Walsh (d. 1849) in the full 14th-century manner with a recumbent stone effigy under a crocketted canopy. The chancel ends in a semioctagonal projection and contains a simple altar and a bishop's throne with a high pinnacled canopy of carved wood. The pulpit, also of carved wood, is in the French style of the late 15th century. The crypt below the east end of the church is Romanesque in character. The cathedral was restored in 1904. (fn. 50) St. Edward's chapel with its adjoining baptistery at the north-west corner of the church is an addition of 1933. (fn. 51) By 1937 mass was also being celebrated in Brearley Street by priests from the cathedral. (fn. 52)
ST. DUNSTAN, King's Heath: Kingsfield Road. The mission was established and an iron church was opened in Station Road in 1896. (fn. 53) This was destroyed by bombing in 1941, and services were held in various places until the new church hall, serving as a chapel, was opened in Kingsfield Road in 1953. (fn. 54) This is a simple rectangular brick building with pre-cast stone windows, having a projecting Lady Chapel on the south side. Our Lady of Fatima, Maypole, q.v., was served from here from 1951. (fn. 55)
ST. EDWARD, Selly Park: Raddlebarn Road. St. Paul's Convent was founded in Selly Park in 1864 (fn. 56) but the mission there was not established until 1889. (fn. 57) A stable and coachhouse in Upland Road were used until a school was built and part used as a chapel in 1895. The permanent church was opened in 1902, (fn. 58) and completed in 1904. (fn. 59) It is a Gothic building of red brick with stone dressings and has a figure of St. Edward above the central west doorway. The clerestoried nave is separated from the aisles by boldly-moulded arcades.
ST. FRANCIS, Handsworth: Hunter's Road. St. Mary's Convent, (fn. 60) founded in 1840, had its own chaplain until 1843 (fn. 61) and was then served from the cathedral until 1849. (fn. 62) Its chapel, designed by A. W. N. Pugin, was opened in 1847 (fn. 63) and served as the church of the mission until 1894, when the new church of St. Francis was opened. The old chapel was afterwards reserved for the use of the convent. (fn. 64) It was bombed during the Second World War and rebuilt on approximately the same site in the late 1950s. The present church of St. Francis in Hunter Street, dating from 1894, is a red-brick building with stone dressings in the Early English style consisting of an aisled and clerestoried nave of six bays, a rectangular chancel, a north chapel, and an octagonal north-west baptistery. St. Augustine, Handsworth, q.v., was served from here from 1906 to 1913.
ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST, Balsall Heath: George Street. The church was founded from St. Anne's, Alcester St., q.v., (fn. 65) in 1896 and served from there until 1903, when it became a separate mission. (fn. 66) The church is a red-brick building with stone dressings and bands of darker brick designed in a revived Romanesque style. It consists of a chancel and an aisled nave with round-arched arcades; there is a small bell turret at the south-west corner.
ST. JOSEPH, Nechells: Thimblemill Lane. The Roman Catholic cemetery at Nechells was opened in 1850 and was the only one in the borough until part of the borough cemetery, which was served from Nechells, was taken over in 1867. (fn. 67) A mortuary chapel, designed as the chancel of a future church, was opened in 1850, and served from the cathedral until 1867, when it became a separate mission. This part of the church was designed by A. W. N. Pugin and is built of stone in the style of the 14th century. It is of two equal parts divided by two wide arches and is heavily buttressed on the north side. The remainder of the building, designed by E. W. Pugin (fn. 68) and opened in 1872, (fn. 69) is also Gothic in style. The gabled west front, built of brick with lavish stone dressings, has a projecting porch above which is a Gothic opening containing a bell. Internally the nave of five bays is divided from a wide north aisle by a stone arcade with capitals of unusual design. St. Vincent, Ashted Row, was served from here from 1883 to 1885.
ST. JOSEPH, Aston Union Workhouse, Erdington. In 1912 mass was celebrated at St. Joseph's chapel in the workhouse by priests from Erdington. (fn. 70)
ST. JOSEPH AND ST. HELEN, King's Norton: Station Road. The mission was established in 1905 and a rented building was used as a church until the permanent church was opened in 1933. (fn. 71) The building, which is cruciform in plan, is of red brick with stone dressings and its details are Gothic in character. It is not orientated, the aisleless nave being entered at the east end through a porch which is flanked by projections containing the gallery staircase and a baptistery.
ST. MARGARET MARY, Perry Common: Perry Common Road. The mission was established in 1926 (fn. 72) and a permanent church was opened in 1937. (fn. 73) Externally this is a fortress-like building of dark brick with narrow rectangular windows set between square buttresses. The entrance is through a porch attached to the square west tower which is half-enclosed by the body of the church. The interior is light and spacious and consists of a chancel, a nave of four bays, and wide north and south aisles.
ST. MARY, Harborne: Vivian Road. The mission was established in 1870 by the Passionists, (fn. 74) and a church was opened in 1870 in a former Wesleyan chapel. (fn. 75) It became the school in 1874 and a conservatory in the new monastery was used as a chapel until the new church was opened in 1877. (fn. 76) It was consecrated in 1932. (fn. 77) This is a Gothic Revival building of red brick with stone dressings consisting of a chancel, a nave of three bays, a south aisle and a south transept; there is an octagonal bell-turret at its south-west corner.
ST. MARY, Maryvale: Old Oscott Hill. In 1838, (fn. 78) when Oscott College moved to New Oscott, the old college became its preparatory school for a few years. (fn. 79) In 1846 Newman and his fellow converts settled there and Newman named it Maryvale. He returned there from Rome in 1847 as an Oratorian. (fn. 80) The Oratory settled in Birmingham in 1849 (fn. 81) and Maryvale seems to have been occupied by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate until c. 1851. (fn. 82) The mission was then intermittently served from New Oscott until after 1856, when it had its own priest. (fn. 83) In 1851 the former college itself became an orphanage of the Sisters of Mercy. (fn. 84) The new church, opened in 1937 and consecrated in 1953, (fn. 85) is built on a sloping site and is of soft red brick sparingly dressed with stone. The tall rectangular west tower has louvred belfry openings. The west door, surmounted by a large stone figure of the Virgin, leads into a lateral passage, at one end of which is the gallery staircase and at the other a finely-moulded octagonal stone font, apparently belonging to an earlier church. The interior consists of a nave with narrow passage aisles, shallow transepts and a chancel terminating in a small ambulatory. All the openings in the church have semi-circular heads and are unmoulded.
ST. MARY AND ST. JOHN, Gravelly Hill North. The mission was established in 1922. The church, opened in 1937 and consecrated in 1953, (fn. 86) is of red brick with stone dressings. It consists of a chancel, a south chapel, and an aisled nave of five bays, the north aisle incorporating a second chapel.
ST. MICHAEL, Moor Street. St. Nicholas, Park Street, was said in 1854 to have been established in 1847. (fn. 87) For a few years before 1861 the second floor of a building in Well Lane served as St. Nicholas's chapel, with a boys' and girls' school underneath. This chapel was replaced in 1862 (fn. 88) by the former New Meeting Chapel, which had been purchased in 1861, (fn. 89) and was subsequently dedicated to St. Michael. (fn. 90) Externally the building still retains the character of the simple classical meeting-house of 1802. (fn. 91) After the Second World War a Polish chaplaincy was established at St. Michael's with a Polish club and special masses for Poles. (fn. 92) A stone altar and pulpit are recent additions to the church.
ST. PATRICK, Spring Hill: Dudley Road. The mission was established in 1873. Mass was said at first in a shed in Barford Road and later in another shed, (fn. 93) until an iron church was opened in 1876. (fn. 94) The permanent church, opened in 1895 and consecrated in 1902, (fn. 95) was designed by Dempster and Heaton (fn. 96) and is a red-brick building with stone dressings in the Gothic style. It consists of an aisled and clerestoried nave with arcades of red sandstone, a chancel, a north-west baptistery, and a south-west octagonal bell-turret.
ST. PETER, Broad Street: St. Peter's Place. The chapel was built in 1786. It was enlarged in 1802 and 1825, (fn. 97) thoroughly repaired in 1871, (fn. 98) and consecrated in 1933. (fn. 99) It was served by Franciscans from Baddesley Clinton until 1824, when it became a secular mission. (fn. 100) In 1859 mass was said in St. Patrick's School (fn. 101) by priests from St. Peter's. (fn. 102) The original chapel, the oldest surviving Roman Catholic place of worship in the city, is a deliberately unassuming red-brick structure with Gothic windows and scanty dressings of stone. (fn. 103) Internally it consists of a rectangular hall with a gallery running round three sides and an apsidal chancel in which the altar is flanked by arched tribunes at gallery level. Most of the fittings date from the late 19th century but some original plasterwork survives.
ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL, Pype Hayes: Kingsbury Road. The church, founded in 1929, (fn. 104) is a rectangular hall of red brick.
ST. TERESA, Perry Barr: Wellington Road. The church, founded in 1940, (fn. 105) is a small aisleless hall of red brick with stone dressings.
ST. THOMAS MORE, Sheldon: 130 Horse Shoes Lane. The mission was established in 1936. Mass was said at first in a hall in Sheldon. A church hall, to serve as a church, was opened in 1937. (fn. 106) It is linked to the school and is used for lessons, the sanctuary being screened off by glass doors.
ST. THOMAS AND ST. EDMUND OF CANTERBURY, Erdington: Sutton Road. A chapel in Bell Lane was said to have been built in Erdington c. 1839. (fn. 107) In 1842 a school chapel was opened. (fn. 108) A new church was begun in 1848 and consecrated in 1850. (fn. 109) It was served by Benedictines from 1876 to 1922, (fn. 110) and by Redemptorists from 1922 onwards. (fn. 111) The church, designed by Charles Hansom, architect, with the help of Daniel Haigh, priest of the mission and an antiquary and art lover, (fn. 112) stands in a large graveyard and is linked on the south side to Erdington Abbey. No pains have been spared to make it resemble a large English parish church of the 14th century. The exterior is of red sandstone and has elaborate crocketted gables and traceried windows. A square tower of four stages surmounted by a broach spire stands at the north-west corner and there is a small south-west turret containing the sanctus bell. The interior, faced throughout with cream-coloured limestone, consists of an aisled nave, north and south transepts in the form of double aisles, and a rectangular chancel. There is a north chapel below the organ and a small vaulted oratory at the south-west corner of the church. An elaborate traceried stone screen carries the Rood.
ST. VINCENT DE PAUL, Vauxhall Grove. The mission was established in 1883; (fn. 113) a school chapel in Ashted Row was opened in 1884. (fn. 114) It was served from St. Joseph, Nechells, q.v., until 1885. (fn. 115) A new church, which also served as a school hall, was opened in Vauxhall Grove in 1930. (fn. 116) It forms the central feature of the school and is of red brick with a stone Venetian window at its west end. In 1959 plans were prepared for a simple rectangular church on a separate site. (fn. 117)