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Sacred Heart, Hindsford

Tyldesley Road, Hindsford, Atherton

Part 1: Core data

1.1 Listed grade: II

1.2 Conservation area: No

1.3 Architect: Edmund Kirby

1.4 Date(s): 1869

1.5 Date of visit: 19 October 2007

1.6 Name of report author: Marion Barter

1.7 Name of parish priest and/or contact made on site: Gerald Harris (Building Manager)

1.8 Associated buildings: Presbytery, Club

1.9 Bibliographic references:

Archdiocese of Liverpool Directory 2007

St Mary’s: The History of the Deanery, n.d.

Part 2: Analysis

2.1 Statement of Importance

Stone church constructed in the third quarter of the 19th century, with Early English style Gothic details. The building’s west gable end and spire face the street and make an attractive group with the contemporary Gothic-style stone presbytery. The spacious interior retains some good fittings.

2.2 Historical background

Mass was first recorded as being said in this parish in 1865, in a hay loft behind the Star and Garter inn in Tyldesley.  The present church and the presbytery were built on land given by Lord Lilford, with materials and cartage donated by John Holland, manager of Yew Tree Colliery. The church was consecrated by Bishop Goss in 1869 and was the first in the Diocese to be dedicated to the Sacred Heart. The first priest was Father James Lennon. The school opened in James Street in 1888; the church community grew from Irish immigrant families seeking work in the coal mines. The school was demolished in about 2000. In 1999, a condition survey reported on structural problems, leading to the closure of the church for worship in 2004.

2.3 Setting

The church is within a 19th century former mining area, the urban setting is provided by brick terraced housing. The site of the adjacent former school is now a vacant plot. The garden provides an attractive immediate setting for the church and presbytery.

2.4 Description of the building and its principal fittings and furnishings

The building is fully described in the list description, below.

The church opened in 1869, not 1875 as stated in the list description, and the architect was Edmund Kirby.

2.5 The church and the parish today

The church was closed for worship in 2004, but the parish committee continues to maintain the garden and there is a vocal local campaign to repair and re-open the building. This is likely to continue until a decision is made on the future of the buildings. The parish currently worships at St Richard’s, Atherton. The club is still active and generates funds for the parish committee.

2.6 Listed status

The church was listed in 2001 and merits its grade II listing. The presbytery is contemporary to the church, and should be considered as being covered by the listing as it is attached to the church and is a curtilage building.  The schools and school house referred to in the list description are no longer extant.

Part 3: Issues of maintenance and future development

3.1 Condition: In 1999 a report found evidence of subsidence and movement in the church structure. This led directly to closure in 2004. Since then, the vacant church and presbytery buildings have been maintained and kept secure by the Archdiocese. The buildings suffer from vandalism, and recent temporary repairs include installing polycarbonate sheeting to replace broken church windows. The cost of repairs needed to address the building’s defects is not known, but there may be scope to seek grant assistance from the Listed Places of Worship grant scheme.

3.2 Potential for change

· Extent to which the building is amenable or vulnerable to change

a) As a consequence of remaining in use: To be re-opened for worship, the building would require significant repairs. The spacious interior could be subdivided at its west end to create a larger narthex without eroding the special interest of the church interior.

b) As a consequence of being closed as a place of worship: The church is now closed and awaits a new future. The demolition of the church and presbytery would be a loss to the local community and proposals for demolition would certainly be strongly opposed. Securing a viable new use for the church would entail a balance being struck between finding a development capable of covering the cost of the repairs and the level of adaptation that would be acceptable for the interior.  A pragmatic approach to the interior may be justified in order to secure the strong contribution that the church makes to the local street scene.

· Are there any plans for change? At present there are no known detailed plans for development at the church.

3.3 Category:  2

Part 4: List description

Building Details:

Parish:   ATHERTON
District: WIGAN

LBS Number: 487594
Grade: II
Date Listed: 24/05/2001
Date of Last Amendment: 24/05/2001
NGR: SD6836102353

Listing Text:




Sacred Heart Catholic Church


Catholic church. 1875, with near-contemporary extension and C20 alterations. Squared rubble sandstone laid in shallow courses, with ashlar red sandstone dressings and decorative banding., coped gables with cross finials and a slated roof, laid in wide bands of blue and grey fish-scale slates. Early English Style.

PLAN : Linear plan, aligned east- west with tower and spire to north-east corner, advanced entrance porch, narthex, baptistry, aisleless nave, sanctuary and Lady chapel , and added confessional to south side wall.

EXTERIOR: East elevation with tall wide gable to nave, rising from a shallow chamfered plinth and incorporating massive circular window within gable apex, with circular lights encircling central quatrefoil. To the right, advanced multi-stage square tower, with stepped chamfered corners forming base to octagonal spire, which incorporates lucarnes to alternating facets. To centre of gable, advanced gabled porch , with wide stepped pointed arch incorporating twin pointed arch - headed doorways, and above, a cinquefoil window. Further left, baptistry with angled end, and single and 2 -light lancets with trefoil heads. South elevation with 5-bay nave side wall with stepped and gabled buttresses defining the bays, each bay with paired lancet windows on a cill band , the lights with banded heads set amidst an impost band. Plain eaves band below steeply-pitched nave roof . Single -storeyed confessional added to centre of elevation, with hipped end to roof and a pair of shallow arch-headed windows to south end. Original confessional to west end of nave, within semi-circular projection and banded conical stone roof. Canted end to sanctuary with tall, 3-light windows with cinquefoil heads separated by tall stepped buttresses. North elevation generally detailed as south side, but with lower monopitch roof to Lady chapel extending from side of sanctuary.

INTERIOR: Stair tower, gallery stair and canted choir gallery within east end bay, above entrance to nave. Contemporary benches arranged either side of central aisle, with re-ordered sanctuary beyond full-height stepped sanctuary arch, with entrances to Lady Chapel and original confessional to either side. Tall arch-braced king post roof trusses with collar beams rise from mid-wall corbels and support multi-purlin roof structure with exposed rafters.

HISTORY: The church forms the principal feature of a contemporary planned ensemble of related buildings including presbytery, schools, school house and community hall, these other components surviving in much-altered form .

Listing NGR: SD6836102353

English Heritage Survey 2007