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Latitude: 53.8229 / 53°49'22"N
Longitude: -3.0165 / 3°0'59"W
OS Eastings: 333184
OS Northings: 436774
OS Grid: SD331367
Mapcode National: GBR ZSQ.T5
Mapcode Global: WH858.M5SL
Entry Name: Thanksgiving Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes
Listing Date: 30 June 1999
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1387319
English Heritage Legacy ID: 475272
Location: Blackpool, FY3
Electoral Ward/Division: Park
Built-Up Area: Blackpool
Traditional County: Lancashire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire
Church of England Parish: Blackpool St Mark
Church of England Diocese: Blackburn
SD 33 NW WHINNEY HEYS ROAD
44/2/10033 Thanksgiving Shrine
of Our Lady of Lourdes
War memorial thanksgiving chapel, with vestries and entrance steps. 1955-7 to the designs of F X Velarde; Eaves and Co., builders. Portland stone, with copper-clad roof and fleche. Near-rectangular plan of four-bay church with single-bay narthex and sanctuary apse at their respective ends, with projecting vestries at East end. West end blind, with over round-arched timber double doors a relief frieze of the Holy Trinity by David john, who also sculpted the pinnacles at each corner of the building, which depict our Lady appearing to St Bernadette, Christ appearing to St Margaret Mary, St Thomas of Canterbury and St Edward the Confessor. Those at west end are set on fluted buttresses. Rectangular panels of glazing, filled with alternating square and lozenge tracery patterns of red and blue glass. Circular motif to tracery in round-headed little vestry windows. Central fleche with gilded bands contrasting with the copper, and central cross motif, surmounted by cross. York stone steps between stone flank walls to entrance.
The interior is equally magnificently appointed. Round-arched arcades clad in gold mosaic, with cross motif, support ceiling of vivid blue, red and gold. Tiled floor with cross motif. Raised sanctuary reached up marble steps in apse with round-arched opening. Sanctuary floor of marble with mosaic panels. Bronze altar rails of art deco design, related in style to glazed screen at west end of church, which is finished in lacquered bronze. Altar and reredos of gris mouchete stone carved by David john.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, patron saint of the Diocese of Lancaster, was conceived by the Right Reverend Thomas E Flynn, Bishop of Lancaster, as a thanksgiving chapel to the diocese's relatively unscathed survival through World War II. In September 1945 Bishop Flynn wrote: "During the war as the danger became more acute, and one diocese after another suffered terrible losses in life and property, I asked for earnest prayers to our patroness, Our Lady of Lourdes ...and we were marvellously spared. The thought was in my mind during that period of anxiety that after the war I should ask the diocese to make an offering to God to show our gratitude."
The shrine cost ?50,000, to which every parish in the diocese subscribed. Blackpool was chosen for its central position and ease of access to visitors; a local builder, William Eaves, donated the site. The shrine was tended by nuns of the Congregation of Adoration of Mare Reparatrice. Most recently the shrine has been attended by the Blessed Sacrament Fathers. Velarde's work was described in the opening literature as "although original in design [having] its roots in the Ancient Romanesque Architecture." While his St Theresa, Upholland, of the same date, shares the combination of modern sculpture, gilded mosaic and round-arched detailing found here, the shrine has a perfect, diminutive jewel-like quality that transcends conventional church formulas.
Blackpool Evening Gazette, 21 May 1966, p.13
Listing NGR: SD3315536793
This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 24 July 2017.
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