Our Church Building: Closed at this time due to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Our substantial brick church with a prominent west end was built in 1958-9 to the designs of Sandy and Norris.
Internally it is high and impressive, with the body of the church divided into a series of shell domes supported on thick round arches, with passage aisles giving on to small side chapels along its length. As with Velarde’s late work, there is a strong Romanesque influence, which culminates in an apsed East end – though with round 1950s’ style top lights in the window niches. The Romanesque style and use of concrete construction was employed by E B Norris in his fine listed church in Rochdale of the 1920s.
The parish was established to cater for the Marton, Preston New Road areas, and to relieve the increasing school population of St Cuthbert’s parish. A school was built in 1934, with a church accommodated in its lower hall until the establishment of the present church. The foundation stone for this was laid in 1958 and the church opened the following year. The current presbytery at 26 Glastonbury Avenue dates from 1966. A parish centre was built in the 1970s – this would later be named after Pope John Paul II (now a canonised saint of the Church).
The church consists of a west tower flanked by a porch and what was formerly the baptistery. The Nave sits beneath three sail domes, transeptal chapels and a semicircular apse with ambulatory. Powerful interior with pierced internal buttresses supporting the domes and clever manipulation of light. There is a scheme of contemporary stained glass including a north window showing St John Vianney. There is an unusual reredos made of fragments of coloured glass set into a resin composition.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23rd March 2020, our church is currently closed even for private prayer.