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Church of the Holy Cross

A Grade II Listed Building in Birkenhead, Wirral

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.4024 / 53°24'8"N

Longitude: -3.0672 / 3°4'1"W

OS Eastings: 329146

OS Northings: 390042

OS Grid: SJ291900

Mapcode National: GBR 7Y03.R1

Mapcode Global: WH761.VRM0

Entry Name: Church of the Holy Cross

Listing Date: 30 July 2003

Last Amended: 7 September 2010

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1390588

English Heritage Legacy ID: 490560

Location: Wirral, CH43

County: Wirral

Electoral Ward/Division: Bidston and St James

Built-Up Area: Birkenhead

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside

Church of England Parish: Bidston St Oswald

Church of England Diocese: Chester

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Listing Text

WIRRAL

1755/0/10030 HOYLAKE ROAD
30-JUL-03 BIDSTON
(Southwest side)
CHURCH OF THE HOLY CROSS

(Formerly listed as:
HOYLAKE ROAD
(Northwest side)
MORETON
CHURCH OF THE HOLY CROSS)

II
Roman Catholic church, 1957-9, designed by Francis X Velarde, brown brick and ashlar with plain tile roofs. Ritual east, used throughout, is compass south-west.

EXTERIOR: Large narthex or porch with attached north-west baptistry and south-west tower, nave and chancel under a single roof, nave with arcades and side aisles, chancel has curved apse and attached Lady Chapel. West front has gabled rectangular porch faced in ashlar accessed by a flight of six steps. Central doorway with double wooden doors flanked by 12-light windows with alternating round-headed and square-headed lights. The corners are topped with square pinnacles and plain cross finials. Set back to either side are linking corridors both with similar 12-light windows with alternating lights. The small rectangular baptistry has doorway with diamond-patterned door and a circular glass lantern above with a conical copper roof. Square tower with plain brick base and ashlar bell stage with five round-headed openings to each face, and a pyramidal copper roof. South side has aisle with four 20-light windows and beyond a projecting single storey Lady Chapel with apsidal end. Eastern end has ambulatory that continues the nave side aisles with pairs of boarded windows. Upper apse has five 15-light windows with alternating round headed and flat lights. North side has four 15-light windows with similar alternating lights.

INTERIOR: 7 bay nave arcades which continue around the eastern apse. The columns are clad in white mosaic tiling and the plain arches are clad in polished marble, above is a single continuous marble band and above the wall is fluted. The wooden roof is coffered and gilded. The nave has original wooden pews and the chancel raised up six steps has the stone font, moved from the baptistry, with a battered square base and simple shallow bowl topped with a wooden cover. The original stone altar stands up three further steps. Beyond the ambulatory metal screens and gates give access to parish rooms. The western porch has walls clad in large black and white squares made of mosaic tiles and decorated with gold crosses. The former baptistry has red and white squares set at the diagonal and made of mosaic tiles decorated with gold fish. The apsidal Lady Chapel has turquoise blue walls made of mosaic tiles with a gold diamond pattern and mosaic depicting the Virgin and Child surrounded by angels.

The last of Velarde's churches built in his lifetime, and his personal favourite. It shows a distillation of Romanesque and modern motifs that is unique in his work; even at the end of his career he was still being inventive and seeking new expressions for his ideas on church design.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
The Church of the Holy Cross, erected between 1957-9 to the designs of Francis X Velarde, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architect: It was built to the designs of the distinguished church architect, Francis X Velarde, and is a good example of his work
* Architectural Interest: It demonstrates a distillation of Romanesque and modern motifs that is unique to Velarde's work, along with showing a spatial inventiveness.
* Intactness: It is a largely unaltered, post-war Roman Catholic Church that retains its rich variety of materials and fittings, including highly decorative tiling, original wooden pews, stone font and altar.

SJ2914690041

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Description

WIRRAL

1755/0/10030 HOYLAKE ROAD
30-JUL-03 BIDSTON
(Southwest side)
CHURCH OF THE HOLY CROSS

(Formerly listed as:
HOYLAKE ROAD
(Northwest side)
MORETON
CHURCH OF THE HOLY CROSS)

II
Roman Catholic church, 1957-9, designed by Francis X Velarde, brown brick and ashlar with plain tile roofs. Ritual east, used throughout, is compass south-west.

EXTERIOR: Large narthex or porch with attached north-west baptistry and south-west tower, nave and chancel under a single roof, nave with arcades and side aisles, chancel has curved apse and attached Lady Chapel. West front has gabled rectangular porch faced in ashlar accessed by a flight of six steps. Central doorway with double wooden doors flanked by 12-light windows with alternating round-headed and square-headed lights. The corners are topped with square pinnacles and plain cross finials. Set back to either side are linking corridors both with similar 12-light windows with alternating lights. The small rectangular baptistry has doorway with diamond-patterned door and a circular glass lantern above with a conical copper roof. Square tower with plain brick base and ashlar bell stage with five round-headed openings to each face, and a pyramidal copper roof. South side has aisle with four 20-light windows and beyond a projecting single storey Lady Chapel with apsidal end. Eastern end has ambulatory that continues the nave side aisles with pairs of boarded windows. Upper apse has five 15-light windows with alternating round headed and flat lights. North side has four 15-light windows with similar alternating lights.

INTERIOR: 7 bay nave arcades which continue around the eastern apse. The columns are clad in white mosaic tiling and the plain arches are clad in polished marble, above is a single continuous marble band and above the wall is fluted. The wooden roof is coffered and gilded. The nave has original wooden pews and the chancel raised up six steps has the stone font, moved from the baptistry, with a battered square base and simple shallow bowl topped with a wooden cover. The original stone altar stands up three further steps. Beyond the ambulatory metal screens and gates give access to parish rooms. The western porch has walls clad in large black and white squares made of mosaic tiles and decorated with gold crosses. The former baptistry has red and white squares set at the diagonal and made of mosaic tiles decorated with gold fish. The apsidal Lady Chapel has turquoise blue walls made of mosaic tiles with a gold diamond pattern and mosaic depicting the Virgin and Child surrounded by angels.

The last of Velarde's churches built in his lifetime, and his personal favourite. It shows a distillation of Romanesque and modern motifs that is unique in his work; even at the end of his career he was still being inventive and seeking new expressions for his ideas on church design.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
The Church of the Holy Cross, erected between 1957-9 to the designs of Francis X Velarde, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architect: It was built to the designs of the distinguished church architect, Francis X Velarde, and is a good example of his work
* Architectural Interest: It demonstrates a distillation of Romanesque and modern motifs that is unique to Velarde's work, along with showing a spatial inventiveness.
* Intactness: It is a largely unaltered, post-war Roman Catholic Church that retains its rich variety of materials and fittings, including highly decorative tiling, original wooden pews, stone font and altar.

SJ2914690041

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